Republicans Fight to Keep Control of the Senate in 2018 Midterms

Elias Hubbard
November 8, 2018

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called Tuesday's election a "huge victory" for President Donald Trump - even though Republicans lost control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Trump is trying to defy historic omens that suggest that commanders in chief often get a rebuke from voters in the midterm election of their first term.

If Democrats do manage to take the House, they will be in position to provide the first institutional check on Trump's presidency - a role Republicans have chosen not to play given his political dominance on the right.

Carol Burton, another Democratic voter says she voted against the Republicans: "We need a curb on Trump, there won't be any checks on him if Republicans win".

Her deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill told reporters that Trump also acknowledged Pelosi's call for bipartisanship in her victory remarks. They needed to claim just two seats to win, but they also had to hold on to at least six states where they faced tough challenges from Republicans.

The turning point was when Republican businessman Mike Braun ousted incumbent Joe Donnelly, a moderate Democrat in Indiana.

Amid the recent rash of letter bombs and the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, Trump issued alarming and often unfounded warnings about caravans of migrants crossing Mexico toward the US, blaming Democrats, without evidence, for the threat he claimed they pose. Historical patterns and current polling shows the majority party, the Republicans in this case, losing seats during a midterm election.

In suburban areas where key House races will be decided, voters skewed significantly toward Democrats by a almost 10-point margin. More women than ever were running, along with military veterans and minorities, many of them motivated by Trump's rise.

A debate about whether Trump's inflammatory rhetoric encouraged extremists erupted in the campaign's final weeks after pipe bombs were mailed to his top political rivals allegedly by a Trump supporter who was arrested and charged, and 11 people were killed in a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. Hispanic voters favored Democratic House candidates by 33 percentage points - higher than the 18-percentage point gap that Democrats enjoyed in 2014, the poll found.

While a Democrat House could block some of Trump's legislative plans, a GOP majority in the Senate enables the president to continue restocking the American judiciary with judges that rule according to the Constitution rather than social agendas.

Democrats faced a far more hard challenge in the Senate, where they were nearly exclusively on defense in rural states where Trump remains popular. Wexton was among the record number of women running this year. In the Miami area, former Clinton administration Cabinet member Donna Shalala won an open seat, while GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo lost his bid for a third term in another district.

Overall, however, Republicans seem much more optimistic about keeping the Senate than the House. At least three other red districts flipped to blue.

A loss of the House will also trigger significant second guessing of the President's tactics, given that he chose not to make the booming economy his primary midterm argument, instead turning to a searing indictment of Democrats focusing on immigration and laden with racial language.

Democrats failed to defeat a vulnerable incumbent in Kentucky, where Republican Rep. Andy Barr won over former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath.

Outside Richmond, Virginia, one-time tea party favorite Rep. Dave Brat lost to Democrat Abigail Spanberger, a former Central Intelligence Agency operative motivated to run for office after the GOP vote to gut the Affordable Care Act.

Trump said in an interview with Sinclair Broadcasting on Monday that he wished he had a softer tone during his first two years in office - even as he continued his relentless attacks on political rivals. "The choice is clear: it's a choice between prosperity and higher taxes".

The tax law has been particularly problematic for Republicans in New Jersey, where four of five GOP-held seats were being seriously contested.

Democrats turned out in droves to register disapproval of his divisive rhetoric and policies on such issues as immigration and his travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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