- Democrat Jon Tester defends Montana Senate seat
- Senate battle in Florida heads for recount
- Female candidates lead Democrats to House gains
- Democrats win Nevada Senate seat and governorship
- Republican Scott Walker ejected as Wisconsin governor
- Historic ‘firsts’ see new minorities elected to Congress
US voters have delivered a split verdict in midterm elections for Congress. Democrats regained a majority of seats in the House of Representatives but Republicans have retained control of the Senate, where they are on course for a net gain of at least three seats. Results continued to roll in early on Wednesday morning US eastern time as America waited to see the precise new balance of power in Washington. Here are the latest developments across the country:
Democrat Jon Tester ekes out a third Senate term in Montana
Donald Trump boasted at a press conference on Wednesday about how his campaigning paid off for multiple candidates in the midterm elections. One candidate he could not boost to victory, however, was Montana’s Republican Senate candidate, Matt Rosendale. On Wednesday afternoon, Democrat incumbent Jon Tester was declared the winner of that contest, giving him a third term in the Senate.
Republicans had poured money and energy into the state’s Senate race in hopes of expanding their majority, and Mr Trump made multiple visits to the state — which he won handily in 2016 — to support Mr Rosendale. But Mr Tester clung on to secure 49.1 per cent of the vote to Mr Rosendale’s 48 per cent, with 99 per cent of votes counted, according to NBC News.
Florida Senate race heads for a recount
A battle to de-throne Florida’s senior senator Bill Nelson looks set for a recount, a decision that was criticised by the campaign of his Republican challenger, Rick Scott, the state’s current governor. Mr Scott currently holds a lead of less than 0.5 per cent, which an triggers an automatic recount under Florida laws.
The only way a recount can be avoided is if the trailing candidate says in writing that he does not want one. Mr Nelson’s campaign on Wednesday called for the recount to proceed, according to local media, which also said that absentee ballots from counties voting in favour of Mr Nelson were still to be counted. The gap between the two men is less than 40,000 votes.
Lessons from the Midwest for 2020
Are Democrats positioned to potentially flip the rust belt states in 2020? That is one central question triggered by the midterm results.
In the 2016 election fewer than 100,000 votes for President Donald Trump in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania swung the vote in his favour. But on Tuesday Democrats performed strongly in all three states.
Their most notable scalp was two-term Republican incumbent Scott Walker, who was ejected as governor of Wisconsin. In the same state the Democrat Tammy Baldwin comfortably held on to her Senate seat.
In Michigan, the Democratic candidate Gretchen Whitmer flipped the governor’s mansion from Republicans and Senator Debbie Stabenow defended her seat successfully. In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey were comfortably re-elected.
Democrats had a disappointing night in Florida, another key swing state, but the trio of rust belt states will give them hope in the challenge for the White House in 2020.
Trump welcomes plaudits on “Big Victory”
President Donald Trump is awake and on Twitter. Here’s what he had to say: “Received so many Congratulations from so many on our Big Victory last night, including from foreign nations (friends) that were waiting me out, and hoping, on Trade Deals. Now we can all get back to work and get things done!”
Key Senate races outstanding
Republicans have a chance to extend their gains in the Senate with the results of pivotal races still outstanding in Montana and Florida, where Democratic incumbents are fighting for their political lives.
The GOP has already picked up three Senate seats in Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota, although they lost Nevada. Those results mean they have 51 senators guaranteed — the same tally they held going into the election. Democrats have secured 45 seats.
Republican candidates are ahead in Montana and Florida as votes continue to be counted. But in Montana, where Matt Rosendale leads Democratic incumbent John Tester, votes are yet to come in from some Democratic-leaning counties. In Florida Rick Scott, the current Republican governor and Senate hopeful, is ahead of incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, although the vote count is so tight it may trigger a recount.
Another race yet to be called is in Arizona, where the fight is over the seat vacated by the retiring Republican Jeff Flake. The GOP’s Martha McSally has a lead of less than one percentage point over Democrat Kyrsten Sinema. In Mississippi, a solidly conservative state, the race is heading to a runoff later this month after the Republican vote was split between two candidates.
California House races yet to be called
Votes are still being counted in closely watched House races in California, which has more seats than any other state. Orange County, a Republican stronghold south of Los Angeles, is the site of a handful of neck and neck races. Republican incumbent Dana Rohrabacher trails his Democratic challenger Harley Rouda with over 90 per cent of the vote counted. Mr Rouda is a real estate executive and former Republican who changed parties, in part due to his disapproval of President Donald Trump.
Five other California house races have yet to be called, including three involving Republican incumbents who are narrowly ahead of their Democratic challengers as votes continue to be tallied. Nationally, 12 per cent of House votes are yet to be counted, according to CNN.
Female candidates lead Democrats to House gains
In a milestone year for first-time female candidates running for office, 18 of the House seats Democrats had reclaimed by early Wednesday had been won by women, according to FT analysis.
Up and down the US east coast and throughout the Midwest on Tuesday, Democratic women helped their party pick off Republican incumbents, particularly in suburban middle-class districts.
Overall at least 100 female House candidates across both parties were on course to win their races.
