US midterm elections: Half polls closed, voters pit Trump strength, Democrat resistance

Cornelia Mascio
Novembre 7, 2018

All 435 seats in the House, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate, and 36 governorships are up for grabs as Americans cast their ballots.

Two issues more than any others were on voters' minds: 25 percent described health care and immigration as the most important issues in the election.

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.

Max Rose is running for Congress. It's also possible that districts with campaigns that did not attract a lot of attention could flip, whether due to the dynamics of individual campaigns or to the national "blue wave" of Democratic candidates that has been anticipated.

"The drumbeat you hear across America is people voting", Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said as polls opened Tuesday.

"You're going out there, you're going to make sure that people vote to start making things better", Obama said.

The outcome has serious stakes for the president.

Democrats also boast record diversity on the ballot.

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

"The House has been a rubber stamp for the Trump agenda".

Heading into Election Day, Democrats were not expected to fare as well in the Senate as in the House of Representatives. It was a deliberate strategy to expand the playing field to about 80 districts, stretching beyond college-educated voters in the suburbs into regions where the party has seen its fortunes fade.

Republicans do not have to defend as many vulnerable incumbents as Democrats in the midterms.

The Republicans have long claimed that they are the party of the military. Trump had been tweeting support for specific GOP candidates, even as he acknowledged potential losses by emphasizing that his focus was on the Senate.

Jay Hutchins, a 49-year-old Democrat who voted in the Washington suburb of Silver Spring, Maryland, is among those dissatisfied with Trump and the Republican-led Congress.

Several districts on the East Coast with early poll closing times were among those watched Tuesday for signs of the electorate's mood. Cynthia Nixon challenged Democratic incumbent Andrew Cuomo for NY governor. "It's an awakening of the Democratic Party". And: Will Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker win re-election? Both are Navy veterans.

He noted that Republicans now hold 33 governorships, compared to 17 for the Democrats.

One of the most well known, Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath, a former Marine fighter pilot, became a national sensation when her online video ads went viral.

The incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is seen as vulnerable and may lose her seat to her Republican challenger Josh Hawley.

The news was a sigh of relief for progressives and a number of so-called never-Trump conservatives, including such well-known figures as Steve Schmidt and Max Boot, who urged voters to cast their ballots for Democrats to curb Democratic excesses.

Republicans held on to the upper chamber with key victories in Indiana, Texas and North Dakota. Harris was facing a stiff challenge from Marine veteran and small-businessman Dan McCready. "The choice is clear: it's a choice between prosperity and higher taxes".

Some of the biggest Democratic stars of the campaign season were struggling.

From New York to California and from Missouri to Georgia there were long lines from early morning at polling stations as voters finally got their say, following a heated, often tense campaign.

But in some other toss-up races, the GOP managed to hold on.

"I don't think there's a Democrat in this country that doesn't have a little angst left over from 2016 deep down", said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY's List, which spent more than ever before - almost $60 million in all - to support Democratic women this campaign season.

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