Republicans keep control of Congress
WASHINGTON: Both chambers of the US Congress are projected to remain under Republican control when they convene on Jan 3, with voters yesterday dashing Democrats’ hopes of taking over the Senate while keeping the House of Representatives in Republican hands.
A few Senate races were still undecided, but projections by major media organisations indicated that Democrats no longer had a probable path towards capturing control of the 100-seat Senate.
So far, Democrats had succeeded in gaining only one seat from Republicans, in Illinois, where US Representative Tammy Duckworth defeated Senator Mark Kirk. Democrats needed to pick up a net five seats to take Senate control.
Republicans campaigned on an agenda that shunned comprehensive immigration reform and opposed the national healthcare programme known as Obamacare, gun control and expanded environmental and financial regulations.
In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, was expected to remain at his post for two years.
On the House side, Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, could face a divided party and a contentious battle in his re-election bid in January.
Republicans also extended their majority of US governorships yesterday as 12 states voted for chief executives, though the high-profile race in North Carolina was too close to call and the outcome may not be known until next week.
Republicans picked up seats in Missouri and Vermont in races that had been considered tossups. A winner had not been declared as of early yesterday in the race in New Hampshire.
Republicans also gained a majority in Kentucky’s state House of Representatives, the last Democratic-held chamber in the South. – Agencies