Biden happy with voter turnout, says reflect quality of party candidates

PHNOM PENH, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Joe Biden said on Sunday he was “incredibly pleased” with U.S. election turnout after Democrats took control of the Senate, a major victory for the president as he is considering his next two years in Office.

Speaking to reporters in Cambodia ahead of an East Asia summit, Biden said the turnout reflected the quality of the candidates his party was fielding, after Senator Catherine Cortez Masto was up for re-election in Nevada, beating narrowly Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. .

A Democratic runoff victory in Georgia next month would then give the party absolute majority control of a 51-49 Senate, while a Georgian loss would keep the Democrats in control of a 50-50 Senate. , with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris able to break a tie vote. The extra seat would mean Democrats could spare a vote on key nominations and bills.

“We’re focused on Georgia now. We feel good where we are. And I know I’m a cocky optimist. I get that,” Biden told reporters. “Again, I’m not surprised by the turnout. I’m incredibly happy. And I think that’s a reflection of the quality of our applicants.”

The control of the House of Representatives is still not decided. Biden acknowledged that such a win would be “over the top” for Democrats, but Republicans are falling well short of expectations that they would take power in Washington.

Biden had touted the midterm election as a test of American democracy at a time when hundreds of Republican candidates have embraced former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.

U.S. President Joe Biden delivers a statement on the U.S. midterm elections during his visit to Phnom Penh, Cambodia November 13, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Trump has repeatedly used his appeal among far-right conservatives to influence Republican Party nominees for congressional, gubernatorial and local races.

He was, however, accused of boosting candidates who failed to appeal to a large enough electorate, resulting in a lackluster performance for Republicans.

The results also signaled exhaustion from the kind of chaos fomented by the former Republican president, raising questions about the viability of his eventual run for the White House in 2024.

Laxalt, who lost in Nevada, was a former Trump-endorsed state attorney general.

Biden told reporters the election showed the Republican Party “is going to have to decide who they are.”

Some Republicans expressed their displeasure as they faced at least two more years of minority. “The old party is dead. Time to bury it. Build something new,” tweeted Sen. Josh Hawley.

Reporting by Nandita Bose; Written by Martin Petty; Editing by Ed Davies and William Mallard

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