President Donald Trump has hailed a “big victory” in midterm elections after Democrats seized the House of Representatives but Republicans consolidated their grip on the Senate.
The Democratic majority in the House will be in a position to block President Trump’s legislative program.
However, control of the Senate ensures President Trump can still make key appointments.
The vote was seen as a referendum on Donald Trump, even though the president is not up for re-election till 2020.
The result confirms a historical trend for the party that is not in the White House to make gains in the mid-terms.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi promised that her party would serve as a counterweight to the White House.
Nancy Pelosi – who is set to become speaker, a position she held from 2007 to 2011 – told supporters: “Today is more than about Democrats and Republicans. It’s about restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration.”
Meanwhile the Florida Senate race is heading for a recount after Republican Rick Scott got 50.21% and incumbent Bill Nelson 49.79% of the vote. A margin of less than half a percentage point automatically triggers a recount.
The Democrats gained more than the 23 seats they needed for a majority in the 435-seat House of Representatives.
They could now launch investigations into President Trump’s administration and business affairs, from tax returns to potential conflicts of interest.
They could also more effectively block his legislative plans, notably his signature promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico.
In the Senate, Democrats were facing an uphill battle because they were defending 26 races, while just nine Republican seats were up for grabs.
The Republicans are on course to increase their representation from 51 to 54 in the 100-seat Senate upper chamber.
President Trump has threatened to retaliate for any Democratic investigations with his own probes in the Senate into alleged “leaks of classified information”.
He tweeted: “If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, 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!”
President Donald Trump has urged voters to back the Republican Party on the eve of the midterm elections.
He said during a blitz of three final rallies: “Everything we have achieved is at stake tomorrow.”
The November 6 vote is being seen as a referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency.
The president’s ability to govern in the final two years of his term will hinge upon the outcome.
Americans are going to the polls to vote on all 435 seats in the House, 35 of the 100 Senate seats and dozens of state governors.
With the control of Congress up for grabs, President Trump has ratcheted up rhetoric on divisive issues in a bid to energize his base.
Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama campaigned for the Democratic Party.
He tweeted: “Tomorrow’s elections might be the most important of our lifetimes. The health care of millions is on the ballot. Making sure working families get a fair shake is on the ballot. The character of our country is on the ballot.”
The midterm elections will decide which party will control the two houses of Congress.
If Republicans maintain their hold on the Senate and the House of Representatives, they could build on their agenda and that of President Trump.
If the Democrats wrest control of one or both chambers, they could stymie or even reverse President Trump’s plans.
Pollsters suggest Democrats may win the 23 seats they need to take over the House of Representatives, and possibly 15 or so extra seats.
However, the Democrats are expected to fall short of the two seats they need to win control of the Senate.
Governors are also being chosen in 36 out of 50 states.
After months of campaigning, speculation, and billions of dollars spent on adverts, leaflets and bumper stickers, voters will have their final say on November 6.
Democratic candidates for the House of Representative have raised $649 million from individual donors, more than doubling the $312 million tally for the Republicans.
Democrats are hoping to achieve a “midterm wave” – a sweeping victory that changes the shape of the political map in the US.
Many people have already voted.
The US Elections Project, a University of Florida-based information source, said that some 34.3 million people have cast early ballots but the real number is probably higher. In 2014, were just 27.5 million.
In Texas, early voting has exceeded the entire turnout in 2014.
Thunderstorms are forecast for November 6 along the eastern coast, as well as snowstorms in the Midwest, which could affect turnout.
An audio recording of Donald Trump’s closed-door meeting with Evangelical leaders at the White House was leaked to US media.
During the meeting, President Trump said the mid-term elections were not just a referendum on him but also “on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment [guaranteeing basic freedoms]”.
He said: “It’s not a question of like or dislike, it’s a question that they will overturn everything that we’ve done and they will do it quickly and violently. And violently. There is violence. When you look at Antifa – these are violent people.”
Antifa – short for anti-fascist – is a conglomeration of left wing autonomous, self-styled anti-fascist militant groups in the United States. The far-left groups fight against far-right ideology and regularly clash with far-right demonstrators.
President Trump has previously criticized left-wing groups, infamously saying that there had been violence on “many sides” after a white nationalist killed a left-wing demonstrator at a white nationalist protest in Charlottesville last year.
Urging the Evangelical leaders to use their influence to swing voters, President Trump told them they had “tremendous power”.
He said: “In this room, you have people who preach to almost 200 million people. Depending on which Sunday we’re talking about.”
“Little thing: Merry Christmas, right? You couldn’t say <<Merry Christmas>>,” he added, according to media reports.
President Trump himself is not up for re-election, but his ability to govern in the final two years of his term will hinge upon the November 6 outcome.
All 435 members of the House of Representatives, 35 seats in the 100-member Senate and 36 out of 50 state governors, along with many state and local offices, are up for election.
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