US Midterm Polls: Democrats Seize House, Republicans Keep Senate

Democrats have taken control of the House of Representatives, while Republicans have retained their majority in the Senate as polls closed on Tuesday in a polarised and hard-fought midterm battle.

This election saw several firsts across the country, with a number of Democrat women making history and winning races. A record number of women ran for office in these midterms and following these elections, a record number will serve in the House.

  • The US elected its first two Muslim women to the House of Representatives
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest woman elected to the House at 29
  • Colorado elected the first openly gay governor to Congress
  • Kansas and New Mexico elected the first two Native American women to Congress

Trump vs Obama in Final Weekend of Midterms

Feuding from a distance, President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama exchanged tough words Friday, 2 November, as they sought to rally their parties' base voters in the final days before the midterm elections.

Obama urged Democrats in Miami to turn against "a politics based on division" and expressed hope that "we will cut through the lies, block out the noise and remember who we are called to be." Trump said in West Virginia he watched Obama's speech aboard Air Force One, reminding some of his most loyal supporters of what he called Obama's broken promises on health care, the freedom of the press and global trade.

"Lie after lie, broken promise after broken promise, that's what he did," Trump said during an outdoor rally in Huntington, West Virginia.

The competing campaign rallies, including Friday evening events in Georgia and Indiana, placed Trump in a virtual split-screen moment with Obama and set the stage for weekend campaign events for both party heavyweights.

(With inputs from AP)

Trump, Democrats Vying for Support in Final Midterm Push

President Donald Trump and Democrats are delivering competing closing arguments during the final weekend before Tuesday's elections, but their messages were complicated by a deadly shooting in a politically pivotal state.

Trump aimed to drum up voter turnout with events Saturday, 3 November, in Belgrade, Montana, and Pensacola, Florida, about 200 miles west of Florida's capital, Tallahassee, where two people were shot to death and five others wounded at a yoga studio on Friday night.

Vice President Mike Pence helped embattled Governor Scott Walker, R-Wis., and then was meeting up with Trump in Florida to rally Republicans behind Rick Scott, who is trying to unseat Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, and former Rep. Ron DeSantis, who hopes to succeed Scott as governor.

Asia Eyes US Midterm Elections With Anxiety, Hope

Hope and anxiety hang over Asia and north Asia in particular ahead of Tuesday's US midterm election.

President Donald Trump has shaken up Asia, as he has much of the world.

Now Beijing, Seoul and other Asian capitals are waiting to see if the Democrats wrest control of at least one house of Congress from the Republicans and whether that will significantly alter US foreign policy and trade initiatives.

In South Korea, the concern is that Trump might sour on North Korea after months of bold engagement.

For China, the hope is he might be forced to ease off on trade.

Facebook Blocks Accounts 'Meddling' in US Midterms

Facebook has blocked 30 accounts on its platform and 85 accounts on Instagram that may be engaged in "coordinated inauthentic behaviour" from foreign entities into the US midterm elections.

According to the social networking giant, US law enforcement contacted them about online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities.


Ted Cruz Hopes to Secure Second Term Against Rising Star O'Rourke

Beto O'Rourke has already used his once-longshot Texas Senate run to become a national Democratic phenomenon, shatter fundraising records and set off whispers that he could be a credible 2020 White House contender.

But will it be enough to upset – or even stay close to – incumbent Republican Ted Cruz in a state as deeply conservative as Texas?

The two candidates square off Tuesday in their hard-fought race that could help determine control of the Senate.


Democrats Hoping Young Voters Can Help Them Get Over The Line

Democrats' fate depends upon a delicate coalition of infrequent voters – particularly young people and minorities – who traditionally shun midterm elections.

If ever there was an off-year election for younger voters to break tradition, this is it. Young voters promised to vote in record numbers as they waged mass protests in the wake of the February mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 students and staff dead.


Huge Turnout in Early Voting

Politico reports that an unexpected 36 million voters cast their votes in early voting, perhaps suggesting a “much-higher-than-usual turnout” for this election. This is compared to the 2014 midterms in which 24.6 million Americans voted early, according to the same report.

Time for Americans To Say 'Enough': Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, said it was time for Americans to say "enough" after two years of watching the Trump administration "attack and undermine our democratic institutions and values."

She urged voters to "vote against radicalism, bigotry, and corruption" and "for fantastic candidates all over the country - including a historic number of women."

During the campaign, President Trump made every effort to convince voters to retain the Republican majority in the House of Representatives.

The Republican party currently has majority in both the Senate and the House and Trump and his team left no stone unturned to campaign in favour of his Republican party.

According to political pundits, the Democrats have a good chance of winning the House, while the Republicans are likely to retain the Senate.


