- Polls now closed in half of the U.S., including a number of high-profile races
- 35 of 100 Senate seats in play
- All 435 House of Representative seats contested
- 36 gubernatorial elections being decided
The energy and outrage of the Democratic resistance faced off against the brute strength of President Donald Trump’s GOP in a fight for control of Congress and statehouses across the United States.
Two years after an election that proved polls and prognosticators wrong, an air of uncertainty — and stormy weather across parts of the country — clouded the outcome of high-stakes elections from Florida to Alaska and everywhere in between.
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Today’s elections are the first opportunity for Americans to have a say about Trump’s presidency. Trump has encouraged voters to see it as a referendum on his leadership, pointing proudly to the surging economy at recent rallies.
But Democrats are hoping to take control of at least the House of Representatives, giving them the opportunity to derail Trump’s legislative agenda, and give them power to expand investigations into his personal and professional conduct.
Early midterm results show Democrats have taken early leads in some key House of Representative races.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was also projected to easily win his third term as he considers another bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. Other 2020 prospects on the ballot included Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Health care and immigration were high on voters’ minds as they cast ballots in the midterm elections, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate conducted by The Associated Press.
AP VoteCast also shows a majority of voters considered Trump a factor in their votes.
A majority of the 113,000 voters surveyed said the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Long lines and malfunctioning machines marred the first hours of voting in some precincts, including in Georgia, where some voters reported waiting up to three hours to vote in the hotly contested gubernatorial election.
In the final days of the campaign, Trump amped up his rhetoric, peppering his rallies with improbable doomsday scenarios should the Democrats win control of one or both congressional bodies. One Trump campaign ad, playing on his fixation with a caravan of Central American migrants hundreds of kilometres away in Mexico, was deemed by a number of outlets to be too divisive — even racist — to continue airing.
While political pundits may ultimately analyze Tuesday’s results as a test of Trump, many Americans will undoubtedly base their vote on factors other than their feelings about the president: economic indicators, health care, tax reform, immigration or just their overall comfort level with the direction the country is headed.
There are 35 Senate races being decided across 33 states. Republicans currently hold a 51-49 edge in Senate seats and are a strong favourite to retain control of the legislative body. Democrats and their independent colleagues have to defend 27 seats, including in states that went heavily for Trump in the presidential election.
All 435 House of Representative seats are in play. The current session comprises 235 Republicans, 193 Democrats and seven vacant seats (five of which were last held by Republicans). Democrats would need a swing of at least 23 votes to gain control of the House.