Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis was among a wave of incumbents who easily won re-election on Tuesday in U.S. midterm elections, early in a night that could usher in an era of divided government and scale back Democratic President Joe Biden's power in Washington.
DeSantis, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, turned away Democratic Representative Charlie Crist, Edison Research projected. Seven Republicans also won U.S. Senate seats, according to Edison, though none was unexpected.
With the majority of polls closed in half of the 50 U.S. states, the initial returns would not alter the balance of power in the 50-50 Senate, which Democrats currently control with a tie-breaking vote. Senate incumbents including Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and senior Republican John Thune won re-election, yet control of the Senate could come down to tight races in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona.
The elections come as the United States struggles with inflation and high gas prices, as well as worries about an economic recession. Other top concerns for voters include abortion, crime, gun policy and immigration, among other things.
All 435 U.S. House of Representatives seats are up for grabs, as are 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate. Plus, 36 out of 50 states and three U.S. territories are electing governors. Numerous other state and local elections are also being contested.
More than 46 million Americans voted ahead of Election Day, either by mail or in person, according to data from the U.S. Election Project, and state election officials caution that counting those ballots will take time. Control of the Senate might not be known until a potential December 6 runoff in Georgia.
U.S. President Joe Biden, who's not on the ballot this year, posted a series of tweets on Tuesday, seeking to highlight what he considers the administration's achievements while warning of potential Republican efforts to repeal them.
Former President Donald Trump told reporters outside a polling location in Palm Beach, Florida, that he had voted for Governor Ron DeSantis, who's seeking a second term.
Trump, who has frequently hinted at running for the White House again in 2024, said on Monday that he would have a "very big announcement" coming November 15 at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
"We want nothing to detract from the importance of tomorrow," he said at a rally in Ohio on behalf of Republican candidates. "You understand that."