6th November, 2018
After a divisive campaign marked by fierce clashes over race, immigration and other cultural issues, Americans began voting on Tuesday.
The election is to determine the balance of power in the U.S. Congress and shape the future of Donald Trump’s presidency.
The first national election since Trump captured the White House in a stunning 2016 upset is generally seen as a referendum on the Republican president and his policies.
“Everything we have achieved is at stake tomorrow,” Trump told supporters on Monday night in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at one of his three rallies to stoke turnout on the last day before the election.
All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, 35 U.S. Senate seats and 36 governorships are up for grabs on Tuesday in elections focused on dozens of competitive races from coast to coast that opinion polls show could go either way.
Democrats are bidding to pick up the minimum of 23 House seats they need for a majority, which would enable them to stymie Trump’s legislative agenda.
Republicans are expected to retain their slight majority in the U.S. Senate, currently at two seats, which would let them retain the power to approve U.S. Supreme Court and other judicial nominations on straight party-line votes.
But at least 64 House races remain competitive, according to a Reuters analysis of the three top nonpartisan forecasters, and Senate control was expected to come down to a half dozen close contests in Arizona, Nevada, Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana and Florida.
Democrats also threaten to recapture governor’s offices in several battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania, a potential help for the party in those states in the 2020 presidential race.
During a whirlwind six-day blitz to wrap up the campaign, Trump repeatedly raised fears about immigrants, issuing harsh warnings about a caravan of Central American migrants moving through Mexico toward the U.S. border.