(Washington) Republicans won a first victory in one of the most contested seats in the United States Congress on Tuesday, but the Democrats still wanted to limit the damage on a night that could decide the political future of Joe Biden and his rival Donald Trump.
By campaigning hard on inflation, J. D Vance, one of the Republican billionaire’s foals, landed the coveted job of senator in Ohio – one of America’s industrial and agricultural strongholds.
Handicapped by a record price hike, Joe Biden could lose control of the House of Representatives and the Senate in these midterm polls traditionally unfavorable to the ruling party, and see his action paralyzed for the next two years.
His predecessor Donald Trump, who vigorously supported a large number of Republican candidates – he was at a meeting on Monday evening in Ohio – is banking on the success of his lieutenants to launch himself under the best auspices in the race for the presidential 2024. He promised “a very big announcement” on November 15.
The 76-year-old billionaire also wanted to be present during this election night, making a short, relatively disjointed television statement on Tuesday to congratulate himself on the success of some of his many candidates in the various polls.
Uncertainty in Congress
But the Democratic camp was not left empty-handed. He snatched from the conservatives two governorships from the Republicans: in Maryland and Massachusetts, where Maura Healey will be the first lesbian to head a state. Joe Biden called her immediately to congratulate her.
The 79-year-old Democratic leader’s party also saved itself a big scare by retaining control of New York state, where Republicans believed they could unseat Governor Kathy Hochul.
There remains the Congress: the opinion polls predict a large victory for the Republicans in the House, a classic scenario in American politics, where the “midterms” often turn to sanction for the party in the White House.
But the red “giant wave” – the color of the Republicans – promised by Donald Trump, had not yet materialized on Tuesday evening, the counting being far from complete.
“It’s certainly not a Republican wave, that’s for sure,” said influential Senator Lindsey Graham, a close friend of the former president, on NBC.
The control of the Senate is all the more uncertain. Everything will depend on a few key states, such as Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, where the competition was tight.
In Pennsylvania, Lasaine Latimore, a 77-year-old African-American attending election night in a “Soul food” restaurant in Pittsburgh, said she hoped for a victory for the Democrats “because they are more on the side of the people”.
“I just want health insurance and more money for my dental care and my glasses,” she added, echoing the campaign of Joe Biden who tried to present himself as the president of the middle class, attentive to the needs of the most modest.
As polling stations closed one after the other, and while we waited to see where the American Congress tipped, attention was also focused on the gubernatorial elections. And in particular on Florida, where outgoing Governor Ron DeSantis was triumphantly re-elected.
Rising star of the conservative camp, possible contender for the White House in 2024, he congratulated himself in an offensive speech on having made this southern state, long considered leaning sometimes to the left, sometimes to the right, a “land promised” for the Republicans, where “the ‘woke’ ideology comes to die”. And where outgoing Republican Senator Marco Rubio was also re-elected.
“I’m just starting the fight,” the 44-year-old governor promised.
Enough to tickle his potential rival for the nomination and another resident of Florida… former President Donald Trump.