Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

U.S. midterm polls: Democrats leading in fight to win House

U.S. midterm polls: Democrats leading in fight to win House

There is a lot up for grabs Tuesday. Now, Democrats are in control once again.

Democrats needed to pick up two dozen seats to seize the House majority and two seats to control the Senate.

And 36 gubernatorial contests will be decided, with Democrats looking to put a dent in the current 17-seat advantage for Republicans.

- Minimum wage increases are on the ballot in two states.

A turbulent election season that tested President Donald Trump's slash-and-burn political style against the strength of the Democratic resistance comes to a close as Americans cast ballots in the first national election of the Trump era on Tuesday.

Sixty of those vulnerable districts are now under Republican control or were left vacant when a Republican lawmaker resigned.

Trump, without control of Congress, could decide to triangulate. Four years later, Brat could find himself on the losing end of another upset, facing a strong challenge from Abigail Spanberger, a former Central Intelligence Agency operations officer.

Republicans were banking on those dynamics being offset by a vibrant economy and by a president whose insult-laden approach to political discourse was as stirring for conservative voters as it was infuriating to liberals. Despite those moves, Lance might not be able to escape the shadow cast by Trump and the GOP agenda.

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Midterm elections are typically hard for the party in power, and GOP incumbents were on defense in races across the country. They include the 45th District which is based entirely in Orange County and is a longtime Republican stronghold that's become increasingly diverse. Trump had won that district handily. GOP Rep. Mimi Walters is running against Democrat Katie Porter, a consumer protection lawyer and Elizabeth Warren protégée. A record number of women are also running for Senate, House, governorships and state legislative seats. Iowa's 3rd District is a prime example.

- Access to abortion and abortion funding is on the ballot in three states. Still, Trump brushed off criticism that he was alienating moderate voters as he continued his massive rallies and overheated rhetoric.

Drawing attention like few other midterm contests, the election has pitted competing visions of the country against each other, with race often being front and centre, punctuated by two racially tinged crimes.

News is projecting that the Democratic Party will gain at least the 23 seats that it needs to take back the House of Representatives. Trump prevailed in IN by 19 points.

For Democrats, a scenario where Republicans keep both chambers would be transformative, particularly given their confidence going into the election. Then Trump entered the picture.

In the suburbs outside the nation's capital, Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock - among the most endangered GOP incumbents, branded Barbara "Trumpstock" by Democrats - lost to Jennifer Wexton, a prosecutor and state legislator. Now she faces a challenge from gun control activist Lucy McBath, whose son was shot and killed in 2012 after a dispute over loud music.

Meanwhile, some Democrat supporters admitted they were haunted by the spectre of 2016 when Mr Trump's triumph confounded the pundits and opinion polls which had predicted a Hillary Clinton victory.

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Yet Trump's party will maintain Senate control for the next two years, at least. Democrats hold a very narrow path to the majority - one that nearly certainly closes if Sen.

Democrat Sen. Bob Menendez won a third Senate term in New Jersey, despite a federal bribery indictment that prosecutors dropped this year after a mistrial. Polls in the Show Me State show the race is deadlocked.

They paved their path to victory by defeating Democrats Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Missouri's Claire McCaskill. "It's an awakening of the Democratic Party". Dean Heller's shifting stances on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. But all such measures would likely be dead on arrival in the Senate.

Democrats were also heartened by heavy turnout after a bitter campaign which at Trump's own insistence was widely seen as an unofficial referendum on his polarizing presidency. A recent CNN poll found health care was the top issue for 28% of likely voters in Nevada, followed closely by immigration at 26%.

And on Monday, he made the case that if Democrats win, they will work to roll back everything he is tried to accomplish.

The Democratic candidates tried to stick to an economic message of lowering health care costs and investing in infrastructure to create jobs. The Democrats are counting on those voters to help Bill Nelson, the incumbent senator facing a considerable challenge from Rick Scott, the state's outgoing Republican governor. The next president to come close was Ronald Reagan, who had a 43% approval rating at this point in his presidency.

Drew Hammill, an aide to Pelosi, tweeted Tuesday evening that the President called Pelosi at 11:45 p.m. ET "to extend his congratulations on winning a Democratic House Majority". A Gillum victory in the biggest presidential battleground prize would give the progressive wing an added jolt as the early 2020 jockeying begins in earnest.

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