US Midterms 2018: State of play

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chele Farley

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chele Farley

In midterm elections two years after he won the White House, Trump and his fellow Republicans expanded their majority in the US Senate following a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race, immigration and other cultural issues.

The crucial polls, marking the first major voter test of Trump, is seen as a referendum on his controversial policies, including those on immigration.

The Democrats needed a net gain of 23 House seats to break the Republicans' eight-year hold on that chamber and place a check on Trump. And Trump, who campaigned heavily in rural states, can point to those Senate wins as evidence he can still drive his voters to the polls.

Democrats could derail Trump's legislative agenda for the next two years should they win control of the House.

Democrats in the House could be banking on launching an investigation using the results of U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's already 18-month-old probe of allegations of Russian interference on Trump's behalf in the 2016 presidential election.

And Rep. Adam Schiff, slated to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has vowed to probe alleged Trump campaign-Russia collusion.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who may be selected to once again become Speaker of the House, has downplayed talk of impeaching either man, but conservatives have argued those assurances were merely meant to hide Democrats' true intentions so as not to provoke more Republican voter turnout.

"But when we can't find that common ground, we will stand our ground".

McCaskill was denied a third term by Josh Hawley, 38, Missouri's hard-right attorney general, who called McCaskill too liberal for a state that has trended increasingly Republican.

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.

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Americans are voting for all 435 seats in the House and 35 out of 100 seats in the Senate, a as well as state governors.

In a statement, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins said, "The voters of NY state have spoken and they have elected a clear Democratic majority to the state Senate".

Republicans paved their path to victory by defeating Democrats Joe Donnelly of IN and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

Some of the biggest Democratic stars of the campaign lost. Democratic candidates jumped into races, motivated by opposition to the president's agenda and the GOP's proposed changes to health care. Democrat Tammy Baldwin easily held her seat there and Republican Gov. Scott Walker trails in his bid to be re-elected as governor. Hillary Clinton's 2016 loss to Mr. Trump, coupled with the GOP's ability to retain control of Congress that year, also stunned the Democratic faithful.

His visits included overt reminders to his base supporters that they weren't just voting for any Republican on the ballot - they were voting for senators promising to back his priorities. But, depending on the margin of victory for Democrats in the House, even that is unlikely to be immune to partisan obstruction.

Critics, including the Democrats, accused Trump of employing racist and xenophobic rhetoric that incited violence, a charge he and many of his fellow Republicans rejected.

A record number of candidates identifying as "LGBT" ran for office this election cycle, and several of them will soon take office.

The governor focused much of his campaign on his opposition to President Donald Trump and Trump's policies, and he continued that in his victory speech, at times addressing the president directly, saying NY is not "buying" what Trump is selling. And they would claim subpoena power to investigate Trump's personal and professional shortcomings. "Republicans, as expected, keep control of the Senate, which is good news for the president and bad news for polar bears".

As Melber notes, this is something that does not require a Senate or even a full House vote.

As more and more GOP seats look vulnerable, Republicans fear that their House majority might be eliminated on Election Day.

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