U.S. midterms: Democrats take control of the House, GOP retain the Senate

Democrats have taken control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the midterm elections, while president Donald Trump’s Republicans have maintained control of the Senate.

State of the House as of 7:30am EST (12:30pm GMT) November 7

Despite speculation of a “blue wave” sweeping across the U.S. to rebuke Donald Trump, Democrats haven’t made the sweeping gains they hoped for.

However a new majority in the House for the opposition party means they will have greater control over legislation set out by President Trump’s administration.

The Democrats’ first flip from red to blue came early on in the night as Jennifer Wexton defeated incumbent Barbara Comstock in Virginia’s 10th district.

Current House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, who is poised to become the next speaker of the House, told supporters “tomorrow will be a new day in America” as it emerged Democrats were set to get a majority in the lower chamber.

Trump’s Republicans have not only managed to keep a hold of their Senate majority, but are expected to improve on it. Currently the GOP have a 51-49 hold on the Senate. They look set to build on this. It was one of their tightest races in Texas that got the president’s party over the line. Ted Cruz beat Beto O’Rourke with a much slimmer margin than many imagined. Cruz’s win gave the GOP their 51st Senate seat, thus pushing them over the line to retain control. Fellow Republican senator Lindsey Graham said he was “concerned” as the race was declared ‘too close to call’ between Cruz and socialist Democrat rival Beto O’Rourke,

State of the Senate as of 7:30am EST (12:30pm GMT) November 7

The Democrats did face disappointment in some key races of national interest. Along with O’Rourke’s defeat in Texas, Andrew Gillum conceded to Trump loyalist Ron DeSantis in the Florida governor race, and the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams is still refusing to concede to Republican Brian Kemp, saying “We’re going to make sure that every vote is counted.”

These midterms have been viewed widely as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency. Exit polling from NBC News suggested one-in-three voters said the president was a factor in their vote, for good or bad.

Despite these elections proving not to be a big win for either party, the president is still claiming a “big victory” in an early morning tweet.

Women candidates have made history and broken records as they head to Capitol Hill in unseen numbers.

Over 100 women won House seats last night, smashing the current session’s record of 84.  The youngest ever woman was elected to the House as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won New York’s 14th congressional district. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib also became the first ever muslim women elected to the House, winning Minnesota 5 and Michigan 13 respectively. In Kansas’ third district Sharice Davids, a lesbian, lawyer and former martial arts fighter beat the incumbent Republican.

The legalisation of recreational marijuana was also on the ballot in Michigan last night. 58% of voters approved of legalising the drug, making Michigan the tenth U.S. state to do so. Florida also voted to restore voting rights for approximately 1.5m ex-felons.

On a national level, exit polling suggested the biggest issue on voters’ minds was healthcare, an issue Democrats campaigned hard on. This, despite President Trump hammering the issue of immigration. The president received criticism in the final days of the campaign over a “racially divisive” ad pushing his anti-immigration rhetoric. The ad showed courtroom footage of an illegal immigrant who killed two police officers in 2014 alongside pictures of migrants making their way through Mexico. Trump has been accused of spouting baseless claims about the migrant caravan making its way to the southern U.S. border.

For the final two years of his first term in office, Donald Trump faces increased scrutiny and tougher hurdles in passing legislation with a blue House. The president may now be forced to ease back on his agenda if he hopes to lead a productive administration.

This morning Trump tweeted, saying those who embraced “certain policies” did well, and for those that did not to “say goodbye”. He also attacked the “nasty and hostile media”.

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