Democrats Look to Midwest and West for Bigger House Gains


• Here’s what to watch as results come in. | Get live results here. | Read more analysis here.

Republicans moved toward expanding their control of the Senate as Democrats took power in the House, with incomplete election results pointing toward a reafirmation of a deeply divided nation.

The G.O.P. flipped seats in three states — Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota — that President Trump had won by a large margin in 2016, and won an open seat in Tennessee. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas held off a surprisingly strong challenge from Beto O’Rourke.

While money and momentum favored the Democrats, the party seized more than a dozen of the 23 seats they need to take the House in early returns. Democrats faced mixed results in the governor’s races, picking up wins in Illinois, Kansas and Michigan, but losing the coveted battleground of Florida.

The returns provided fresh evidence of the partisan split in American political life with Democrats seizing Republican House seats in suburban districts where affluent educated voters had been vocal in their opposition to Mr. Trump.

• Joe Donnelly, one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, lost his seat in Indiana to Mike Braun.

• Phil Bredesen, a Democrat and former governor of Tennessee, lost to Representative Marsha Blackburn.

• Senator Ted Cruz defeated Beto O’Rourke, whose underdog campaign mobilized Democrats across the country. Read the story here.

• Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota lost to Representative Kevin Cramer. Read the story here.

• Two embattled Democratic incumbents held onto their seats: Senator Bob Menendez, of New Jersey, and Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Andrew Gillum conceded the race to Ron DeSantis, handing President Trump an important victory.

Mr. DeSantis, 40, fended off Mr. Gillum, one of the strongest candidates Florida Democrats had fielded in years. Republicans have now won every election for governor since 1998.

Mr. Gillum, who ran a powerful campaign to become Florida’s first black governor, conceded the race after running behind most of the night. “We could not be prouder of the way we ran this race,” he told his supporters. “We recognize that we didn’t win this tonight.” Read the story here.

As expected, Democrats have won a series of governors races, flipping seats in Illinois and Michigan.

Gretchen Whitmer, a former leader in the Michigan State Senate who ran on a slogan of “fix the damn roads,” won the governor’s mansion in Michigan. In one of the country’s most expensive contests, J.B. Pritzker, the billionaire Hyatt Hotel heir, defeated incumbent Governor Bruce Rauner in Illinois. Democrats also held on to governorships in Pennsylvania and New York.

Those are two big victories for the party, which saw its control of statehouses fall to just 16 states during the Obama administration. Results are still coming in for several key statehouses, including Florida.

Because state governments control redistricting, new Democratic governors could help block Republicans from repeating the post-2010 gerrymandering that helped draw congressional districts in their favor.

The former Massachusetts governor and two-time presidential candidate won the Utah Senate race, according to the Associated Press.

Early exit polls reported by CNN on Tuesday night showed a gloomy mood in the country after months of contentious campaigning against a recent backdrop of racial tensions and spurts of violence.

Fifty-six percent of voters said they thought the country was headed in the wrong direction, the cable network reported, with 56 percent disapproving of President Trump, 54 percent disapproving of the Republican Party and 55 percent disapproving of Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives.

That pessimism belied the positive impression most voters hold about the economy halfway through Mr. Trump’s term. Sixty-eight percent of voters said they believed the economy was in good shape, according to the exit polls, and when it came to personal finances only 14 percent of voters said they were worse off than a year ago. Eighty four percent said their finances were either better off or in the same position.

Mr. Trump has sought to frame the midterm elections as a referendum on his presidency and has campaigned on appeals to law and order and fears over illegal immigration. But exit polls reported by CNN suggested that most voters have been focused on something else: health care.

Forty one percent of voters said that health care was the most important issue facing the country, while only 23 percent cited immigration. The economy was the number one issue for 21 percent of voters, and 11 percent said they were most concerned with gun policy.

Overall, 39 percent of voters said they went to the polls to express their opposition to the president, while 26 percent said they wanted to show support for him. Thirty-three percent said Mr. Trump was not a factor in their vote.

Liam Stack

[The election in pictures: Our photographers are spread across the country, documenting the final moments.]



Source link Nytimes.com

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