Thursday, 22 November, 2018

Dems win half seats for House control but Senate path narrow

The US House of Representatives The US House of Representatives Credit Aaron P. Bernstein Bloomberg
Melinda Barton | 08 November, 2018, 22:35

Joe Donnelly in IN and Republican Marsha Blackburn's win in Tennessee made it much more hard for Democrats to make inroads. Five of those races are considered toss-ups. Republican incumbent Andy Barr fended off a strong challenge from Democrat Amy McGrath, a Naval Academy graduate and the first female Marine to pilot an F/A-18 Hornet in combat, in Kentucky's 6th Congressional district. Still, she was within striking distance in a Lexington-area district Trump won by 15 percentage points in 2016.

Outside Richmond, one-time tea party favorite Rep. Dave Brat faced an unusually strong challenge from Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former Central Intelligence Agency operative motivated to run for office after the GOP vote to gut the Affordable Care Act.

A Republican victory in both chambers of Congress would be a validation for Mr Trump's polarising style, a month after he solidified a conservative majority on the Supreme Court when the Senate confirmed his nominee Brett Kavanaugh after a fight over sexual misconduct accusations against the jurist. And in New Jersey, Democrats re-elected embattled Sen.

The Democratic victory, she said, "is about restoring the Constitution's checks and balances to the Trump administration", and a check on Senate Republicans.

Despite the shocking news that the Rasmussen Reports Generic Congressional Ballot on Monday rated Republicans leading with "likely midterm voters" for the first time by 46 percent to the Democrats' 45 percent, California's Democrat House delegation is busy jockeying to gain powerful leadership positions if the Democrats flip House control. The outgoing Governor of Florida is Republican Rick Scott.

The loss of power will test Trump's political hold on House Republicans, most of whom had pledged their support for him lest they face the wrath of the party's core supporters, who remain in his corner. Exit polls showed that 64 percent of voters said Trump was a reason for their vote. His supporters were also very motivated to head to the polls to ensure Trump can continue to make the changes they want for America.

Aides set up televisions in the White House residence for Trump, first lady Melania Trump and their guests to watch election results come in, with the sets tuned to different cable news channels.

Americans are turning out in record numbers to have their say on President Trump.

Trump was spending Election Day at the White House and tweeting support for Republicans in the toughest races.

Then he unleashed a torrent of 17 retweets of his postings from the last few days. recalling his rallies. blasting Democrats and endorsing a number of Republican candidates.

If Democrats capture the House, they could block Mr Trump's policy agenda and launch congressional investigations into Trump's administration, including his tax returns, possible business conflicts of interest and the nature of his 2016 campaign's ties to Russian Federation.

Democrats need to gain 23 seats in order to regain the majority in the lower chamber, a position of power they haven't been in since 2010. That was during Republican President Ronald Reagan's first term, when turnout among Democrats rose at twice the rate of increase among Republicans, according to Pew Research Center, resulting in a net gain of 26 seats for Democrats in the House.

Even so, Democrats scented triumph, with Nancy Pelosi, the party's top leader in the House, saying "it's just a question of the size of the victory". "Do not let their scare tactics frighten you away from the polls".

The wild card in the 2018 U.S. House midterm elections is the spillover from President Trump's wildly successful 40-day barnstorming tour to pick up U.S. Senate Seats. About three-quarters of the registered voters named health care as in important issue to their vote, according to recent Pew research.

Democrats turned out to register disapproval of Trump's divisive rhetoric and policies on such issues as immigration and his travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries.

Beto O'Rourke, a charismatic Democrat seeking to dethrone Republican Ted Cruz in Texas, said the state is one of "immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees".

In a sign that Trump dominance two years ago isn't necessarily fatal for Democrats, their incumbents were expected to win re-election in six other states that he carried.

The nationwide survey indicated that almost two-thirds said Trump was a reason for their vote.

"Most [Democratic candidates] were talking about the fact that if Donald Trump is in charge, Americans who have preexisting conditions or any kind of health challenge for themselves or their family, won't be able to buy health care", he said.

"I have worked at this poll the last three elections and this is the biggest turnout ever", said Bev Heidgerken, 67, a volunteer at a polling place in Davenport, Iowa.