Red-Wave Momentum Buoys GOP Hopes For Congressional Control As Voters Head To Polls
Voters sign in to cast their ballots at the Ohio Union at The Ohio State University on November 8, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio. After months of candidates campaigning, Americans are voting in the midterm elections to decide close races across the nation.
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Republicans are hoping for a red tsunami Tuesday, as 11th-hour polling showed momentum surging for the GOP ahead of the critical midterm elections.

With midterms historically going against the party in the White House, and President Joe Biden mired in dismal approval numbers, a takeover of the House of Representatives has long been seen as a given. But Republican candidates have surged in key U.S. Senate races in recent weeks, giving the GOP confidence it can end the 50-50 deadlock that Vice President Kamala Harris can break.

“It’s pretty clear that Republicans have the wind at their back,” Jim Manley, a former aide to the late Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, told The Hill. “I thought a few weeks ago that we could keep the losses in the House to single digits. That’s no longer the case. And my big fear is what is going on with the Senate races.”

Democrats hold a 220-212 majority in the House of Representatives, where there are currently three vacancies. Republicans are widely expected to capture anywhere from 25 to as many as 40 seats, giving them a powerful majority. Polls have shown several House seats thought to be safe for Democrats suddenly within the margin of error, forcing Democrats to play defense with their campaign funds.

A Republican House majority would be able to stop the Biden administration’s agenda in its tracks, and could also mount fresh investigations of a host of actions taken while Democrats had an iron grip on the Legislative and Executive branches.

“The first thing you’ll see is a bill to control the border first,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is in line to be the next speaker, told CNN. “You’ve got to get control over the border. You’ve had almost 2 million people just this year alone coming across.”

McCarthy pledged not to use impeachment as a political weapon, as many Republicans believe Democrats did during former President Donald Trump’s administration. But he didn’t take the “I word” completely off the table.

“We will never use impeachment for political purposes,” McCarthy said. “That doesn’t mean if something rises to the occasion, it would not be used at any other time.”

The Senate majority rests on a handful of key races that final polls showed could go either way. There are 35 seats at stake on Election Day, including 21 held by Republicans and 14 held by Democrats.

There are at least four Senate seats Republicans stood a strong chance of flipping heading into Tuesday. In Arizona, political newcomer Blake Masters led incumbent Democrat Sen. Mark Kelly by a razor-thin margin heading into Tuesday’s election. Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Don Bolduc led another incumbent Democrat, Maggie Hassan, in New Hampshire’s Senate race; former NFL great Herschel Walker held a narrow lead over incumbent Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia; and Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt held a strong lead over incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto.

In a race that could turn a bad night into a debacle for Democrats, nurse-turned-Republican Senate candidate Tiffany Smiley was in a statistical tie with five-term Democrat Sen. Patty Murray in the state of Washington.

Democrats were hoping to flip seats held by retiring Republicans in Ohio and Pennsylvania. But J.D. Vance holds a commanding lead over longtime Democrat Rep. Tim Ryan in the race to fill the Ohio seat being vacated by Rob Portman. In Pennsylvania, television star and retired surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) was in a dead heat with Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D), who sustained a stroke in May and struggled on the campaign trail and in their sole debate.

Democrats had also hoped to capture the seat held by Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, but despite early polls that showed Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes in a close race, more recent polls appeared to show Johnson with a comfortable lead.

“The energy on our side is unbelievable,” Sen. Rick Scott, R-FL, told Fox News. “I’ve been traveling all around the country, whether it’s Don Bolduc up in New Hampshire, or Oz, Herschel Walker. We’ve got big turnouts all across the country.”

“If you look at the early voting, we’re headed in the right direction,” he added. ” So I’m optimistic. I think we’re going to get 52 plus, and it could be a great night for the people that vote.”

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