Donald Trump claims victory in midterms despite losing House control

Voters go to a polling place to cast their ballot during the midterm elections on Nov. 6 2018 in Phoenix Arizona

President Trump immediately set his sights on re-election in 2020 yesterday after claiming to have "defied history" by making gains in USA midterm elections even as his party lost control of one chamber of Congress.

The path to a Democratic majority in the House ran through congressional districts where you're likely to find a lot of people getting coffee and a sandwich at a place like Panera Bread. As of this writing, not every race has been called and it is not yet clear how large the Democrats' majority will be, but it is already clear that the Speaker's gavel, and control of the House investigative committees, will go to them.

The president found partial success despite his current job approval, set at 40% by Gallup, the lowest at this point of any first-term president in the modern era.

Democrats were at a disadvantage heading into the midterms, holding most of the seats up for election in the Senate even as they were expected to take the House. Legislative elections are not presidential elections.

In the leadup to the election, Republicans privately expressed confidence in their narrow Senate majority but feared the House could slip away. The party has pledged to check the president's power and start a slew of investigations on matters including his tax returns, Russian involvement in the 2016 election and actions by his administration. The loss of 26 seats in the House, meanwhile, is dwarfed by the 63 seats lost by President Barack Obama in 2010 and the 52 seats lost by President Bill Clinton in 1994. They included New Jersey Sen Cory Booker, California Sen Kamala Harris, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Nadler said Trump "may not like it, but he and his administration will be held accountable to our laws and to the American people". Republicans lost seats in the House after focusing on impeachment in 1998.

In the suburbs outside the nation's capital, Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock - among the most endangered GOP incumbents, branded Barbara "Trumpstock" by Democrats - lost to Jennifer Wexton, a prosecutor and state legislator.

Democrats failed to defeat a vulnerable incumbent in Kentucky, where Republican Rep. Andy Barr won over former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath.

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In Florida, six House seats are in play, and there are close and crucial battles for a Senate seat and the governorship. In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton carried 23 of these moderate Republican seats; and most of them-and some more-voted for the Democrats this week.

It could have been a much bigger night for Democrats, who suffered stinging losses in OH and in Florida, where Trump-backed Republican Ron DeSantis ended Democrat Andrew Gillum's bid to become the state's first African-American governor. According to exit polls, they were about evenly split this year, with 50 percent choosing Democrats, compared to 48 percent who chose Republicans. He and the first lady were to host an evening watch party for family and friends.

History was working against the president in both the House and the Senate.

Overall, women voted considerably more in favor of congressional Democratic candidates - with fewer than 4 in 10 voting for Republicans, according to VoteCast, a nationwide survey of more than 115,000 voters and about 20,000 nonvoters - conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. A margin of less than half a percentage point automatically triggers a recount.

Trump was described by aides as content in how he performed on the campaign trail, not prone to soul-searching, and believing his focus on illegal immigration - he warned of an "invasion" from a caravan of Central American migrants weaving through Mexico - had helped give his candidates a needed boost.

Democrats boasted record diversity on ballots.

All 435 seats in the House were up for re-election and while the Republicans maintained their control of the Senate, the Democrats will now be able to dramatically shape the remainder of Trump's first term in the White House.

Three states could elect their first African-American governors, while several others were running LGBT candidates and Muslims.

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