Democrats win House in midterm polls, dealing blow to President Trump
- Lorraine Moran
In midterm elections two years after he won the White House, Trump and his fellow Republicans were set to maintain their majority in the US Senate, CNN, NBC and ABC News said, following a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race, immigration and other cultural issues.
As Election Day unfolded, Democrats were increasingly confident, predicting they would pick up at least the 23 seats needed for a House majority on the strength of voter enthusiasm, robust fundraising and unusually fresh candidates.
Almost 40 percent of voters cast their ballots to express opposition to the president, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate, while one-in-four said they voted to express support for Trump.
Overall, 6 in 10 voters said the country was headed in the wrong direction, but roughly that same number described the national economy as excellent or good.
In Georgia, Stacey Abrams, 44, the former minority leader of the state House of Representatives, is running for governor against Republican Brian Kemp, the 55-year-old Georgia secretary of state. Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Republicans later picked up their second Democratic Senate seat of the night when Kevin Cramer beat one Sen. There are 35 seats up for election this year, and 26 are held by Democrats, meaning Democrats have a lot to defend.
He and other Democrats understand the pitfalls of overreach following the Republicans' partisan excesses during the presidency of Barack Obama.
"I'm not on the ballot, but in a certain way, I'm on the ballot", Trump said in October.
All members of the House are up for election, and Democrats are talking up a blue wave taking over.
Mr. Trump led the Republican National Committee to a massive cash advantage over the Democratic National Committee - though that was the only area where the GOP led.
Trump was spending the day at the White House, tweeting support for Republicans in the toughest races and preparing to watch the results alongside friends and family, his spokeswoman said.
And long lines marked the first hours of voting in some precincts, including in Georgia, where some voters reported waiting up to three hours to vote in a hotly contested gubernatorial election. Individual races "will be close", she said, but because of the "quality of our candidates" and emphasis on preserving health care, "I feel confident we will win".
At stake was control of at least one house in the United States Congress, and with it Trump's ability to drive ahead with an unconventional style of government that has divided Americans like rarely before.
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The Georgia outcome is among the most closely watched of any midterm contests for reasons beyond Abrams' race and gender. Handel's opponent, gun control activist Lucy McBath, has ties to Jacksonville, Florida.
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Some, like Hannity, Pirro and Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs, reportedly even act as unofficial advisers to Trump at times . In a statement today, the network said, "Fox News does not condone any talent participating in campaign events".
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The short version? If the midterms go badly for him, and Trump's party loses control of the House of Representatives, he will be left in a deeply uncomfortable position, unable to pass legislation without help from his political opponents.
Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a 2016 Democratic presidential contender, and Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary Clinton's vice presidential nominee in 2016, easily won re-election, news networks projected.
"We did have two maniacs stop a momentum that was incredible, because for seven days nobody talked about the elections", the President said at a Missouri rally last week.
They face a far more hard challenge in the Senate, where they are nearly exclusively on defence in rural states where Trump remains popular.
Some Democrats have already vowed to force the release of his tax returns. The current session comprises 235 Republicans, 193 Democrats and seven vacant seats (five of which were last held by Republicans).
Democrats also gained several critical governor's mansions.
"This is not just an anti-Trump election".
A handful of states will be key.
The expectation is that Democrats will bring a new level of oversight and investigation of the Trump administration, but numerous candidates ran on issues like healthcare and immigration.
Democrats boasted record diversity on ballots.
Some voting problems reported Problems with voting machines prevented Americans from casting ballots in a dozen states, U.S. rights advocates said, following complaints about registration problems, faulty equipment and intimidation received during early balloting. "No matter who you voted for, I'm looking forward to representing you". Eisen said that he'd also like to see probes of administration decisions that affect the Trump Organization's business interests and those of Trump's daughter, Ivanka, and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
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