Democrats take House control; Republicans expand Senate majority

Charlene Craig
November 9, 2018

President Donald Trump's Republicans are projected to retain control of the US Senate in the mid-term elections.

"We have the beginning of a new Democratic Party, younger, browner, cooler, more women, more veterans, can win in MI, can win in Pennsylvania, can win in OH", said Van Jones, a CNN political commentator.

Voter Ontaria Woods said about two dozen people who had come to vote left because of the lines.

"The Democrats flipped the House - President Trump is reportedly already blaming Paul Ryan", Kimmel said.

Almost 40 per cent of voters cast their ballots to express opposition to the president, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate, while about 25 per cent said they voted to express support for Trump.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 out of the 100 seats in the Senate are up for grabs.

Voting in Chicago, James Gerlock, 27, a Republican, said he wanted to see more of the soaring economic growth that Trump says is the fruit of his business-friendly policies.

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Tuesday's House pickups by Democrats leave them in a stronger position to recruit quality candidates and raise money to try to win 76 seats in 2020.

President Trump called Pelosi Tuesday night to offer congratulations, her office said.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says the midterm elections are basically a referendum on Republican efforts to scrap Obamacare.

Some of the biggest Democratic stars of the campaign season were struggling, with Beto O'Rourke's underdog US Senate campaign to oust Ted Cruz in conservative Texas failing.

In Arizona, where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally are locked in a dead heat, Trump's approval is 52%, with 47% who disapprove. Anxious Republicans privately expressed confidence in their narrow Senate majority but feared the House was slipping away.

Voter turnout, normally lower when the presidency is not at stake, could be the highest for a midterm election in 50 years, experts predicted.

In the House, Democrats picked up seats across the map.

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In the end, all of that celebrity backing didn't translate to victory in a reliably red state like Texas. Senate race in Texas was one of the most closely watched and expensive races in the country.

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin in West Virginia and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin won re-election. The president urged supporters to "pretend" he was on the ballot.

Democrats will pick up at least six and perhaps as many as 11 seats in the 150-member Texas House.

The Republican caucuses in both chambers have become even more conservative with the loss of moderates within Trump's party, even as Democrats appear to be spoiling for a fight with Trump.

Democrats, meanwhile, prioritized a different message in the midterms and heavily emphasized promises to safeguard health care for voters, including protecting individuals with pre-existing conditions. Republican candidates in some of the country's most competitive races gambled by tying themselves to Trump in a bid to turn out voters.

Still, Trump will also have to answer for a scorched earth campaign on immigration in the final days that might have helped tip the House to Democrats, even if he can argue that his magnetism among his followers' candidates, such as Rep. Ron DeSantis, who won the Florida gubernatorial race, according to a CNN projection, Marsha Blackburn who will capture the Tennessee Senate race and Mike Braun, who defeated the incumbent Democratic Sen.

Democrats also successfully turned the GOP tax cuts into a net negative in many races, neutralizing an issue Republicans once hoped to run hard on by arguing the massive corporate cuts and tax breaks for wealthy Americans were helping rich people the most, and by fueling the federal deficit would lead Republicans to try to cut Social Security and Medicare in the near future.

Democrats were elected to more than 34 seats and now occupy a majority of the state Senate's 63 seats.

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