Republicans are projected to win a majority in the US House of Representatives, setting the stage for two years of divided government as President Joe Biden's Democratic Party retains control of the Senate.
The victory gives Republicans the power to rein in Biden's agenda, as well as to launch potentially politically damaging probes of his administration and family, though it falls far short of the "red wave" the party had hoped for.
The final call came after more than a week of ballot counting, when Edison Research projected Republicans had won the 218 seats they needed to control the House. Republican victory in California's 27th Congressional district took the party over the line.
The party's House leader, Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday won the support of a majority of his caucus to run for the powerful position to succeed Nancy Pelosi. He might have a challenging road ahead as he will need his restive caucus to hold together on critical votes, including funding the government and military at a time when former president Donald Trump has launched another run for the White House.
The loss takes away some of Biden's power in Washington but on Wednesday he congratulated McCarthy and said he would work across the aisle to deliver results.
"The American people want us to get things done for them," Biden said in a statement on Wednesday.
Democrats have been buoyed by voters' repudiation of a string of far-right Republican candidates, most of them allies of Trump, including Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania's Senate and governor's races respectively, and Blake Masters in Arizona's Senate contest.
Even though the expected "red wave" of House Republicans never reached shore, conservatives are sticking to their agenda.
In retaliation for two impeachment efforts by Democrats against Trump, they are gearing up to investigate Biden administration officials and the president's son Hunter's past business dealings with China and other countries - and even Biden himself.
On the international front, Republicans could seek to tamp down US military and economic aid to Ukraine as it battles Russian forces.
The United States returns to its pre-2021 power-sharing in Washington, with voters tugged in opposite directions by two main issues during the midterm election campaigns.
High inflation gave Republicans ammunition for attacking liberals, who won trillions of dollars in new spending during the COVID-19 pandemic. With voters seeing their monthly grocery, gasoline and rent bills rising, so rose the desire for punishing Democrats in the White House and Congress.
At the same time, there was a tug to the left after the Supreme Court's June ruling ending the right to abortion enraged a wide swath of voters, bolstering Democratic candidates.
While the midterms were all about elections for the US Congress, state governors, and other local offices, hovering over it all was the 2024 US presidential race.
Trump, who still polls as the top choice among Republicans for the party's presidential nomination, nevertheless suffered a series of setbacks as far-right candidates he either recruited or became allied with performed poorly on November 8. Some conservative Republican voters voiced fatigue with Trump.
At the same time, Ron DeSantis coasted to a second term as governor of Florida, defeating Democratic opponent Charlie Crist by nearly 20 percentage points. Trump reportedly was seething over the high marks political pundits were doling out to DeSantis, seen as a potential challenger to Trump in the 2024 field of Republican presidential candidates.