U.S. midterms: Democrats take House as Republicans retain grip on Senate

Voters line up to cast their ballot just before the polls open in the mid-term election

A number of prominent anti-Trump Democrats also would be poised to assume control of key committees if Republicans lose control of the House.

In Florida, six House seats are in play, and there are close and crucial battles for a Senate seat and the governorship. Perhaps most importantly, they are voting in representatives to the Senate and to the House of Representatives (the House). Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., chairman of Senate Democrats' political arm.

Beto O'Rourke, a charismatic Democrat seeking to dethrone Republican Ted Cruz in Texas, said the state is one of "immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees".

Republicans do not have to defend as many vulnerable incumbents as Democrats in the midterms.

Republicans were poised to expand their majority in the Senate.

Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, said it was time for Americans to say "enough" after two years of watching the Trump administration "attack and undermine our democratic institutions and values".

The NAACP in Georgia won a last-ditch lawsuit to extend voting hours in Georgia, where voter suppression has plagued the race. About 15 percent said that this was the first time they'd voted in a midterm, according to CNN, compared to about 10 percent who said they were first-time voters in the 2016 election. Almost 4 in 10 said they were casting ballots to express opposition to him, while just 1 in 4 said their vote was an expression of support.

Health care and immigration were high on voters' minds as they cast ballots, according to a wide-ranging survey of the American electorate conducted by AP.

This midterm election has generated a lot more heat and a lot more voter interest than previous midterms because in many ways it's a referendum on President Trump. Two-page ballots caused delays in NY, however, while voters in Georgia also faced long waits due to technical problems and high turnout, USA media reported.

Democrats now need to win only nine more Republican House seats to reach the net gain of 23 seats they need to secure a majority.

Republicans had another pickup opportunity in New Jersey, where Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez, who, less than a year ago, stood trial for federal corruption charges.

"We have long cautioned against assuming the House was a done deal for the Democrats, and we don't think readers should be stunned if things go haywire for Democrats tomorrow night", Crystal Ball editor-in-chief Larry Sabato and managing editor Kyle Kondik wrote.

In Virginia, political newcomer Jennifer Wexton defeated two-term GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock.

Two races which are of particular interest are Georgia, where Democrat Stacey Abrams is seeking to become the first black woman to become governor of a U.S. state, and Florida, where Democrat Andrew Gillum is locked in a bitter battle with Republican and Trump acolyte Ron DeSantis. Shalala will replace retiring Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Republican incumbent Andy Barr fended off a strong challenged from Democrat Amy McGrath, a Naval Academy graduate and the first female U.S. Marine to pilot an F/A-18 Hornet in combat, in Kentucky's 6th Congressional District. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and potential 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren in MA, according to CNN projections. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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

He and the first lady were to host an evening watch party for family and friends.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said her party had momentum on its side.

Democrats, whose very relevance in the Trump era depended on winning at least one chamber of Congress, were laser-focused on health care as they predicted victories that would break up the GOP's monopoly in Washington and state governments.

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

Some Democrats have already vowed to force the release of his tax returns. How women and independent voters cast their ballots was likely to determine the outcome.

Tightly contested Senate races in Florida, Ohio and West Virginia were too close to call, as were high-profile races for governor in Ohio and Georgia. Like other Democrats across the country, Spanberger emphasized protecting people with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage or charged more by insurers. "I think the public will repudiate him [Trump] by voting in a Democratic-controlled House of Representative, because they do want a check".

The demographic divides were coloring the political landscape in different ways.

Democrats were most optimistic about the House, a sprawling battlefield set largely in America's suburbs where more educated and affluent voters in both parties have soured on Trump's turbulent presidency, despite the strength of the national economy.

To seal the win, the GOP drew backing from hard-right voters in rural, deep-red states, where Trump's nativist, racially tinged rhetoric and insult-laden discourse were as stirring for some conservatives as they were infuriating to liberals elsewhere.

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