Republican hopes of wiping out the Democrats in the US midterm elections appear to have faded away as a “red wave” of wins has failed to materialise.
The Republicans are still set to take control of the House of Representatives – but with a much slimmer majority than expected, while the race for the Senate is virtually neck and neck with a few results remaining.
Losing both the Senate and the House would make it extremely hard for his party to pass any laws.
Ahead of Tuesday’s national vote, Donald Trump had predicted a “great night” for the Republicans as he prepares for an expected second run at the White House.
But senior Democrat Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, said her party’s candidates were “strongly outperforming expectations across the country”.
John Fetterman recorded a big victory in Pennsylvania by beating Trump-backed Dr Mehmet Oz, a well-known TV personality, to capture a Senate seat from the Republicans.
‘Flipping’ the state from red to blue gives the Democrats a better chance of holding the upper house.
However, two other seats that will determine who gets a majority, Arizona and Nevada, may not be confirmed for some days. Both states have postal voting, which takes longer to count.
Elections officials in Georgia – where the result is too close to call – also say it’s likely a run-off vote will be needed.
It means it could be next month before the fate of the Senate is confirmed.
Votes are still being counted in many areas but other notable results include Ron DeSantis being comfortably re-elected – the Florida governor is tipped as a possible Republican presidential hopeful and Trump rival in 2024.
The first Generation Z candidate elected to the House of Representatives is also from Florida, as 25-year-old Maxwell Frost won the seat in the state’s 10th congressional district.
Other firsts include Donald Trump’s former press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, becoming the first woman governor of Arkansas.
While in Massachusetts, Maura Healey became America’s first openly gay female governor, and California elected its first Latino senator and first black secretary of state.
Many Republicans had been expecting bigger gains and hoped voters would punish Democrat candidates over factors such as high inflation.
Cost-of-living concerns were indeed a motivation, with half of voters saying it was a significant consideration in an AP news agency survey, but other matters also weighed heavily.
For example, seven in 10 said their choice was influenced by the reversal of universal abortion rights. Six in 10 surveyed said they were angry about it, and four in 10 pleased.
In Republican Kentucky, voters rejected a change to the state constitution that would have removed protection for abortion rights.
California, Michigan and Vermont also approved referendums enshrining the right.