Democrats gain in fight for House, but path to Senate narrow

Lamar Ellis
November 8, 2018

Trump's team immediately sought to give him credit for retaining their narrow Senate majority, even as their foothold in the more competitive House battlefield appeared to be slipping.

President Donald Trump's polarizing style, the disproportionate impact of trade wars in America's rural heartland, and flat wages will likely lead to an electoral disaster for the Republicans.

At stake are all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate, 36 governor's posts and seats in state legislatures across the country.

In addition to his conversation with Pelosi, Trump called Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as other candidates he backed during the race, the White House said.

Early Wednesday, Trump warned Democrats against using their new majority to investigate his administration.

Two issues more than any others were on voters' minds. He added: "The Democrat agenda is a socialist nightmare".

Republicans now control both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Democrats face a far more hard challenge in the Senate, where they are nearly exclusively on defense in rural states where Trump remains popular.

Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who is slated to steer the House Judiciary Committee, warned that the election was about accountability for Trump.

Democrats need to win two seats to claim the Senate majority.

Given Trump's stunning victory in 2016, few expressed confidence in predictions.

DFLers took charge by unseating some longtime House incumbents in what had been safe Republican districts before Trump was elected.

Democrats, whose very relevance in the Trump era depended on winning at least one chamber of Congress, were laser-focused on health care as they predicted victories that would break up the GOP's monopoly in Washington and state governments.

In Texas, early voting has exceeded the entire turnout in 2014.

With terms of six years, about a third of the Senate is up for election every two years. Orrin Hatch. Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine, his party's defeated 2016 vice presidential candidate, won re-election to the Senate.

Amid the recent rash of letter bombs and the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, Trump issued alarming and often unfounded warnings about caravans of migrants crossing Mexico toward the US, blaming Democrats, without evidence, for the threat he claimed they pose.

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Some Democrats have vowed to force the release of his tax returns.

One key race in Georgia for the state's governorship has attracted much attentions and visits from Mr Trump, his vice-president Mike Pence and, on the Democrat side, former president Barack Obama and talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

"Typically, independents and younger voters tend to turn out less in these off-term, midterm congressional years", said Carleton University politics professor Melissa Haussman. "Democrats have a number of paths to the 23 seats they need".

Democrats are drawing strength from women and college-educated voters, who swung decidedly against Trump since his election.

This is the most likely outcome, based not just on the polls but also on conversations with strategists in both parties.

Democrats also boast record diversity on the ballot.

Thirty-six of the 50 U.S. states elect governors this year, including about 10 considered toss-ups. Despite a favorable environment for Democrats, Republicans have hung tough when it comes to possibly nicking a Senate seat or two (or three) in the many red states Democrats have to defend - possibly offsetting GOP losses in Arizona and Nevada and maybe even leading to a net gain for Republicans. It is now made up of 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats.

The editors of Sabato's Crystal BallKyle Kondik and Larry J. Sabato wrote, "We have long cautioned against assuming the House was a done deal for the Democrats, and we don't think readers should be stunned if things go haywire for Democrats tomorrow night".

Fierce political battles were raging in races across the nation.

Wrapping up the campaign in recent days, Trump repeatedly raised fears about immigrants, issuing harsh warnings about a caravan of Central American migrants that is moving slowly through Mexico toward the United States border.

The Republican majority will leave town with Obamacare still the law of the land and with a deficit going through the roof on the back of GOP tax cuts. For Democrats such as Rosen who are in razor-thin races, the potency of the health care argument could be crucial to their chances.

"It's all fragile. Everything I told you about, it can be undone and changed by the Democrats if they get in", he told supporters. But Wisconsin is intriguing for a different issue, one near and dear to Canada's heart: health care.

In an election-eve interview, Mr Trump struck a gentler note with media conglomerate Sinclair Broadcasting, saying he regretted some of his caustic campaign rhetoric.

"He is a sexist, a racist, a homophobe, a xenophobe and a religious bigot".

While urging people to get out and vote at a rally on Sunday, Obama said: "Hope is still out there".

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