Dems flip 2 GOP seats in early returns for House battle

US president Donald Trump

In the Senate, Republican Mike Braun snatched the seat from Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly, but corruption scandal-tainted Senator Bob Menendez saved his seat for the Democrats in New Jersey.

A Democratic victory would also stonewall much of Trump's agenda.

Suddenly about mid-evening, before the Rocky Mountain and West Coast polls even closed, the ABC News forecast gave the GOP a 94.7 percent chance of maintaining control of the Senate. Democrat Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy pilot and federal prosecutor, was favored for a suburban Newark seat.

Initial vote counts were too tight to call a pivotal race in IN, where Republicans hoped to oust moderate Sen.

Early returns were also inconclusive in Democratic Sen.

Most Democratic candidates in tight races stayed away from harsh criticism of Trump during the campaign's final stretch, focusing instead on bread-and-butter issues like keeping down healthcare costs, maintaining insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and safeguarding the Social Security retirement and Medicare healthcare programmes for senior citizens.

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. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of these voters supported Democratic candidates.

With divided leadership in Congress and a president who has taken an expansive view of executive power, Washington could be in store for even deeper political polarization and legislative gridlock.

Jay Ghazal, a political consultant and former Congressional aide says the Democratic majority in the House will also have some effects on Trump's foreign policy: "The House will be able to vote to increase foreign aid, something the president has been cutting".

In Miami, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell beat Republican Carlos Curbelo and former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, a Democrat, defeated television anchor Maria Elvira Salazar, a Republican for an open House seat.

Republicans were hoping those dynamics would be offset by a vibrant US economy and by a president whose insult-laden approach to political discourse was as stirring for conservative voters as it was infuriating to liberals.

Trump declared "the Republican agenda is the American dream" and at his final event, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, he called on supporters to seize their "righteous destiny as Americans". He himself has characterized the election as a referendum on his presidency.

The results of the vote will be consequential for the last two years of Trump's term and are considered a big indicator of his chances to be re-elected in 2020.

He said Democrats could pick up six to 10 seats, which could have a major effect on redistricting in 2020.

Unlike 2016, however, Democrats have historical trends on their side. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, CNN projected. Nelson, 76, faced outgoing GOP Gov. Rick Scott, who poured over $50 million of his own fortune into his campaign, the most in the U.S.

Trump had 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.

Mucarsel-Powell is an immigrant from Ecuador who has worked for several nonprofit organizations in Miami-Dade County.

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. Republicans were on defense in only one state carried by Hillary Clinton - a race that Sen.

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.

Even Senator Ted Cruz eked out reelection in Texas, and he and the president are frenemies to be charitable.

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