2018 midterms: Democrats win House, GOP retains Senate as record number of women elected

UPDATE — 11/12, 7:52 p.m. EST: The Associated Press has called Arizona’s U.S. Senate election for Democratic Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema over Republican Martha McSally, giving Democrats at least 47 seats starting in 2019.

Votes in Florida’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial elections will be recounted as incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson trails Republican Gov. Rick Scott by less than 13,000 votes, while GOP Congressman Ron DeSantis leads Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by just over 33,000.

In Georgia’s gubernatorial race, state secretary Brian Kemp leads Democrat Stacy Abrams by nearly 57,767 votes, but not all provisional ballots have been counted. If one candidate fails to reach 50 percent of the total vote, state law requires a Dec. 4 run-off.

 

Tuesday’s midterm elections brought about monumental changes at the federal and state-level, as a record number of women were elected to Congress and one of the first openly gay gubernatorial candidates, Colorado’s Jared Polis, won by a wide margin.

Democrats won majority control of the U.S. House of Representatives flipping at least 33 seats, while Republicans will likely increase their majority in the Senate.

Multiple exit polls showed voters were most concerned with health care, immigration and President Trump.

A Democratic House, a Republican Senate

Over the past month, Trump ramped-up Republican voter enthusiasm by warning against illegal immigration which may have prevented a Democratic “blue wave.”

In all, Democrats gained a net of seven governorships and five state legislative chambers, and will seat at least 228 House members and 46 senators in the 116th Congress.

With Democrats controlling Congress’ lower chamber, there is a chance to potentially push back on some of Trump’s legislative ambitions, which include funding for a border wall with Mexico, a second major tax-cut package and hard-line trade policies.

A House majority also has subpoena power which Democrats may use to investigate Trump and his administration for corruption and issues related to alleged Russian collusion.

“Thanks to you, tomorrow will be a new day in America,” said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi.

While a split government could cause legislative gridlock in Washington, Trump struck an optimistic tone at a White House press conference Wednesday saying he’s willing to work with House Democrats, but cautioned if the opposition party pursues legal action against his administration then bi-partisanship would be virtually impossible to achieve.

Women in Congress

Over 100 female congressional candidates from diverse backgrounds were elected Tuesday night — a new record.

Native Americans Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) and Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), and Muslim Americans Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), will be the first such minorities to hold federal public office.

Republican Marsha Blackburn is set to become the first female senator in Tennessee and either Martha McSally or Kyrsten Sinema will similarly be seated as Arizona’s first representative in Congress’ upper chamber.

Another first? Maine and South Dakota both elected their first female governors.

“We saw an unprecedented number of women raise their voices, run for office,” said Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Women candidates ran in over half of the most contested races in America — and if you don’t know them yet, don’t worry, you will!”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) also made history as the youngest woman elected to Congress at just 29 years of age.

Contributing to the Democratic House takeover, Abigail Spanberger beat incumbent Dave Brat in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District race, while Lizzie Pannill Fletcher defeated John Culberson in Texas’ 7th District.

Exit Polls

President Trump’s disapproval rating stood at 54 percent, versus 44 percent approval among midterm voters.

Health care replaced the economy as the most important issue according to 41 percent of voters. Immigration followed with 23 percent, while 21 percent said the economy was their top priority and 11 percent named gun policy, according to NBC News.

 

Editor’s note: This article has been edited to update election results.

 

[Washington Post] [AP] [NBC News] [Reuters] [Politico] [Atlanta Journal-Constitution] [Photo courtesy TechaPeek]

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