A few hours after the first polling stations closed, it is still unclear which party will have the majority in Congress in the midterm elections in the USA. Republican Ron DeSantis has already had great success in the US state of Florida: The 44-year-old clearly won the governor election in the populous state in the south-east of the country - he is considered within the party to be ex-President Donald Trump's biggest rival.
Many key races - for example in the Senate - were still open. It was expected that the counting would take longer.
At the "midterms" in the middle of President Joe Biden's four-year term, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate, the second chamber of the US House of Representatives, will be up for grabs. Republicans must win a net Senate seat and five House seats from Democrats to have a majority in both houses.
Numerous governorships and other important offices in the states are also voted on. In many places, referendums are held at the local level, for example on issues such as abortion, minimum wage or the legalization of marijuana.
Biden's Democrats are at risk of losing their majority in Congress, which would severely limit the president's political leeway. According to polls, the Republicans have a good chance of taking over the majority in the House of Representatives. Head-to-head races for several seats were expected in the Senate, which is currently tightly controlled by the Democrats. Results in particularly competitive states such as Philadelphia, Georgia or Arizona were still pending.
Ex-President Trump spoke out several times on election day. He threatened DeSantis with unpleasant revelations if he were to run for the White House in 2024. It can be assumed that Trump will soon announce his long-indicated candidacy in the 2024 presidential election.
DeSantis is said to also want to run for the Republicans as a candidate. The now clear victory in Florida should give him momentum and strengthen his position. In 2018 he only won the governor's race there by a narrow margin. Florida is considered a so-called "swing state" in which voters sometimes prefer the Republicans and sometimes the Democrats.
Trump also spread unproven allegations of alleged irregularities in voting on the social media platform "Truth Social", which he co-founded - and called for protests. It is the first national vote in the US since the 2020 presidential election - which was followed by chaos. The incumbent at the time, Trump, refused to admit defeat. To this day he spreads the lie that the election was stolen from him.
Many voters unhappy with economy
During the midterm elections in the middle of a US President's term in office, his party usually gets a reminder. Biden had recently added to the high inflation in the country domestically - rising fuel prices in particular caused dissatisfaction among the population. In a post-election poll, around a third of respondents named inflation as the most important issue in voting. In second place with 27 percent, people gave the topic of abortion - followed by crime, immigration and gun policy.
If the Republicans take control of Congress, the second half of Biden's term in office is likely to be characterized by deadlock, the inability to reform, and partisan struggles. If the Republicans conquer one or both chambers of Congress, the Democrat Biden will no longer be able to push through any major legislative initiatives from January. In addition, he and his government are threatened with parliamentary investigations and impeachment proceedings.