US President Joe Biden on Wednesday welcomed the initial outcome of the midterm elections, noting that the outcome was far better than expected.
Biden said the Democrats had "a strong night" after the Democrats denied Republicans the sweeping victory they expected. While Republicans made modest gains, an anticipated "red wave" of midterm support for the Republicans failed to materialize.
Vote counting is still underway, with control of the Senate and House of Representatives still not yet clear.
What did President Biden say?
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday at the White House, Biden voiced optimism about the results.
"It was a good day I think for democracy, and I think it was a good day for America," the president said. "Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are."
He praised record voter turnout and noted that the expectations of a strong showing for the Republican Party had not materialized.
"While the press and the pundits were predicting a giant red wave, it didn't happen."
The president thanked young voters, saying that they had voted to address issues such as climate change and gun violence.
Biden also said he hoped Democrats and Republicans could continue the bipartisan approach of confronting Russia's aggression in Ukraine after the elections. He said he would invite members of both parties to the White House after returning from an upcoming overseas trip to discuss this approach.
Will Biden run again in 2024?
Biden, who turns 80 this month, said he intended to run for re-election in 2024, but that he expected to make a final decision by early next year.
The president faced questions on whether he will seek a second term, but said he did not want to feel rushed to announce his candidacy.
"Our intention is to run again, that's been our intention," Biden told reporters at the White House. "This is ultimately a family decision."
The president said his decision would be unrelated to any announcement from his 2020 rival, Republican former President Donald Trump, who is expected to declare his intention to stand next week.
What is the status of the midterm vote count?
Vote counting continued in several states across the US on Wednesday, with several key races still to early to call.
During the midterm election, US voters elect their representatives in Congress.
All 435 seats in the House of Representatives were up for grabs. Delegates in the lower chamber of Congress serve two-year terms. Meanwhile, 35 Senate seats were up for election, with candidates serving six-year terms.
While the Republican Party picked up several seats in the House, neither party has yet reached a majority. Control of the Senate currently hinges on races in three states — Arizona, Nevada and Georgia.
Georgia's top two candidates, Trump-backed Herschel Walker and Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock, will head into a runoff election in early December.
Typically in a midterm election, the party of the sitting president typically suffers setbacks in congressional races. Republicans hoped to secure a major sweep, or "red wave," against the Democrats. Vote counts, however, show more modest gains for Republicans.
rc/rs (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)