Key US midterm races to watch - and when to watch them

Key US midterm races to watch - and when to watch them

The first polls have been closing across the U.S. in one of the most closely watched midterm congressional elections in living memory, which are likely to be seen as a referendum on President Donald Trump's administration. Meanwhile, Democrats are fighting hard to take seats that have been held by Republicans in Arizona, Nevada, Texas, and Tennessee.

Anxious Republicans privately expressed confidence in their narrow Senate majority but feared the House was slipping away. Trump, the GOP's chief messenger, warned that significant Democratic victories would trigger devastating consequences.

If history is any guide, the party of a president with that level of support is in for a rough time in a mid-term election. He added: "The Democrat agenda is a socialist nightmare". Trump tweeted late Tuesday, seemingly choosing to focus on the Senate results.

The White House said Tuesday it hoped Democrats would forget the investigations and try to find common ground with a president willing to work on shared priorities. A CNN poll released on November 5 found that Democrats led Republicans on a generic ballot by 13 points, 55 percent to 42 percent.

By failing to pick up the two seats needed, it's unclear whether the Democratic caucus's leadership ranks will change at all.

Democrats also could recapture governorships in several battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and OH, a potential help for the party in those states in the 2020 presidential race.

In the Senate, where Republicans were heavily favored to keep control heading into Tuesday's voting, Republican Mike Braun captured incumbent Joe Donnelly's seat in IN and Republican Kevin Cramer beat incumbent Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.

"The projected win by Democrats will be the first time they've controlled the House in eight years".

Given Trump's stunning victory in 2016, few were confident in their predictions. "I just want to keep everything moving, because I'm loving it". REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin U.S. Democratic Congressional candidate Jahana Hayes arrives to fill out her ballot to vote at a voting station in Wolcott, Connecticut, U.S., November 6, 2018.

Outside Richmond, 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. Democrats were favored to win more House seats than they now have, and they needed an overall gain of 23 to retake the House majority. This puts them well on track to claim the 23 seats required to claim a House majority and act as a check on Trump's power.

Some Democrats have already vowed to force the release of his tax returns. Others have pledged to pursue impeachment, although removal from office is unlikely so long as the GOP controls the Senate or even maintains a healthy minority.

Voter turnout, normally lower when the presidency is not at stake, could be the highest for a midterm election in 50 years, experts predicted.

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Historically, though, Republicans have been more reliable voters in midterm elections. Some people are calling the increased youth vote the "Parkland effect" though it remains to be seen what impact the voter drive by survivors of the Florida shooting may have had. If that's what voters are thinking about, it's an indication that Democrats accurately had the pulse of the electorate. Polling suggests the Republican coalition is increasingly older, whiter, more male and less likely to have a college degree.

Democratic state Rep. John Ager is also poised to win in Buncombe, another key hold for Democrats.

State Sen. Jeff Tarte, R-Mecklenburg, is in trouble, down by more than 9,000 votes with most of his district's precincts in.

Tightly contested Senate races in Florida and West Virginia also were too close to call, as were high-profile races for governor in OH and Georgia. "You're going to see the largest gender gap we've ever seen".

The political realignment, if it solidifies, could re-shape US politics for a generation. The demographic shifts also reflect each party's closing argument.

The final weeks of the campaign season were upended when, in a shocking development, authorities intercepted potential explosive devices targeting top Democratic Party leaders, including former President Barack Obama and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Abrams is running in a Republican state against Trump-backed candidate Brian Kemp, Georgia's secretary of state, who cast himself as a "politically incorrect" hard-line immigration candidate like the president.

The president's strategy of emphasizing divisive issues risks backfiring on Republican candidates in suburban swing districts that probably will determine control of the House.

Goodstein called health care "the fundamental issue that separates the two parties".

However, with a voter turnout surge and a disapproval rating for the President sitting at 55 percent, his opponents have come to the ballot box to make their voices heard. "Health care for millions of people".

"When you vote, Illinois, you can reject that kind of politics".

"He is a sexist, a racist, a homophobe, a xenophobe and a religious bigot".

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