Polls closing as voters pit Trump strength against resistance of Democrats

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Victories in GOP-held suburban seats around the country gave Democrats more than the 23 seats they needed to retake the majority, giving them control of half of Congress after being locked out of power since Trump took office a year ago.

One of the few Republicans who did not campaign as a Trump acolyte - Mitt Romney - handily won his race for the open Senate seat in Utah, marking a return to the national stage for the party's 2012 presidential nominee.

The most expensive and consequential midterm elections in modern times came to a dramatic finish that underscored the nation's deep polarisation, but fell short of delivering a sweeping repudiation of Trump that Democrats had hoped would put an exclamation point on the "resistance" movement. The Democrats are defending 26 of the 35 Senate seats, which means a good day for the GOP would see them increase their majority the upper chamber.

But their algorithm has also given them an equally strong chance of retaining control of the Senate. And in Tennessee, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn defeated former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a top Democratic recruit.

But in some other toss-up races, the GOP managed to hold on. She finished about 3 percentage points behind the incumbent in a Lexington-area district Trump won by 15 percentage points in 2016. Four years later, Brat could find himself on the losing end of another upset, facing a strong challenge from Abigail Spanberger, a former Central Intelligence Agency operations officer.

Democrats are gaining ground in their fight for control of the House, picking up key seats in Florida, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.

Striking a dark tone at a rally in IN on Monday evening, Trump accused Democrats of "openly encouraging millions of illegal aliens to break our laws, violate our borders and overrun our country".

The surge of female candidates this year has drawn comparisons to the "Year of the Woman", when in 1992 voters sent 47 women to the House, and four women joined the Senate bringing women's numbers to six.

Enten warns: "Make no mistake though, the House race is still close enough that Republicans could win". Almost 4 in 10 said they were casting ballots to express opposition to him, while just 1 in 4 said their vote was an expression of support.

Sanders says the president and first lady Melania Trump are looking forward to watching election results Tuesday night with friends and family in the White House residence. "The President has energized a staggering number of Americans at packed arenas and in overflow crowds at rallies across the country", Sanders said. "They ignored the consultants who said they should cover up their tattoos and smile more, and they ignored the powerful men of the Republican Party who never took them seriously anyway".

Voters between the ages of 18 and 34 backed Democrats by 62 percent to 34 percent, up from 2014 when 54 percent backed Democrats and 36 percent supported Republicans.

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Two other sources close to the White House said that Trump is already blaming retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan for what the President's team is billing as a bad night. He was active on Twitter throughout much of the day, blasting out endorsements for Republican candidates and weighing in on the balloting.

As a result, most congressional analysts believe that the one thing that the Democrats in the House will be able to do without help from either the Senate or the President is "oversight". IN is Trump country (and the home state of Vice President Mike Pence), but Donnelly is slightly ahead in most recent polls. It was just the second midterm election in over three decades when the party holding the White House gained seats.

"The drumbeat you hear across America is people voting", House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said as polls opened.

"We're going to win, based on data", Pelosi of California said at the Democratic campaign headquarters in Washington.

Democrats are favored to take control of the House of Representatives in what has been widely viewed as voters as a referendum on the president. In both Senate and House races, Democrats have focused heavily on health care and protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Trump added that "we don't care about momentum when it comes to a disgrace like just happened to our country".

Beto O'Rourke, a charismatic Democrat seeking to dethrone Republican Ted Cruz in Texas, said the state is one of "immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees". The survey is separate from the traditional exit polls for the television networks.

Democrats Joe Manchin in West Virginia and Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin won their Senate re-election bids, both states Trump won in 2016.

"It's all fragile. Everything I told you, it can be undone and changed by Democrats if they get in", Trump told supporters during a telephone town-hall organized by his campaign before Air Force One took off for Cleveland.

He said, "All the accusations that we will be meddling in today's elections turned out to be empty statements".

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