The Republican Party maintained control of the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, while Democrats marched toward control of the House, a prospect that would stop almost all of President Donald Trump's agenda in its tracks.
The Democrats stand little chance of winning the Senate, but with this new breed of candidate they could take control of the house. Of the 26 percent of voters who said that a reason for their vote was to support Trump, the vast majority voted for a Republican candidate.
The first national elections since Trump captured the White House in a stunning 2016 upset will be a referendum on the polarising Republican president and his hardline policies, and a test of whether Democrats can turn the energy of the liberal anti-Trump resistance into victories at the ballot box.
In some House races, Democratic challengers had a three-to-one cash advantage over the incumbent Republicans they were trying to unseat. And in Tennessee, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn defeated former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a top Democratic recruit. Republicans also managed to hold on to two contested Senate races. Still, she was within striking distance in a Lexington-area district Trump won by 15 percentage points in 2016.
In the House, Democrats picked up seats across the map.
Within two hours of polls closing the closely watched midterm elections, Democrats quickly had a sign that the night might go their way when a key suburban district in Virginia changed hands. And in New Jersey, Democrats re-elected embattled Sen.
Trump sought to take credit for retaining the GOP's Senate majority, even as the party's foothold in the more competitive House battlefield appeared to be slipping.
If Democrats do win the House, they are expected to launch investigations into Mr Trump's administration and business affairs, from tax returns to potential conflicts of interest, while thwarting his legislative agenda.
Democrats were always facing an uphill battle in the Senate this year because they were defending 26 seats, while just nine Republican seats were up for grabs.
AP VoteCast also showed a majority of voters considered President Trump a factor in their votes.
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To stem Republican losses, Trump sprinted through mostly white regions of the country, interjecting dark and foreboding warnings about what Democratic power would mean for the nation.
In Trump-friendly West Virginia, Democrat Senator Joe Manchin managed to hang on to his seat, yet the White House is labelling that a win for the President.
He is more popular in IN, where 53% of voters approved and 47% disapprove, according to the exit poll data. About 40 million early votes were likely cast, said Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who tracks the figures. That could help Democrats because younger voters tend to lean their way.
The election on Tuesday may resolve some issues. He was active on Twitter throughout much of the day, blasting out endorsements for Republican candidates and weighing in on the balloting.
A simple House majority would be enough to impeach Trump if evidence surfaces that he obstructed justice or that his 2016 campaign colluded with Russian Federation.
Democrats have expressed confidence that they'll score the net gain of 23 seats needed to take control of the House for the first time since 2010.
The non-partisan Cook Political Report is forecasting a Democratic gain of at least 30 seats in the 435-member House. "Who we are is on the ballot", he said. "Do not let their scare tactics frighten you away from the polls". The survey is separate from the traditional exit polls for the television networks. More than two-thirds rate the economy as good, compared to 36 percent only two years ago.
Still, other sectors that could have been expected to benefit strongly from a Trump presidency have lagged.
"Trump is improving the economy - that's the most important thing for me", Rivera said.