(Washington) Republican Ron DeSantis, tipped for the presidential election of 2024, has been re-elected governor of Florida, according to the first results of the midterm elections in the United States.
The first polling places closed at 6 p.m. in much of Indiana and Kentucky. But it will be necessary to wait long hours, even several days, warned the authorities, to determine the color of the next Congress in Washington.
Handicapped by record inflation, the 79-year-old Democratic president risks losing control of the House of Representatives and the Senate during these midterm elections traditionally unfavorable to the ruling party, and seeing his action paralyzed for the next two years.
His predecessor Donald Trump, who vigorously supported a large number of Republican candidates, is banking on their success to launch himself under the best auspices in the 2024 presidential race.
At his last rally, he promised “a very big announcement” on November 15. In the meantime, “I think we’re going to have a very good night,” he predicted on Tuesday as he left a polling station in Florida.
Shortly after, however, he replayed the score that has been his since his defeat in 2020, stoking doubts about the regularity of voting operations. Noting that voting machines malfunctioned in a crowded Arizona precinct, he posted on his Truth Social platform: “There are a lot of things wrong. »
Local authorities have acknowledged the problem, but assured that voters have other options to vote in this ballot which covers the entire House of Representatives, a third of the Senate, many local elected positions and many referendums .
Despite their assurances, these very localized hiccups heightened concerns.
“I hope everyone will be civilized” and accept the verdict of the polls, confided Enrique Ayala, a 64-year-old retiree, met by AFP in McAllen, Texas.
During the campaign, “there was a lot of tension and misinformation”, regretted for his part Robin Ghirdar, a 61-year-old doctor who came to vote Democratic in Pennsylvania, deploring that “the search for truth and compromise has disappeared in the battle. »
In fact, each camp dramatized the stakes of the election: the Democrats posed as defenders of democracy and the right to abortion against Republicans deemed “extremist”; the conservatives acted as guarantors of order in the face of a so-called “lax and radical” left in matters of security and immigration.
” A good family’s father ”
Inflation – more than 8.2% over one year – however crushed all other subjects.
“It handicaps Americans who are trying to get by,” said Kenneth Bellows, a 32-year-old law student who voted Republican in Phoenix, Arizona (southwest), calling for policies “from good father to family “.
Until the end, Joe Biden sought to defend his economic record, presenting himself as “the president of the middle class”, who canceled student debt and invested in infrastructure. But his efforts do not seem to have borne fruit.
According to opinion polls, the Republican opposition should take at least 10 to 25 seats in the lower house – more than enough to be in the majority there. Pollsters are more mixed about the fate of the Senate, with nevertheless an advantage for the Republicans.
Deprived of his majority, the president would above all have veto power, and the Republicans have made it known that they will not spare it. In particular, they plan to launch investigations in the House into the affairs of his son Hunter and some of his ministers.
Concretely, the midterm elections are being played out in a handful of key states – the same ones that were already at the heart of the 2020 presidential election.
All the spotlights are in particular on Pennsylvania, a former bastion of the steel industry, where the Republican multimillionaire surgeon Mehmet Oz, dubbed by Donald Trump, faces the Democratic colossus John Fetterman for the most disputed post in the Senate.
Because on this seat very possibly depends the balance of powers of this upper chamber, with immense powers.
Georgia, Arizona, Ohio, Nevada, Wisconsin and North Carolina are also the scene of intense struggles, where Democrats everywhere are opposed to candidates supported by Donald Trump, who swear absolute loyalty to the former president.
In total, nearly 17 billion dollars will have been spent for these midterm elections, according to the Opensecrets site, a record.