President Joe Biden’s Democrats have edged closer to retaining control of the US Senate, as Donald Trump prepared to declare his bid for the White House in 2024.
Democratic Senator Mark Kelly won re-election in Arizona, three television networks announced. His victory gives Democrats 49 Senate seats, one short of securing a majority, with Nevada still counting votes and Georgia’s contest headed to a December 6 run-off.
If the two parties split the remaining two seats, the Democrats retain control of the Senate because Vice President Kamala Harris will cast the tie-breaking vote.
Blake Masters, the Republican rival to Mr Kelly, did not immediately concede defeat in Arizona, and late on Friday, US time, Mr Trump posted on his social media account that some voting machines in Arizona didn’t work.
Mr Trump claimed the result was “a scam and voter fraud”.
“Do election over again!” he said.
Mr Trump will announce next week that he is taking another shot at the presidency with a White House run in 2024, his longtime advisor Jason Miller said on Friday.
The divisive former president, who will be 78 when the next election is held, has been hinting at another presidential run while campaigning for Republican candidates ahead of this week’s midterm elections, and said he will make a “very big announcement” on Tuesday.
“President Trump is going to announce on Tuesday that he is running for president,” Mr Miller told former Trump aide Steve Bannon on his popular “War Room” podcast.
“It’s gonna be a very professional, very buttoned-up announcement,” he added.
Mr Miller said Mr Trump told him, “there doesn’t need to be any question, of course, I am running.”
Mr Trump’s candidacy will mark his third shot at the presidency, including his loss to Joe Biden in 2020. After that defeat, he promoted baseless claims of fraud, including those that led to an unprecedented riot at the US Capitol in Washington.
Mr Trump’s big announcement in Florida comes after a disappointing run for several candidates he backed in the midterms.
Some of his hand-picked favourites even lost Republican-held seats to Democrats. In Pennsylvania, Democrats flipped a highly prized US Senate seat with constant attacks on Trump-endorsed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, who had never held public office before and lived mostly in New Jersey.
Mr Trump had hoped to ride a Republican “red wave” that would prime him for another presidential run but the party achieved a much smaller victory than had been predicted.
With 211 seats so far, Republicans appear poised to secure a slim majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives. However, control of the Senate may come down to a December 6 run-off in the southeastern state of Georgia.
Mr Trump’s early entry into the race would appear designed in part to fend off possible criminal charges over taking top secret documents from the White House, his efforts to overturn the 2020 election and the attack on the US Capitol by his supporters on January 6 last year.
It may also be intended to undercut his chief potential rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who emerged as one of the biggest winners in Tuesday’s midterms Mr Trump is still tangling with the congressional January 6 committee investigating the attack on the Capitol.
Earlier on Friday, his lawyers challenged a subpoena from the committee, saying Trump has “absolute immunity” and will not testify next week.
The subpoena is “invalid, unlawful, and unenforceable,” the lawyers said in the lawsuit, because Trump “has absolute immunity from being compelled to testify before Congress … regarding his actions as head of a coequal branch of government.”
Story Credit: news.com.au