Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Democrats gain in fight for House, but path to Senate narrow

President Donald Trump waves to the crowd as he leaves the stage at the end of a campaign rally on Monday President Donald Trump waves to the crowd as he leaves the stage at the end of a campaign rally on Monday Credit Jeff Robertson AP
Steven Clarke | 08 November, 2018, 17:22

Republicans retained Senate control Tuesday after ousting Democratic incumbents in Indiana, North Dakota and Missouri, delivering a victory to President Donald Trump by preserving the chamber as a showplace for his conservative priorities for two more years. But the GOP gained ground in the Senate and preserved key governorships, beating back a "blue wave" that never fully materialized.

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. But blue-collar voters and rural America embraced his aggressive talk and stances.

Fox News Channel projected on Tuesday that Democrats will win control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

But the Democrats' edge is narrow.

Democrats have picked up at least 23 House seats, putting them on track to reach the 218 needed to seize control from Republicans after eight years.

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.

They now need to pick up 11 Republican seats to establish a majority.

The 26 seats Democrats were protecting included 10 in states that Trump won in the 2016 presidential race, five of those by an enormous 19 percentage points or more.

Control of both houses of the US Congress, now dominated by Republicans, and 36 governors' offices will be at stake when Americans vote on Tuesday. It wasn't clear what "leaks" he was referring to.

The 2018 elections also exposed an extraordinary political realignment in an electorate defined by race, gender, and education that could shape USA politics for years to come. Among those expected were Trump's adult children, White House aides, Republican officials and presidential friends. Democrats relied more upon women, people of color, young people and college graduates. She was among the record number of women running this year. The House was also getting its first two Muslim women, MA elected its first black congresswoman, and Tennessee got its first female senator. Now, Democrats are in control once again. Democratic favorite Conor Lamb stunned Washington by winning a special election in the state and faced Republican Rep. Keith Rothfus in a new district that was among four that could flip from red to blue.

Democrats could also recapture governor's offices in several battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin and OH, a potential help for the party in those states in the 2020 presidential race. Democrats won seats stretching from suburban Washington, New York and Philadelphia to outside Miami, Chicago and Denver.

Sri Lankan Parliament to reconvene on Nov 14: Sirisena
The Prime Minister was addressing the "Rata Rakina Jana Mahimaya" public protest rally at the Parliament Junction, Battaramulla. Sirisena has also accused Wickremesinghe's government of not taking seriously an alleged assassination plot against him.

But Democratic former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail in the election's final days to challenge Trump, questioning his policies and character.

The results were more mixed deeper into Trump country.

Democrats knocked off at least 17 GOP incumbents, picking up moderate, suburban districts across the country.

Democrats failed to defeat a vulnerable incumbent in Kentucky, where Republican Rep. Andy Barr won over former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who advocates gun control, poured millions into House races for Democrats, offsetting the big-dollar spending to save Republicans by the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is aligned with House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Republicans paved their path to victory by defeating Democrats Joe Donnelly of IN and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

Some hurt worse than others.

What has President Trump being saying?

Almost 40 percent of voters cast their ballots to express opposition to the president, according to AP VoteCast, a national survey of the electorate, while one-in-four said they voted to express support for Trump.

Overall, 6 in 10 voters said the country was headed in the wrong direction, but roughly that same number described the national economy as excellent or good.

A poll in October by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School found that for 18-to-29-year olds, 40 percent report that they will "definitely vote" in the midterms, with 54 percent of Democrats, 43 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of Independents considered likely voters.

"Even though I'm not on the ballot, in a certain way I am on the ballot", Mr Trump said during a tele-town hall meeting organised by his re-election campaign on Monday to encourage Republicans to get out and vote.

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