USA mid-term elections 2018: Americans vote in 'poll of a lifetime'

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Americans began casting votes early today to determine the balance of power in the US Congress and shape the future of US Donald Trump's presidency.

Fundraising, polls and history were not on the president's side.

Democrats are getting some high-profile campaigners to help them, including former President Barack Obama, who rallied voters in his home state of IL.

"Congressman Peter King of NY is a hardworking gem". Kirsten Gillibrand and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. If Republicans keep their majority, McCarthy could be the next speaker of the House. The GOP's grip on high-profile governorships in Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin were at risk as well.

Long lines and malfunctioning machines marred the first hours of voting in some precincts, including in Georgia, where some voters reported waiting up to three hours to vote in a hotly contested gubernatorial election.

In addition to electing their lawmakers, Americans in several states will vote on ballot measures.

"In a certain way, I am on the ballot", Trump said in a conference call Monday with his supporters. Voters are turning out to show support or opposition. But it's enough to push the potential Democratic House majority to a more comfortable 10 to 15 seats.

He bet big on a xenophobic closing message, warning of an immigrant "invasion" that promised to spread violent crime and drugs across the nation.

The first polls have officially closed for this years midterm elections.

"The president absolutely is the focal point".

'There are so many people in the House, ' Trump vented Sunday, saying he had focused his efforts on the Senate, in a move observers took as a step at managing expectations and avoiding blame. The Democrats stand little chance of winning the Senate, but with this new breed of candidate they could take control of the house.

In the House of Representatives (the Congress), elections are on for all 435 seats. Either of the latter two scenarios would be problematic for Trump, immediately putting a damper on his agenda. "Later this evening the President and First Lady have invited family and friends to join them in the residence as they watch election returns".

However, even some supporters became jittery after a Florida man and ardent Trump supporter was charged with sending homemade bombs to more than a dozen senior Democrats and other high profile opponents.

Given Trump's stunning victory in 2016, few were confident in their predictions. "I think there will be no difference here". I think we need a president and leadership that appeals to the better angels of folks.

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Trump doesn't think much of that poll.

"When it comes to his actions, I'm not a huge fan of his tweets", Panelo said.

Facebook also blocked about 115 user accounts after U.S. authorities tipped it off to suspicious behaviour that may be linked to a foreign entity, the company said hours voting began. "That's why our economy is growing like it is".

The political and practical stakes were sky-high.

So the Democrats are in the tough position of having to retain all 26 seats and add two more, if they need to wrest control and counter Trump's positions in the Senate. This is to say nothing of all the things - violence, hatred, anxiety, long-term negative economic trends - for which politicians have some responsibility but about which no one much expected them to do anything. People would make money, life would get slightly more convenient for everyone, and the results would look nice.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other GOP leaders have also been blaming Social Security and Medicare as sources of the ballooning deficit, suggesting cuts and other reforms could be coming if they hold control.

The party of a first-term president tends to lose congressional seats in off-year elections.

Democratic candidates for the House of Representative have raised $649m (£500m) from individual donors, more than doubling the $312m tally for the Republicans. Democrats expect to flip the 1st District, and the 3rd District with Rep. David Young is a toss-up.

The demographic divides were coloring the political landscape in different ways.

Trump heaped praise on Mike DeWine, the state's current attorney general and Republican candidate for governor, who is deadlocked in a neck-and-neck race with Democrat Rich Cordray, the former director of President Obama's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Democrats face a far more hard challenge in the Senate, where they are nearly exclusively on defense in rural states where Trump remains popular.

Democrats boast record diversity on the ballot.

Thirty-six of the 50 USA states elect governors this year, including about 10 considered toss-ups.

What will happen if the Democrats win the Senate and the House?

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