Democrat Joe Biden has been declared the winner of the United States presidential election by several major national media outlets, defeating incumbent Donald Trump.
Control of the United States Senate appears likely to hinge on two heated contests in the state of Georgia, where election runoffs are scheduled for early January.
The result in the southern US state would also determine how much a Biden presidency would be able to achieve after the Democrat won the race for the White House on Saturday.
So far, the tally for the next Senate is 48 Republicans and 46 Democrats – plus two independents aligned with Democrats – after Tuesday’s election. Seats in North Carolina and Alaska are still too early to call and the two seats in Georgia are headed to runoffs on January 5.
The state is closely divided, with Democrats making gains on Republicans in the 2020 elections, fuelled by a surge of new voters. But no Georgian Democrat has been elected senator in some 20 years. As much as $500 million could be spent on the two races, one strategist said.
Meanwhile reacting to the projections on Saturday, Trump immediately accused Biden of "rushing to falsely pose as the winner". The Republican has made repeated claims of electoral fraud without providing evidence, and his campaign has pledged to challenge the result in some battleground states.
Here is Trump’s statement in full:
"We all know why Joe Biden is rushing to falsely pose as the winner, and why his media allies are trying so hard to help him: they don’t want the truth to be exposed. The simple fact is this election is far from over. Joe Biden has not been certified as the winner of any states, let alone any of the highly contested states headed for mandatory recounts, or states where our campaign has valid and legitimate legal challenges that could determine the ultimate victor. In Pennsylvania, for example, our legal observers were not permitted meaningful access to watch the counting process. Legal votes decide who is president, not the news media.
Beginning Monday, our campaign will start prosecuting our case in court to ensure election laws are fully upheld and the rightful winner is seated. The American People are entitled to an honest election: that means counting all legal ballots, and not counting any illegal ballots. This is the only way to ensure the public has full confidence in our election. It remains shocking that the Biden campaign refuses to agree with this basic principle and wants ballots counted even if they are fraudulent, manufactured, or cast by ineligible or deceased voters. Only a party engaged in wrongdoing would unlawfully keep observers out of the count room – and then fight in court to block their access.
"So what is Biden hiding? I will not rest until the American People have the honest vote count they deserve and that Democracy demands."