Trump on trial as Americans vote in midterm election

Elias Hubbard
November 8, 2018

"His actions, his verbage, he's clearly the focal point", said Tim Phillips, president of the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity, which has poured millions into certain races this cycle to help preserve the Republican majority.

Republicans built on their slim Senate majority and ousted four incumbent Democrats: Bill Nelson in Florida, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Claire McCaskill in Missouri.

With almost two thirds of ballots counted, Democratic state lawmaker Jennifer Wexton was ahead of Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock by 57% to 43% in their suburban northern Virginia district that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, NBC reported.

But the Republicans could lose up to 10 state gubernatorial races. Dean Heller versus Democrat Jacky Rosen in Nevada; Democrat Kyrsten Sinema versus Republican Martha McSally in Arizona; Democratic Sen. Still, she was within striking distance in a Lexington-area district Trump won by 15 percentage points in 2016.

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

In the Senate, where Democrats need to net two seats, there are five toss-ups, though the map is harder for them because of the large number of incumbent Democrats running for re-election in states won by Trump in 2016. The new congressional term begins in January 2019. Bob Menendez, who, less than a year ago, stood trial for federal corruption charges.

Americans have started voting in critical midterm elections that mark the first major voter test of Donald Trump's presidency, with control of Congress at stake.

During an election-eve rally in Cleveland on Monday, President Trump claimed that mid-term elections, which used to be "boring", have now become the "hottest thing" because of him, attributing voter turnout and media attention to his presidency.

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. Also, more said they showed up at the polls to express opposition than did those who said they were casting a ballot to support him.

Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden called on Americans to use their votes to reject Trump.

Just 42 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the 2014 congressional midterm elections, the lowest turnout since at least 1964, according to the US Census Bureau.

After a hectic week of campaigning, Trump spent Tuesday at the White House awaiting exit polls and final results.

Trump himself noted the energy as he wrapped up a punishing schedule of rallies around the country that were meant to boost Republican candidates - and his own brand heading towards reelection in 2020.

Now it looks like Republicans and Democrats will split control of Congress. Republicans have picked up enough Senate seats to block Democrats there, expanding GOP control over the Senate.

Besides stymieing the Trump agenda, a Democratic victory in the House could allow Democrats to launch multiple committee investigations of the Trump administration and possibly even impeachment proceedings.

"Tomorrow will be a new day in America", said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who's in line to become the next House speaker should Democrats take the majority.

"We're going to win, based on data", Pelosi of California said at the Democratic campaign headquarters in Washington. How women and independent voters cast their ballots was likely to determine the outcome.

Democrats themselves sought to root their campaigns in more bread-and-butter issues, such as health-care and what they portrayed as Republican assaults on the popular aspects of Obamacare.

Democrats turned out to register disapproval of Trump's divisive rhetoric and policies on such issues as immigration and his travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries. We have already seen that with Beto O'Rourke, the Democratic challenger to Senator Ted Cruz in Texas.

With terms of six years, about a third of the Senate is up for election every two years. "I really believe this". According to VoteCast, half of voters said the tumultuous process was very important to their vote and they broke for the Democratic House candidate.

Trump, though, nearly assuredly will face an avalanche of investigations into his tax returns, his payments to adult-film star Stormy Daniels and his relationship with Russian Federation if Democrats win back the House - which comes with the much-coveted power to subpoena and launch congressional investigations.

The Southwest states feature a number of key races: at least two Senate races are key to the GOP's chances of either holding on to the Senate or increasing their lead.

The campaign will be the most expensive midterm in history, projected by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics to exceed $5 billion.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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