Biden pleased with midterm election turnout, says it reflects quality of party’s candidates

Control of the House of Representatives has still not been decided. Biden acknowledged such a victory would be “a stretch” for the Democrats, but Republicans have fallen well short of predictions they would sweep to power in Washington.

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

Trump has repeatedly used his appeal among hard-right conservatives to influence candidates nominated by the Republican Party for congressional, gubernatorial and local races.

He has, however, been blamed for boosting candidates who were unable to appeal to a broad enough electorate, resulting in a lacklustre performance for the Republicans.

The results have also signalled exhaustion with the kind of chaos fomented by the Republican former president, raising questions about the viability of his possible 2024 White House run.

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

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

Some Republicans expressed discontent as they faced at least another two years in the minority. “The old party is dead. Time to bury it. Build something new,” Senator Josh Hawley tweeted.