Republicans, Democrats confident of Senate control as mid-term campaigning wraps up

As campaigning for the mid-term elections wrapped up, both Republicans and Democrats said they would have control of the Senate when polls close on Tuesday night in the United States. -- PHOTO: AFP
As campaigning for the mid-term elections wrapped up, both Republicans and Democrats said they would have control of the Senate when polls close on Tuesday night in the United States. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON - As campaigning for the mid-term elections wrapped up, both Republicans and Democrats said they would have control of the Senate when polls close on Tuesday night in the United States.

"Victory is in the air. We're going to bring it home tomorrow night," declared Republican Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell at his final election rally in Kentucky, anticipating that he would soon take over as majority leader in the upper chamber of Congress.

"We have not had in our history, in my view, a better, more powerful combination of senators than we have right now," he added.

The battle for the Senate has been the key storyline of the mid-term elections as the GOP will hang on to its majority in the House of Representatives barring a series of stunning upsets.

To seize control of Capitol Hill, Republicans need to pick up six seats currently held by Democrats.

Bookmakers have long tipped Republicans to achieve the required victories and odds continued to swing in their favour on the last day of campaigning. Most statistical models give Republicans a 70 per cent chance of emerging out on top.

Yet, there also remained a glimmer of hope for the Democrats' aim of retaining their Senate majority.

After trailing in the Iowa Senate race for much of the past three months, latest polls showed Democrat Bruce Braley even with Republican Joni Ernst in a contest Democratic Party leadership has declared was critical to their party's hopes.

US Vice-President Joe Biden was among the Democrats confident that the party had done enough to hold on to its majority. Democrats need to only achieve a 50-50 tie in the Senate to retain control as Mr Biden can serve as a tiebreaker.

He told CNN in an interview on Monday that from his experience, the current mood does not match what the bookmakers are saying.

"I don't agree with the odds makers. I predict we're going to - we're going to keep the Senate... I've been in 66, 67 races all told. And I don't get the feeling that the odds makers are giving."

Voting in the US takes place on Tuesday (Wednesday morning Singapore time) with results expected later in the night.

jeremyau@sph.com.sg