Democrats Take Control Of The House, Republicans Increase Senate Majority
The Democrats have won the House of Representatives. Democrats won at least 222 seats in the House (not all races are called as of publication), while the Republicans won 199. Republicans retained control of the Senate and increased their seats at the expense of vulnerable Democratic senators.
It was a night of very close races, but Democrats led early on and succeeded in winning enough contests to reach a House majority. The number of seats they won is lower than many election forecasts predicted, but it is enough to hand the Speaker’s gavel to Nancy Pelosi.
There is a very different picture in the Senate. Republicans defeated a number of vulnerable Democrats, taking out many long-term targets and securing between 51 and 54 seats (not all results are in). This is a crucial number that will allow the GOP to continue to confirm President Donald Trump’s cabinet and judicial nominees.
Republicans picked up Senate seats in very close races. In Florida, Republican Rick Scott defeated incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson by 50.2% to 49.8%, while in Missouri, Democrat Clare McCaskill lost to challenger Josh Hawley by 45.5% to 51.5%. Other Democrats who lost Senate seats are: Indiana’s Joe Donnelly, North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp and Montana’s John Tester. All were vulnerable incumbents in Trump Country.
In Texas, Republican Senator Ted Cruz has defeated challenger Beto O’Rourke after early indications that the Democrats might win. However, Cruz defeated O’Rourke by just 50.9% to 48.3% – a sign of the changing demographics in the Lone Star State that could spell trouble for the GOP in coming years.
There was good news for Democrats in Nevada where Jacky Rosen defeated Republican incumbent Dean Heller. In West Virginia, Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin was re-elected. He was considered vulnerable as a Democrat in a red state.
There was also disappointment for Democrats in closely watched governors’ races. In Florida, Republican Ron DeSantis defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum by a margin of 0.8%, while in Georgia, Secretary of State Brian Kemp beat Stacey Abrams by 50.5% to 48.6%.
This situation was reversed in Kansas, where Republican Kris Kobach was defeated by Democrat Laura Kelly by 47.8% to 43.3%. Kobach has been accused of supporting voter suppression and it was recently revealed that he accepted donations from white nationalists.
Democrats also won an important victory in Wisconsin, where Republican Governor Scott Walker was seeking a third term. He was defeated in a close race by Tony Evers. And in Colorado, Democrat Jared Polis will become the nation’s first openly gay governor.
Despite defeats in Senate and gubernatorial races, Democrats have achieved their main goal this cycle: retaking the House of Representatives. When the 116th Congress is sworn in in January, Democrats will have subpoena power and may begin investigations into the Trump administration.