What Happened on Midterm Election Day? Here’s What We Know.
The final results are not all tallied, but the lasting impact of the 2018 election — one of the most hotly contested midterms in modern history, notable for the exceptionally high turnout and underscored by considerable angst — is becoming clear.
Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, ending one-party rule in Washington and establishing a major barrier to President Trump’s legislative agenda. But Republicans strengthened their majority in the Senate. Governors’ races were a mixed bag, with Republicans claiming high-profile victories in Georgia and Florida while Democrats gained seats in Kansas and Michigan.
Many voters braved long lines or soggy weather to cast their ballots in races that covered everything from referendums to state and local races to congressional seats. Here are some photos from the day, and an analysis of what the results could mean for the country, Congress and Mr. Trump.
The Senate stayed red
Not only did Republicans retain their majority in the Senate, they extended it, turning three seats red and holding off several challenges that Democrats thought were winnable.
Republicans flipped a seat in Indiana, where the Republican businessman Mike Braun beat the vulnerable incumbent Democrat, Joe Donnelly. Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, lost her seat to a Republican challenger, Josh Hawley, after a hard-fought race. And in North Dakota, the Republican Kevin Cramer defeated the Democratic incumbent, Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
In Tennessee, a race to replace the Republican senator Bob Corker ended in victory for Martha Blackburn, a Republican and a Trump ally, against the Democratic former governor Phil Bredesen. Ms. Blackburn, currently a House representative, will become Tennessee’s first female senator.
One of the most riveting Senate races in the country took place in Texas, where the Republican senator Ted Cruz narrowly kept his seat, fending off a challenge from Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat who captured widespread attention — and donations — from across the United States.
Democrats retained a seat in deep-red West Virginia, where Senator Joe Manchin defeated his Republican challenger, Patrick Morrisey, the state’s attorney general. Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, beat his Republican opponent Bob Hugin, a pharmaceutical executive. The victory came despite public backlash over Mr. Menendez’s federal corruption trial (it ended in a hung jury last year) and a formal admonishment from Congress.
And Mitt Romney is going to Washington. He won his Senate race against a Democrat, Jenny Wilson, in Utah.
And the House turned blue
Some races had not yet been decided by Wednesday morning, but Democrats had flipped more than two dozen seats, giving them a substantial lead in the House.
In Virginia, a once-red state that has begun to show patches of purple in recent years, the Democratic candidate Abigail Spanberger defeated the incumbent representative, Dave Brat, the Republican who unexpectedly defeated the former House majority leader Eric Cantor for the seat four years ago.
It was a good night for several minority Democratic candidates running against Republican incumbents. Colin Allred, a Democrat in Texas, unseated Pete Sessions, the Republican who chairs the House Rules Committee. Lauren Underwood took a seat from her Republican opponent Randy Hultgren in Illinois. Antonio Delgado won in a swing district in New York, defeating the incumbent John Faso.
And in Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat who had no Republican opponent, became the first black woman ever elected to represent Massachusetts in Congress.
Still, it was not the tsunami Democrats had hoped for. In an early blow for the left, Representative Andy Barr, an incumbent Republican in Kentucky, defeated Amy McGrath, one of the Democratic Party’s most prominent challengers.
The governors’ races
In Florida, Ron DeSantis, a Republican ally of President Trump, defeated Andrew Gillum, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee who had hoped to become the state’s first black governor.
In Georgia, the Republican secretary of state, Brian Kemp, held a lead on Stacey Abrams, a Democrat who was running to become the first female black governor in American history. As of early Wednesday, Ms. Abrams had not conceded.
But Democrats picked up some major wins. Tony Evers defeated Scott Walker, the one-time Republican presidential candidate and two-term governor in Wisconsin.
In Colorado, Jared Polis, a Democrat, became the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the United States, beating his Republican opponent Walker Stapleton, the state treasurer. In Vermont, Christine Hallquist, the country’s first openly transgender nominee for a major party in a governor’s race, lost her bid to unseat the Republican incumbent, Phil Scott.
Laura Kelly, a Democratic state senator in Kansas, defeated Kris W. Kobach, the secretary of state and a Trump ally.
Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat and former leader in the Michigan State Senate, won the Governor’s Mansion in Michigan, defeating the state’s Republican attorney general, Bill Schuette. And in Illinois, a rancorous fight between two ultra-wealthy candidates ended when J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat and billionaire Hyatt Hotel heir, defeated the incumbent governor, Bruce Rauner.
What does this mean for President Trump?
In an election that was in many ways a national referendum on Mr. Trump, the results were decidedly split. Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate while Democrats won some key victories with a more diverse array of candidates, many of them women, first-time contenders or both.
Mr. Trump was quick to put a positive spin on the overall results, tweeting shortly after 11 p.m. that the night had been a “tremendous success.” But a blue House of Representatives will be a serious obstacle for the president.
More broadly, the results indicate that the stark political and cultural divisions in the United States may only be deepening. The split Congress will likely frustrate parts of Mr. Trump’s agenda, push through others and investigate many aspects of his administration.
Daniel Victor contributed reporting.
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