Republicans Take Early Lead in Congress; Indian-American Becomes Maryland’s Lieutenant Guv

to pick up the five seats they need to take over the House, but control of the Senate could come down to tight races in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona.

Three dozen governors’ races are at stake as well; Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, defeated Democratic Representative Charlie Crist, Edison Research projected.

With razor-thin margins in key races, a full picture may not be available for days or even weeks, setting the stage for acrimonious challenges.

A Republican victory could pave the way for a White House comeback bid by Donald Trump — who returned to his playbook of airing unfounded claims of fraud after a campaign fought largely over economic issues.

Biden, whose Democrats face a steep climb to hang on to the House of Representatives and Senate, has warned that Republicans pose a dire threat to democracy with more than half their candidates repeating Trump’s debunked claims of cheating in the 2020 election.

In his final pitch, Biden vowed that the Democrats would defend retirement, health care and the freedom to have an abortion, after a Supreme Court transformed by Trump rescinded the right to choose.

But the president’s party has traditionally lost seats in midterm elections and Biden’s favorability ratings are hovering in the low 40s, with Republicans hitting him hard over stubbornly high inflation as well as crime.

The first polls closed at 6:00 pm (2300 GMT) in Indiana and Kentucky, where Republican senators were expected to cruise to reelection.

All eyes will be on a handful of closely fought Senate races including in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Wisconsin and Ohio, with a single seat enough to swing control of the Senate — now evenly divided and controlled by Democrats only through the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris.

Casting his ballot in Florida, Trump again teased an expected announcement next week of a 2024 presidential run, telling reporters November 15 “will be a very exciting day for a lot of people.”

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