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Biden touts Democrats’ performance in midterms

Fending off a predicted GOP blowout, the president celebrated his party’s wins in 2022 races.

WASHINGTON (CN) — Following an unprecedented performance by candidates in the president's party across the nation in Tuesday’s midterm election, President Joe Biden championed Democratic victories Wednesday from the White House.

“Democrats had a strong night,” Biden said at a press event Wednesday evening.

“We lost fewer seats in the House of Representatives than the Democratic presidents' first midterm election in the last 40 years,” he added. “We had the best midterm for governor since 1986.”

 The president also celebrated that the election went out without any interference and that voter turnout, particularly among young people, was strong for a midterm.

“They sent a clear and unmistakable message that they want to preserve our democracy and protect the right to choose in this country,” he said.

As for results, the exact makeup of nation’s 118th Congress remains to be seen the day after the midterm, as both Republicans and Democrats are still waiting to see how control of the House of Representatives and the Senate shake out. 

While the Republican Party appears on track to wrest control in the House, three races that will determine which party has power in the Senate remain up in the air.

In Arizona, where the Senate race is yet to be called, incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, a Democrat, is leading Republican Blake Masters by 5 percentage points. In Nevada, the other race yet to be called, Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, is trailing 3 points behind Republican Adam Laxalt, a former attorney general.

Control of the Senate will remain unknown until next month due to the runoff declared in Georgia, after neither incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock nor former football star Herschel Walker, a Republican, garnered 50% of the vote.

Notably, the results of a race in Pennsylvania – where Democrat John Fetterman flipped a seat blue, beating reality TV host Dr. Mehmet Oz – give Democrats a slight advantage to hold control of the Senate. The seat was previously held by Republican Pat Toomey, who announced he would not seek reelection in October 2020.

Many conservative candidates for Congress and gubernatorial races largely underperformed in the midterms, where the political party opposite of the president traditionally flips a lot of seats. 

Regardless of the results, Biden said Wednesday that he is looking forward to working with his Republican colleagues to pass more bipartisan laws over the next two years.

“As I have throughout my career, I'm going to continue to work across the aisle to deliver for the American people,” he said. “It's not always easy but we did it the first term.” 

“The American people made clear, I think, they expect Republicans to be prepared to work with me as well,” he added.

The president noted that he and Congress have so far passed over 210 bipartisan laws, working together on American manufacturing, gun safety and dozens of veteran policies. 

He said he hoped to tackle issues like the impact of inflation due to the war in Ukraine with the next iteration of Congress, as well as continue building on plans already set in motion like his Build Back Better infrastructure investment plan. Biden noted that he wouldn’t budge on cutting costs for prescription drugs, climate commitments or hiking taxes for the super wealthy.

Experts say the midterm results are surprising and somewhat embarrassing for the Republicans, who failed to fully capitalize on Biden’s low approval rating at a time of contentious domestic issues not limited to persistent inflation, high gas prices, a porous border policy, a mental health crisis, cities awash in fentanyl and rising violent crime, soaring mortgage rates and a depleted housing stock.

And it was seemingly another rebuke of former President Donald Trump, who had likely hoped to use significant Republican gains in the midterms as a catalyst to launch his own reelection campaign as early as next week. 

Instead, candidates who embraced Trump’s "big lie" about the 2020 election were widely defeated, while those Republican candidates who did triumph Tuesday largely did so by distancing themselves from the former president. 

Biden emphasized this point Wednesday.

“Our democracy has been tested in recent years but with their votes, the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are,” he said. 

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