Democrat’s slim hopes of regaining majority control in the US Senate went with the wind on election day as Republicans held on. The GOP also trounced at least three Senate seats previously held by Democrats. It was a sharp contrast though in the House races. Democrats managed to flip nearly 30 GOP-held seats to regain control of the House for the first time in eight years.
Going into the midterms, it was expected that winning the Senate would be a tall order for Democrats. Most races they had to win were in tough Republican states. The Indiana race was the first Senate race to be called as Republican challenger Mike Braun easily unseated Joe Donnelly. The night didn’t get any better in the Senate races as Heidi Heitkamp and Claire McCaskill lost to GOP candidates in North Dakota and Missouri. These were all states where Trump carried in 2016. They are also some of the states where the President enjoys huge approval ratings.
Democrat’s hopes of flipping the Texas seat also came to a halting end as rising star Beto O’Rourke narrowly lost to the incumbent Senator and former GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz. The Texas race was one of the most watched races of the midterms, and also one of the most expensive Senate races. More surprising though for Democrats was the setback in Florida. GOP candidate and former Florida Governor Rick Scott is narrowly on the lead for the Senate race with nearly 99% of precincts reporting. There’s speculation that the race could be headed for a recount based on how close the race is. On the other hand, Ron DeSantis, a Trump-backed candidate trounced another Democratic rising star Andrew Gillum to take the governor’s mansion.
Despite Republican victories in the Senate races, it wasn’t entirely a bad night for Democrats. The Senate races are always hard. At least ten Democrats were up for reelection in the Senate, four of whom were holding seats in states where Trump won in 2016. Only one Republican was up for reelection in a Clinton state. Democrats did manage to flip the Nevada seat as the GOP incumbent Dean Heller was trounced by Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen.
Other Senate races are still too tough to call. In Arizona, GOP candidate Martha McSally had a narrow lead over Democratic challenger Kyrsten Sinema with hundreds of thousands of votes still to be counted. In Montana, Democratic incumbent pulled ahead of the GOP challenger Matt Rosendale although the race is also too tight to call but Tester looked well on course towards victory.
However, for many analysts, the night couldn’t have gone better for Democrats. Regaining control of the House may provide crucial checks and balances to the Trump administration in the coming two years. The party was also able to flip seven governor seats including a very crucial victory in Wisconsin. President Trump called Minority Leader in the House Nancy Pelosi to congratulate her on the victory. He also called on bipartisanship moving forward. However, this could turn out to be a new headache for Trump’s legislative agenda.