Also Read: Trump Backtracks on Suggestion That US Troops Can Fire at Caravan

Voting Begins

Voting has begun in the eastern states, in the midterm elections that are US President Donald Trump’s first real test since coming to power.

All 435 House seats are up for grabs, with Republicans currently holding 236 and Democrats 193 (and six vacancies).

The 100-member Senate has about a third of its seats – 36 – up for grabs this election, with 26 held by Democrats and 9 by Republicans. The Senate is currently controlled 51-49 by Republicans.

There are 36 out of 50 Governor’s posts open for contest, with Republicans currently controlling 29 Governorships and Democrats controlling 21.


Voters Contend With Severe Weather Condition on Voting Day

As polls opened across the country, residents of several states were contending with severe weather conditions that could affect voter turnout.

A line of storms moved through the Deep South overnight and early Tuesday morning, knocking down trees and power lines from Louisiana to South Carolina. There were no serious injuries, but an estimated 11,000 residents were left without electricity.

A separate storm front in central Tennessee killed one person, injured two others and left thousands without power. The National Weather Service warned of a possibility of high winds, severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes Tuesday around Baltimore, Washington, DC, and the Mid-Atlantic region.

Dry weather was forecast for the West and Southwest, but significant snow accumulations were expected across the northern Rockies.


Nancy Pelosi Says Elections Are About Healthcare

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says the midterm elections are basically a referendum on Republican efforts to scrap Obamacare. The California Democrat says at a Tuesday morning press conference that the election is "about health care."

Pelosi credits Democratic politicians and activists across the country with helping to fend off attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act following 2016 election results that left Republicans in control of Congress and the White House.

Pelosi says that after 2016 Democrats "didn't agonise, we organised." She forecasts Democratic victories across the country, but with a small overall margin of victory. Pelosi says that as few as 25,000 votes nationwide could swing the results.


Russia Hopes Midterm Election Eases Domestic Tensions in US

Russia is hoping the midterm election in the US will ease domestic tensions in the country and enable Washington to focus on global issues, reports AP.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday, 6 November, lamented that Russia-American ties have become "hostage to internal political squabble in America."

Talking to reporters in Madrid, Spain, he said that he is hopeful the election will help stabilise domestic politics in the US "so that Washington could concentrate on some positive steps on the international arena".

On the meddling, Lavrov reiterated Moscow's position that it is not meddling in the elections conducted in the States.

(Inputs from AP)

Also Read: Russia Slaps Sanctions on Ukraine Politicians, Businesses

Technical Glitch Reported From Georgia

Long lines and malfunctioning machines marred the first hours of voting in some precincts across the U.S.

Some of the biggest problems Tuesday were in Georgia, a state with a hotly contested gubernatorial election. Voters reported waiting up to three hours to vote. At a polling place in Snellville, Georgia, more than 100 people took turns sitting in children's chairs and on the floor as they waited in line for hours.

Hillary Clinton tweeted encouraging Georgia voters to stay in line to cast their ballots despite the delays.

Voter Ontaria Woods said about two dozen people who had come to vote left because of the lines. At a poll site in Atlanta, voters waited in the rain in long lines that stretched around the building.

Hannah Ackermann said officials at the polling site offered various explanations for the delay, including blaming workers who didn't show up and overloaded machines.


Also Read: Trump Urges Hillary Clinton to Run Against Him in 2020 Elections

First Polls Begin Closing

The first polls have begun closing in parts of Indiana and Kentucky in the high-stakes US midterm elections that will determine control of the Congress.

The remainder of the polling locations in Indiana and Kentucky, and in half a dozen other states, will close in another hour, reported Reuters.

In Pictures: America Votes for Midterm Elections

Representative Scott Perry, center, candidate for Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District, greets a family in line to vote at the Carroll Township Municipal Building, on 6 November. 
A group of people hold up a sign that reads “Vote Them Out” as they protest in front of the White House the night before midterm election voting begins.
Voters cast their ballots on Tuesday in Gates Mills, Ohio. Across the country, voters headed to the polls on Tuesday in one of the most high-profile midterm elections in years.

Beyonce Endorses Democrat Beto O'Rourke in Texas Race

At the last minute, scarcely before polls closed, Beyonce posted her endorsement of Beto O’Rourke on Instagram. O’Rourke could unseat sitting Republican Senator and one-time presidential hopeful Ted Cruz in Beyonce’s home state of Texas.

Also Read: Texas Republicans Apologise to Hindu-Americans For Ganesha Ad

Voters Under 65 Overwhelmingly Choose Democrats

An AP pre-election and Election Day poll covering about 90,000 people found that young voters are overwhelmingly voting Democrat (or saying they intend to), with the difference closing as they approach the 65+ age group.

