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Dems on track to con­trol House

Yuma Sun - - FRONT PAGE -

WASH­ING­TON — Democrats were on track to gain House con­trol Tues­day night but Repub­li­cans held their Se­nate ma­jor­ity as vot­ers ren­dered a mixed ver­dict in the first na­tion­wide elec­tion of Don­ald Trump’s tur­bu­lent pres­i­dency.

The Democrats picked up the 23 seats they would need to take from the GOP, but were still short of the 218 to­tal to take con­trol with more races still un­de­cided.

The re­sults al­lowed both par­ties to claim par­tial vic­tory, but high­lighted an ex­traor­di­nary re­align­ment of U.S. vot­ers by race, sex and ed­u­ca­tion. Repub­li­cans main­tained their strength in con­ser­va­tive, ru­ral states, while Democrats made in­roads across Amer­ica’s sub­urbs.

With con­trol of Congress, state­houses and the pres­i­dent’s agenda at stake, some of the na­tion’s top elec­tions were too close to call.

Yet Democrats’ dreams of the Se­nate ma­jor­ity as part of a “blue wave” were shat­tered af­ter losses in many of the top Se­nate bat­tle­grounds: In­di­ana, Mis­souri, Ten­nessee, North Dakota and Texas. They also suf­fered a sting­ing loss in Florida, where Trump-backed Repub­li­can Ron DeSan­tis ended Demo­crat An­drew Gil­lum’s bid to be­come the state’s first African-Amer­i­can gov­er­nor.

In the broader fight for con­trol in the Trump era, the po­lit­i­cal and prac­ti­cal stakes on Tues­day were sky high.

Democrats could de­rail Trump’s leg­isla­tive agenda for the next two years should they win con­trol of the House. And they would claim sub­poena power to in­ves­ti­gate Trump’s per­sonal and pro­fes­sional short­com­ings.

Some Democrats have al­ready vowed to force the re­lease of his tax re­turns. Oth­ers have pledged to pur­sue im­peach­ment, although re­moval from of­fice is un­likely so long as the GOP con­trols the Se­nate.

Democrats won nearly all of the seats they needed to claim House con­trol with other com­pet­i­tive con­tests re­main­ing. Vic­to­ries in con­tested races across Florida, New York, Vir­ginia, Penn­syl­va­nia and Min­nesota gave them cause for op­ti­mism.

Nearly 40 per­cent of vot­ers cast their bal­lots to ex­press op­po­si­tion to the pres­i­dent, ac­cord­ing to AP VoteCast, the na­tional sur­vey of the elec­torate, while one-in-four said they voted to ex­press sup­port for Trump.

Over­all, 6 in 10 vot­ers said the coun­try was headed in the wrong di­rec­tion, but roughly that same num­ber de­scribed the na­tional econ­omy as ex­cel­lent or good. Twenty-five per­cent de­scribed health care and im­mi­gra­tion as the most im­por­tant is­sues in the elec­tion.

Nearly two-thirds said Trump was a rea­son for their vote.

Trump en­cour­aged vot­ers to view the first na­tion­wide elec­tion of his pres­i­dency as a ref­er­en­dum on his lead­er­ship, point­ing proudly to the surg­ing econ­omy at re­cent ral­lies.

He bet big on a xeno­pho­bic clos­ing mes­sage, warn­ing of an im­mi­grant “in­va­sion” that promised to spread vi­o­lent crime and drugs across the na­tion. Sev­eral tele­vi­sion net­works, in­clud­ing the pres­i­dent’s fa­vorite Fox News Chan­nel, yanked a Trump cam­paign ad­ver­tise­ment off the air on the eve of the elec­tion, de­ter­min­ing that its por­trayal of a mur­der­ous im­mi­grant went too far.

The pres­i­dent’s cur­rent job ap­proval, set at 40 per­cent by Gallup, was the low­est at this point of any first-term pres­i­dent in the modern era.

“To­mor­row will be a new day in Amer­ica,” said House Mi­nor­ity Leader Nancy Pelosi, who’s in line to be­come the next House speaker should Democrats take the ma­jor­ity.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

HOUSE MI­NOR­ITY LEADER NANCY PELOSI of Calif. (cen­ter) speaks be­tween two of her grand­sons and Con­gres­sional Democrats as they cel­e­brate Demo­cratic wins in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to a crowd of Demo­cratic sup­port­ers dur­ing an elec­tion night re­turns event at the Hy­att Re­gency Ho­tel on Tues­day in Wash­ing­ton.

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