Midterm elections favor Democrats in House; Republicans retain Senate
Ducey gets second term; Sinema flips Jeff Flake's senate seate
WASHINGTON -- Democrats seized the House majority from President Donald Trump's Republican Party Nov. 6 in a suburban revolt that threatened what's left of the president's governing agenda. But the GOP gained ground in the Senate and preserved key governorships, beating back a "blue wave" that never fully materialized.
The mixed verdict in the first nationwide election of Trump's presidency underscored the limits of his hardline immigration rhetoric in America's evolving political landscape, where college-educated voters in the nation's suburbs rejected his warnings of a migrant "invasion." But blue-collar voters and rural America embraced his aggressive talk and stances.
The new Democratic House majority will end the Republican Party's dominance in Washington for the final two years of Trump's first term with major questions looming about health care, immigration and government spending.
"Tomorrow will be a new day in America," declared House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who would be in line to become the next House speaker.
But the Democrats' edge is narrow. With 218 seats needed for a majority, Democrats have won 219 and the Republicans 193, with winners undetermined in 23 races.
The president's party will maintain control of the executive branch of the government, in addition to the Senate, but Democrats suddenly have a foothold that gives them subpoena power to probe deep into Trump's personal and professional missteps — and his long-withheld tax returns.
Early Nov. 7, Trump warned Democrats against using their new majority to investigate his administration.
"If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level," Trump tweeted, "then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!" 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 U.S. politics for years to come.
The GOP's successes were fueled by a coalition that's decidedly older, whiter, more male and less likely to have college degrees. Democrats relied more upon women, people of color, young people and college graduates.
Record diversity on the ballot may have helped drive turnout.
Voters were on track to send at least 99 women to the House, shattering the record of 84 now. The House was also getting its first two Muslim women, Massachusetts elected its first black congresswoman, and Tennessee got its first female senator.
Democrats celebrated a handful of victories in their "blue wall" Midwestern states, electing or re-electing governors in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and in Wisconsin, where Scott Walker was defeated by state education chief Tony Evers.
The road to a House majority ran through two dozen suburban districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016. Democrats flipped seats in suburban districts outside of Washington, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago and Denver. Democrats also reclaimed a handful of blue-collar districts carried by both former President Barack Obama and Trump.
The results were more mixed deeper into Trump country.
In Kansas, Democrat Sharice Davids beat a GOP incumbent to become the first gay Native American woman elected to the House. But in Kentucky, one of the top Democratic recruits, retired Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, lost her bid to oust to three-term Rep. Andy Barr.
Nearly 40 percent of voters cast their ballots to express opposition to the president, according to VoteCast, while one-in-four said they voted to express support for Trump.
Meanwhile, the close of the 2018 midterm season marked the unofficial opening of the next presidential contest.
Several ambitious Democrats easily won re-election, including presidential prospects Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York. A handful of others played outsized roles in their parties' midterm campaigns, though not as candidates, and were reluctant to telegraph their 2020 intentions before the 2018 fight was decided. They included New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, California Sen. Kamala Harris, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Ducey elected to second term, Republicans hold state offices
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was re-elected Nov. 6 to a second term in a Republican sweep of many statewide offices, beating Democrat underdog and education professor David Garcia in a race that focused on border security and education.
In other statewide races, Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich won his re-election bid against Democrat January Contreras, a former county and state prosecutor and the GOP's Kimberly Yee won the job as state treasurer.
Sinema pads narrow lead in Senate race
Meanwhile, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema continues to gain ground in Arizona's gradual Senate vote count.
Sinema now leads Republican Martha McSally by more than 30,000 votes. Totals included a batch from Maricopa County that Republicans hoped McSally could win. Instead, it added 2,200 to Sinema's lead.
About 200,000 votes remain uncounted.
O’Halleran win in LD-1 gives Democrats a House delegation majority
Democrats on Nov. 7 secured the majority of Arizona's nine-member U.S. House delegation for the first time in four years after incumbent Tom O'Halleran beat Republican challenger Wendy Rogers in the race to represent the state's sprawling 1st District.
Democrats had picked up a southern Arizona congressional seat Nov. 6that had been held for four years by Republicans to set the stage for them to grab five of the nine U.S. House seats for Arizona.