In the 18-24 age group, 63% chose Democrats, compared to 30% Republican.
Among 25-29-year-olds, 58% chose Democrats with 34% choosing Republicans.
In 30-39-year-olds, 58% chose Democrats, 37% Republican.
Of the 40-49 age group, 51% chose Democrat with 43% going Republican.
49% of 50-64-year-olds chose Democrats, with 49% choosing Republicans.
Republicans were preferred only in the 65+ age group, with 49%, and 48% going with the Democrats.


Democrats Flip First 2 House Seats

The Democrats flipped their first two Republican-held House seats Tuesday as polls closed in the East, winning an open Florida district and another in the suburbs of the nation's capital as they worked to wrest control of the chamber from the GOP and confront President Donald Trump.

Democrats would need to flip at least 23 House seats in order to get a majority.


Elizabeth Warren Easily Wins Senate Re-election

Elizabeth Warren, who said she’d take a “hard look” at a 2020 Presidential bid after the Senate race was over, has won her seat in Massachusetts.

Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate in the 2016 general election, has also easily won his Senate seat from Virginia.

Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, who ran in the Democratic primaries against Clinton, has cruised to his third Senate term.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Becomes Youngest Woman Elected to Congress

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made history by becoming the youngest woman ever to be elected to Congress, from New York’s 14th District.


Trump Watches Results Come In With Family

The US president spent election night watching returns with family and friends at the White House, after concluding a six-day rally blitz in Missouri late Monday.

"Everything we have achieved is at stake," he said. "Because they can take it apart just as fast as we built it."


Colorado Elects First Openly Gay Governor, Kansas Its First Native American

Colorado Democrat Jared Polis has been elected the first openly gay US governor, reported AFP.

Meanwhile, Kansas Democrat Sharice Davids is the first Native American woman in the Congress, and is also openly gay.

Democrat Sharice Davids during Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District debate.

Deb Haaland, another Native American woman, also won her race in New Mexico’s congressional district.

Republican Ted Cruz Fends Off Democrat Beto O'Rourke in Texas Senate Race

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz fended off rising-star Democrat Beto O'Rourke to win re-election in a much-watched Texas race that began as a cakewalk but needed a visit from President Donald Trump to help push the incumbent over the top.

Cruz turned back O'Rourke with the help of Trump, his bitter rival in 2016. Trump took the unexpected step of traveling to reliably Republican Texas during crunch time, staging a Houston rally to energize his base for Cruz just two weeks before Election Day. The president praised the senator as "beautiful" and smart


Trump Tweets

US President Donald Trump has claimed victory after the midterms, presumably because Republicans retained the Senate. He made no mention of the Democrat take-over of the House.

First Muslim Women Elected to Congress

Rashida Tlaib from Michigan was the first Muslim woman elected to Congress, closely followed by Ilhan Omar from Minnesota. Both women are Democrats.

Republican Ron DeSantis Wins Gubernatorial Race over Democrat Andrew Gillum

In a race marred by a hurricane and gun violence, DeSantis has pulled off a decisive victory over Gillum to become Florida Governor after a contentious campaign.


Mitt Romney Wins Utah Senate Seat

Former presidential candidate against Barack Obama in 2012, Republican Mitt Romney has won a Senate seat from Utah, defeating Democrat Jenny Wilson to occupy the seat that will be vacated by retiring Republican Orrin Hatch.

Trump Tweets Again

Coming on the heels of his previous tweet declaring the midterms a “tremendous success” and thanking everybody, these two tweets come, perhaps, as a justification.

The quote is from a book published in 2017.

Massachusetts Elects Its First Black Member of the House

Democrat Ayanna Pressley ran unopposed after beating her primaries challenger to become the first black member Massachusetts has sent to the House of Representatives, and the first black woman the state has sent to either the House or the Senate.


Big Issues That States Voted On

Voting Rights:

In Florida, Amendment 4 to the state’s constitution was passed, which restored the voting rights of ex-convicts. An estimated 2.1 million people in the state will now be eligible to vote, the majority of these being black men, who are overrepresentation in the state’s incarceration statistics.


Alabama and West Virginia both voted to make abortion more difficult for women to access. In Alabama, an amendment that “protects the rights of unborn children” and “support the sanctity of human life” was approved. In West Virginia, an amendment was passed stating that “nothing in the state Constitution secures or protects a right to abortion or requires the funding of abortion”.


Michigan voters on Tuesday made their state the first in the Midwest to legalise recreational marijuana, passing a ballot measure that will allow people 21 or older to buy and use the drug and putting conservative neighbouring states on notice.

North Dakota voters decided recreational pot wasn't for them, while voters in Missouri passed one of three unrelated measures to legalise medical marijuana.

(The Hill, BBC News, and AP)

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