The top Republican in the US House of Representatives has expressed confidence that his party will seize the lower chamber of Congress from Democrats after Tuesday's midterm elections.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday that, “It is clear that we are going to take the House back," as results showed Republicans were poised to flip the seats necessary to win control, though most likely with a smaller majority than experts had forecast.
McCarthy is the frontrunner to become the new speaker of the House, a position he has been vying for years, particularly since his pathway to the post was derailed in 2015 when Paul Ryan won the top job instead.
McCarthy has said he believes his bid for speaker would have the support of former president Donald Trump.
Referring to the 82-year-old current speaker of the House, the California lawmaker said, "When you wake up tomorrow, we will be in the majority, and Nancy Pelosi will be in the minority."
"The American people are ready for a majority that will offer a new direction, that will put America back on track," McCarthy said. "Republicans are ready to deliver it."
McCarthy and other conservatives had boasted of a likely "red wave" in the midterms that would topple Democratic control in both the House and Senate.
Early results suggested Republicans were on track to take the 435-member House -- but only by a handful of seats, a far cry from their predictions. The Senate remains a tossup.
A CBS News estimate overnight showed Republicans projected to win at least 202 seats and Democrats at least 188. A minimum of 218 seats is needed to win the majority.
McCarthy, 57, said in a CNN interview broadcast Monday that a Republican-led House would launch sweeping investigations of the Biden administration including on the US pullout from Afghanistan and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, as the vote counting is underway, it is unclear whether Republicans would crack Democrats' tenuous hold on power, Reuters said.
In a critical win for President Joe Biden's party, Democrat John Fetterman flipped a Republican-held US Senate seat in Pennsylvania, beating Republican celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz and bolstering his party's chances of holding the chamber.
On Twitter, Biden posted a photo of himself happily congratulating some of the Democratic winners by phone.
In the House of Representatives, Republicans remained favored to win a majority that would allow them to block Biden's political agenda while launching politically damaging investigations into his administration and family.
Republicans will have the power to block Biden’s aid to Ukraine if they win back control of Congress, but analysts say they are more likely to slow or pare back the flow of arms and economic assistance.