President Joe Biden delivers remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House on Wednesday after his doctor announced that Biden has tested negative for COVID-19 and will return to in-person work. (Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images)
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said Wednesday that even though midterm election results have yet to determine which party will control Congress, Democrats had a strong night defending their majority in both chambers.
Control of both the U.S. Senate and House remained unclear Wednesday as more than 50 House seats have not been called and two Senate races in Nevada and Arizona are still too close to name a winner. There’s also a Georgia run-off election set for December, meaning it could take days, weeks or even a month before final results.
“It was a good day, I think, for democracy,” Biden said. “The states across the country saw record voter turnout.”
A big win Tuesday night for Democrats was in Pennsylvania, where Sen.-elect John Fetterman beat Republican candidate and television celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Democrats as of Wednesday night had lost seven House seats, with Republicans gaining five seats, but neither party has reached the 218 threshold needed for a House majority. Democrats currently have 183 seats, and Republicans have 206.
Biden said that while any seat lost by Democrats is “painful,” he said the party still did well, and that “we lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than any Democratic president’s first midterm election in the last 40 years.”
In Iowa, U.S. Rep. Cindy Axne was projected to lose her reelection bid in Iowa’s 3rd Congressional District to GOP challenger Zach Nunn, The Associated Press said, meaning the state will now have an-all Republican delegation. There is a pending recount in one county in the close race.
While Republicans have fallen short of a “red wave,” they are still projected to win a slim House majority due to redistricting, which heavily favored GOP candidates.
But Biden still remained hopeful that Democrats could maintain control of the House.
“We still have a possibility of keeping the House, but it’s going to be close,” he said.
Biden was asked about his low approval ratings in exit polls, with two-thirds of Americans thinking he shouldn’t run for reelection. He was asked if that would factor into his decision to run for reelection in 2024.
“It doesn’t,” Biden said of the poll. “Watch me.”
Democrats were also able to flip or win several House seats created through redistricting in states like Ohio and North Carolina. In Ohio, Democrats beat Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, who lost his reelection bid to Democrat Greg Landsman in Ohio’s U.S. 1st Congressional District.
In North Carolina’s 13th U.S. Congressional District, a newly created district, state Sen. Wiley Nickel defeated Bo Hines, a former North Carolina State University football player who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
And in Colorado, all eyes are on Democratic candidate Adam Frisch, who has a slim majority over Rep. Lauren Boebert, a far-right Republican, in Colorado’s 3rd District race.
Biden said that young voters also came out in record numbers, and thanked “the young people of this nation.” He said that those young voters came out because they were concerned about climate change, gun violence and student debt relief.
Biden said that he also called Rep.-elect Max Frost (D-Fla.) to congratulate him as the first Gen Z lawmaker to go to Congress at the age of 25 — the minimum age required to serve in Congress.
“I have no doubt he’s off to an incredible start at what I’m sure will be a long and distinguished career,” Biden said of Frost.
Youth ages 18 to 29 were the only age group in which a strong majority supported Democrats, according to an analysis of Edison Research National Election Pool exit poll data by Tufts University.
Of that analysis, Black and Latino youth gave Democrats the most support, with 89% of Black youth and 68% of Latino youth voting for a Democratic House candidate.
Biden added that Democrats also did well in races for governor, the best the party has done since 1986. Democrats gained seats in Maryland and Massachusetts.
“Voters spoke clearly about their concerns, about rising cost … and the need to get inflation down. It’s about crime and public safety,” he said. “They want to preserve our democracy and protect the right to choose in this country.”
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