U.S. Democrats take back the House, lose more seats in the Senate


Source: John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS

Democrat Sharice Davids gives her victory speech after winning the state’s 3rd congressional district race on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at her watch party in Olathe, Kan.

Jonah Dylan, Managing Editor

In a closely watched midterm election, Democrats gained control of the House of Representatives, effectively ending one-party rule in Washington — although the GOP increased its advantage in the Senate.

Democrats earned sweeping victories across the map, easily picking up the 23 seats they needed to regain control. With a number of races too close to call, Democrats could win up to 35 seats and open a significant margin in the chamber, setting up a two-year period that will likely feature multiple clashes between President Donald Trump and the House.

Progressive candidates won House seats in a number of districts that voted for Trump in 2016. Abigail Spanberger defeated incumbent U.S. Rep Dave Brat in the historically conservative Virginia 7th district and Lauren Underwood earned an upset win in Illinois’ 14th district.

“Thanks to you, tomorrow will be a new day in America,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). “Remember this feeling, know the power to win.”

Still, as expected, Democrats faced long odds in the Senate.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly’s (D-Ind.) loss to Republican businessman Mike Braun created an insurmountable deficit in the chamber.

“We, as conservatives being led by President Trump, we’ve got to prove why our way of thinking, why what works in the state of Indiana, is gonna work for the rest of America,” Braun said. “And I really believe I can weigh in on that argument.”

Republicans also picked up a seat in North Dakota, as U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) — who lost momentum after her decision to oppose the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — fell to U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). And in Missouri, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) — another Democratic incumbent — lost her seat to Josh Hawley, the state’s attorney general.

“Tremendous success tonight. Thank you to all!” Trump tweeted late Tuesday.

In Florida, former governor and Republican Rick Scott narrowly defeated incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), flipping another seat. Democrats did pick up a seat in Nevada, where U.S Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) beat Republican U.S. Sen. Dean Heller. A race for a vacant seat in Arizona was too close to call, as was the election in Montana. And in Texas, U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s (D-Tex.) insurgent campaign fell just short against U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.).

Still, O’Rourke had an upbeat message in his concession speech.

“Just know this: I am forever, I am forever changed, in the most profoundly positive way,” he said. “I am forever grateful to every single one of you for making this possible. I believe in you, I believe in Texas, I believe in this country. And I love you more than words can express. And that love will persist every day going forward.”

Democrats had hoped to gain control of state governments across the country, but results in gubernatorial races were mixed. Democrats flipped Republican-held governorships in Illinois, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin, but couldn’t win a closely watched election in Florida. In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams didn’t concede to opponent Brian Kemp, who had just over 50 percent of the vote early on Wednesday.

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