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National Govt & Politics
Tale of two elections as Dems take House, GOP expands Senate majority
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Tale of two elections as Dems take House, GOP expands Senate majority

Tale of two elections as Dems take House, GOP expands Senate majority
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Tale of two elections as Dems take House, GOP expands Senate majority

Americans rendered a split verdict on the Congress under President Donald Trump, as Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate by knocking off a series of incumbent Democratic Senators, while Democrats strung together a series of victories in all corners of the country to win back the majority in the House for the first time since big GOP victories in the 2010 elections.

"President Trump called Leader Mitch McConnell to congratulate him on the historic Senate gains," said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, as she said the President also spoke with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who could be in line to become Speaker for a second time.

For Democrats, their victories in the House were tempered by bruising defeats in the Senate, as incumbents lost in Missouri, Indiana and North Dakota.

In Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) refused to concede, trailing in his re-election race against Gov. Rick Scott (R), while Democratic Sen. Jon Tester was also behind in Montana, as the GOP was poised to add maybe as many as four seats to their Senate majority, up from the bare 51-49 advantage they have currently.

At almost 2 am, President Trump was still watching the returns, and basking in the glow of the big Senate victory, which came after he targeted a number of Democratic incumbents.

Jamie Dupree
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Jamie Dupree

One of the few Democrats who was the subject of repeated Trump rallies - but survived - was Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia - he was also the only one who voted for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

"Every Democratic Senator in a red state who voted against Judge Kavanaugh has so far lost their election," said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

Democrats were able to win back one GOP seat, as Rep. Jacky Rosen (R-NV) defeated GOP Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada.

In the House, Republicans had mocked the idea that Democrats would have a "Blue Wave" sweep over Congress - but in many ways, that did happen, as Democrats picked off seats in a variety of states, powered by a series of victories from female candidates.

Many of the Democratic victories came in districts which had voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, but elected a Republican to the U.S. House.

The return to power started in the East, as Democrats flipped three GOP seats in New York, three in New Jersey, three in Pennsylvania, and three in Virginia.

It wasn't just in the East, as Democrats also added two seats in Iowa, two in Illinois, two in south Florida, two in suburban districts in Texas, and flipped GOP seats in red states like Kansas, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

And if not for some late rallies by a number of GOP lawmakers, the outcome could have been even worse for House Republicans, who will head back to the minority next year.

"Tonight history has repeated itself," said outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan in a written statement, referring to expected losses for the party that holds the White House. "A party in power always faces tough odds in its first midterm election."

"One of the things associated with a wave is upsets," said political expert Stu Rothenberg. "One party significantly outperforms. That is happening in the House."

"In the House, where the entire country got to vote, Dems are winning with ease," said elections expert Harry Enten. "Further, there have been some surprises, which is indicative of a wave in my mind."

One of those upsets was in Oklahoma, where Democrats have been shut out of Congress for a number of years - but then, Kendra Horn unexpectedly defeated Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK).

"When we #FlipThe5th, I will be only the 3rd woman OK has ever sent to Congress," Horn wrote on Twitter back in January, as she followed through with a win.

"Upset City in Oklahoma!" said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI).

As of 7 am, there were still almost two dozen races undecided in the House, and four in the Senate, as President Trump scheduled a news conference for 11:30 am ET.

"Tonight was a great night for our campaign and for Democrats across the country," said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA).

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

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Washington Insider

  • As President Donald Trump on Wednesday once more called for Congress to change America's laws dealing with illegal immigration, threatening again to close part of the Mexican border, and vowing to send more armed soldiers to help stop illegal immigrants trying to enter the United States, there was no evidence that Republicans in the Senate - or Democrats in the House - were ready to launch any legislative drive to help deal with the tide of migrants. In a speech at an opioids conference in Atlanta on Tuesday, the President again appealed for action to change what he said were 'horrible, obsolete, weak, pathetic, immigration laws.' 'And that's why I've declared a national emergency, which is exactly what it is,' Mr. Trump added. 'Our facilities are at full capacity,' Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said earlier this week, as he echoed the President's call for lawmakers to help deal with those coming across the border illegally. 'Congress must act with additional authorities, resources & tools in order to accomplish our humanitarian & security mission,' the new DHS chief tweeted. Earlier this week, the President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said he was putting the final touches on an immigration package to be presented to his father in coming days. But there was no indication of whether that plan would be presented to Congress for action, of it would serve as only a partial guide for lawmakers on the politically sensitive subject. “We desperately need some immigration legislation,' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Fox News earlier this month.  'It is finally time for us to step up and not only solve the crisis at the border, but do some changes to immigration laws that are sensible,' the Kentucky Republican added, saying it's time to end 'years of gridlock' on immigration matters. At this point though in the halls of the Congress, there is no indication that lawmakers will be voting on any immigration plan anytime soon. For obvious reasons, Democrats aren't interested in taking the lead for the President on immigration legislation, pointing back to early 2018, when a bipartisan Senate group seemingly reached an immigration deal which was acceptable to President Trump - only to watch him quickly tack away. 'The President put forth his criteria. He had the Senate Republicans and Democrats come together, proposed something to him and then he walked away from it,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Back in February 2018, the President's preferred immigration plan garnered only 39 votes, with 13 GOP Senators refusing to support Mr. Trump's nearly $100 billion package. That plan featured money to build a border wall, an end to chain migration, stopping a visa lottery, and a number of other immigration law changes desired by the President. But it won the votes of only three Democrats, mainly because it did not do enough to help younger illegal immigrant 'Dreamers' in the country under the DACA program. The House and Senate are currently out on a two week break for Easter; immigration legislation is not on the agenda in either legislative body at this point.