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ALPHARETTA, (Ga./PHOENIX, Ariz): Republicans made modest gains in US midterm elections but Democrats performed better than expected, as control of the Senate hinged on three races that remained too close to call on Wednesday afternoon.

The Georgia US Senate race between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker will go to a Dec. 6 runoff, Edison Research projected. That means it could be weeks until control of that chamber is known, unless Democrats hold off challengers in Nevada and Arizona.

Republicans picked up at least seven seats in the US House of Representatives, Edison Research projected. That would be two more than needed to wrest control of the chamber from Democrats, though with 45 races still uncalled, the Republican margin could go up or down.

Even a slim majority in the House would let Republicans hem in Democratic President Joe Biden during his next two years in office, blocking legislation and launching potentially politically damaging investigations.

But they appeared to be far short of the sweeping “red wave” victory they had sought, as Democrats were avoiding the kind of heavy midterm defeat that often plagues sitting presidents of either party. The results appeared to show voters punishing Biden for presiding over an economy hit by steep inflation, while also lashing out against Republican efforts to ban abortion and cast doubt on the nation’s vote-counting process.

Poor performances by some candidates backed by Donald Trump — including Walker — indicated exhaustion with the kind of chaos fomented by the former Republican president, raising questions about the viability of his possible run for the White House in 2024.

“I think his ego is just too big to handle,” said Yvonne Langdon, 75, as she cast her ballot for Republican candidates in Michigan on Tuesday. Biden had framed Tuesday’s election as a test of US democracy at a time when hundreds of Republican candidates embraced Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him. A number of election deniers who backed Trump’s claims were elected to office on Tuesday, but many of those who sought positions to oversee elections at the state level were defeated. Fears of violence or disruption by far-right poll watchers at voting stations did not materialize.

Control of the Senate would give Republicans the power to block Biden’s nominees for judicial and administrative posts. But in a critical win for Democrats, John Fetterman flipped a Republican-held US Senate seat in Pennsylvania, beating retired celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz and bolstering his party’s chances of holding the chamber.

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