Democrats capture US House majority in rebuke to Trump

Democrats have won a House majority, gaining power to investigate President Donald Trump and help shape the nation's political agenda for the next two years.

Democrats picked up at least two dozen House seats Tuesday, capturing the 218 seats needed to break Republicans' eight-year hold on the House that began with the tea party revolt of 2010.

While Republicans retained control of the Senate, the Democratic win in the House ends the GOP monopoly on power in Washington and opens a new era of divided government.

Democratic candidates flipped seats in a host of suburban districts outside Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago and Denver, including many that were won by Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Democrats also made inroads in Trump country, winning several races dominated by white working-class voters.

In all, voters were choosing 36 governors and 6,089 state legislators in general and special elections that have attracted record amounts of spending from national Democratic and Republican groups.

Republicans are in control more often than not in state capitols across the country, but Democrats were trying to pull a little closer in Tuesday's elections.

Democrats were hoping enthusiasm among their voters also could flip the governor's seat in Iowa, as well as in traditional battleground states Nevada and Wisconsin.

The political parties are trying not only to win now, but also to put themselves in strong position for the elections two years from now that will determine which party will have the upper hand in redrawing congressional and state legislative districts.

Voters also were deciding ballot measures in four states - Colorado, Michigan, Missouri and Utah - that propose to overhaul the redistricting process and reduce the likelihood of partisan gerrymandering by either major party.

Republicans entered Tuesday's election with a sizable advantage, controlling two-thirds of the 99 state legislative chambers and 33 governors' offices. The GOP held a trifecta of power in 25 states, compared with just eight for Democrats.

Democrats will gain full control in Illinois by winning the governor's race, and in New York even a slight gain by Democrats could wrest the state Senate from Republicans and give them a governing trifecta. Republicans were largely on defense but also were angling for gains in a few traditionally Democratic states, such Connecticut.

The governor's races have extra emphasis in 28 states where the winners will serve four-year terms with the potential power to approve or reject district boundaries drawn for Congress or state legislatures.

The Democratic Governors Association had focused on nine swing states - Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin - where it believes the governorships could be pivotal in congressional redistricting. Republicans currently hold trifectas in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. The rest have split partisan control.

As of mid-October, the Democratic Governors Association and its affiliated entities had raised $122 million during the past two years - a record outdone only by the Republican Governors Association's new high mark of at least $156 million.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and Republican State Leadership Committee, which focus on state races, also set record fundraising targets. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder, has pumped additional money into state races viewed as critical in future redistricting decisions.

Although most state lawmakers responsible for redistricting will be elected in 2020, voters on Tuesday were electing more than 800 state lawmakers in about two dozen states to four-year terms where they could play a role in approving new congressional or state legislative districts.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53
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