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GOP keeps Senate control for 2 more years, triumph for Trump
08 November 2018, 05:24 | Glen Norman
US voters head to the polls in the midterm elections. Image Getty Images
The House of Representatives has flipped from Republican control into the hands of the Democrats, US networks projected.
"Tomorrow will be a new day in America", declared House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who would be in line to become the next House speaker.
But the Democrats' edge is narrow.
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.
Trump had noted the energy as he wrapped up a punishing schedule of rallies around the country that were meant to boost Republican candidates - and his own brand heading towards reelection in 2020. They held onto seats in the South, Midwest and West and ensured at least a 50-50 Senate - enough to give Republicans control because Vice President Mike Pence as president of the Senate would tip the balance to the GOP.
"If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level", Trump tweeted, "then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level". It wasn't clear what "leaks" he was referring to.
The approach has drawn a push back from some in his party, with Paul Ryan, the top Republican in the House, reportedly urging Mr Trump to focus more on the booming United States economy, which has surpassed 3 per cent growth.
As of Friday night, nearly 32.4 million people had cast ballots early across the USA, according to The Election Project at the University of Florida, which tracks turnout.
The GOP's successes were fueled by a coalition that's decidedly older, whiter, more male and less likely to have college degrees. Like other Democrats across the country, Spanberger emphasized protecting people with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage or charged more by insurers.
Record diversity on the ballot may have helped drive turnout.
The party drew blood in IN, ousting one-term Democrat Joe Donnelly in a state that had been seen as a must-win for Democrats seeking to gain control of the upper chamber.
Democrats could also recapture governor's offices in several battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and OH, a potential help for the party in those states in the 2020 presidential race.
Overall, more voters disapproved of Trump's job performance than approved - a finding that is largely consistent with recent polling. But in Kentucky, one of the top Democratic recruits, retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, lost her bid to oust to three-term Rep. Andy Barr. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sought to minimize Democratic gains in that chamber, but called retaining control of the Senate a "huge moment and victory for the president".
History was working against the president in both the House and the Senate: The president's party has traditionally suffered deep losses in his first midterm election, and 2002 was the only midterm election in the past three decades when the party holding the White House gained Senate seats.
"The only check right now on the behavior of these Republicans is you and your vote", Obama told supporters in Gary, Indiana, during a rally for endangered Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly.
Some hurt worse than others.
Democrats seized early victories in contested House races in Florida and also in Virginia, where political newcomer Jennifer Wexton defeated two-term representative Barbara Comstock.
"Things are pretty good, yet we have all this division and we have this president who's relatively unpopular, so we have this unusual juxtaposition", said Kent State politics professor Michael Ensley, citing Trump's poor approval ratings despite a rollicking USA economy and the absence of any major foreign-policy challenges.
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 about 25 percent said they voted to express support for Trump.
"It's all fragile", he said on the call. Twenty-five percent described health care and immigration as the most important issues in the election.
Trump said in an interview with Sinclair Broadcasting on Monday that he wished he had a softer tone during his first two years in office - even as he continued his relentless attacks on political rivals.
Democrats win House control
In south Florida , former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala defeated Republican Maria Elvira Salazar. The Democrats benefited from extraordinary voter enthusiasm, robust fundraising and unusually fresh candidates.
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