Defeat for Republicans in Nevada
Adam Laxalt, a Republican fighting to be Nevada governor, has conceded defeat to the Democrat Steve Sisolak. Mr Laxalt had the backing of Mr Trump, but even some members of the Laxalt family wrote an op-ed saying he was the “wrong choice” for Nevada.
Democrats have notched up a series of wins in gubernatorial races. Control of more governor’s mansions will give them an advantage in 2020, as state leaders have a big influence over the conduct of presidential elections in their jurisdictions.
The outgoing Republican governor, the moderate Brian Sandoval, did not endorse Mr Laxalt.
Potential recount in Florida Senate race
Florida could be heading for another nail-biting recount. The state that hosted the pivotal recount in the 2000 presidential race has delivered an ultra-tight Senate race. The incumbent Democratic senator Bill Nelson is trailing Rick Scott, the state’s current Republican governor, by 49.8 per cent to 50.2 per cent with 100 per cent of the votes counted.
Florida law mandates automatic recounts when the margin of victory is equal to or less than 0.5 per cent of the total votes cast, according to Ballotpedia.
Stand-off in Georgia governor fight
Stacey Abrams, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Georgia, has refused to concede defeat. As it stands, no official winner has been announced but Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate and Georgia’s secretary of state, is ahead by about 95,000 votes with almost all precincts reporting.
Ms Abrams is waiting for officials to count absentee ballots and votes that came in late on Tuesday. “We will fight for every vote. The best is yet to come,” she said.
Critics of Mr Kemp called on him to stand down from his position as Georgia’s top election official as he ran for governor, accusing him of using his office to suppress the vote, which he denies.
Voting in Georgia was extended across several precincts after polling stations faced technical issues, causing delays and long queues as people tried to cast their vote on Tuesday.
Ms Abrams campaign team argued that the uncounted votes fell in Democratic strongholds within the state, while provisional ballots would also strengthen her position.
The battle between Mr Kemp and Ms Abrams attracted widespread attention, with Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama among those supporting Ms Abrams in recent days. President Trump weighed in to support Mr Kemp by branding Ms Abrams “not qualified” for the job.
If the gap between the candidates tightens, there is a possibility that a runoff election could be called next month.
Scott Walker ejected as Wisconsin governor
Scott Walker, a shortlived Republican presidential candidate in 2016, has lost his battle to be reelected as governor of Wisconsin. Mr Walker, a polarising figure in his state, was seeking to win a third term, but has been defeated by Democrat Tony Evers. Mr Evers accused Mr Walker of putting his own political ambitions ahead of the state’s interests.
Democrats have already had a good night in key governor races, picking up wins in states including Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico and Michigan.
Democrats pick up Nevada Senate seat
Dean Heller, the Republican senator from Nevada, has conceded defeat to Democratic challenger Jacky Rosen. The result is a rare bright spot for Democrats in the Senate, but it will not prevent Donald Trump’s party from increasing its majority in the upper chamber. Mr Heller has had a rocky relationship with Mr Trump and his race was too close to call in the run-up to election day.
Waiting in Alaska — reported extensions to voting time
The final polls in Alaska closed at midnight eastern time (5am London/2pm Tokyo). There were reports that some polling locations would be kept open for an extra hour after encountering delays and technical difficulties following a record turnout, with anecdotes of long queues and broken machines at various polling sites in Georgia, Texas and New York City.
Republican wins Indiana Senate seat
Democrat Joe Donnelly has lost his Indiana Senate seat, handing Donald Trump a big victory, and all but dooming his party’s hopes of taking the Senate. Mr Donnelly’s place will be taken by Mike Braun, an Indiana businessman who beat two Republican congressmen in the state’s primary this spring by running as an outsider businessman.
Mr Donnelly’s loss underscores the difficult position of red state Democrats, several of whom faced tough re-election races as they struggled to hold on to their seats in states that Mr Trump won.
One of the undercurrents of the Indiana race was Mr Trump’s trade war and the impact new tariffs could have on the state’s steel producers and soyabean farmers, with the tariffs cutting both ways for different industries.
The win for Mr Braun, however, underscores the continued support for the president in the state, which he won by an 18 point margin in 2016, and where he campaigned in the final days of the race.
Markets see-saw as results filter through
The dollar resumed an earlier fall and US futures recovered upward momentum following the first projections that Democrats would take control of the House.
S&P 500 futures notched a 0.6 per cent rise while the dollar index, a measure of the greenback against a basket of peers, was down 0.3 per cent. Yields on 10-year Treasuries also dropped 4 basis points to 3.1893 per cent, having touched a high of 3.249 per cent.
Equities had see-sawed, along with Treasuries and gold prices as early projections of a “blue wave” gave way to suggestions the Republicans would retain control of the House, before their prospects ebbed away again.
Florida restores voting rights
Voting rights advocates scored a major victory in Florida, after the electorate supported an amendment to immediately restore voting rights to more than 1m former convicts in the state.
Under the amendment, felons who have completed their prison sentences will have their right to vote restored, with the exception of some sexual offenders and murderers. It is an estimated that this will immediately affect 1.4m people in the state, a disproportionate number of them African-American.
Republican concedes House race in Florida
Moderate Republican Carlos Curbelo has conceded his House race in Florida — a major win for Democrats who had targeted his seat as one of the key districts to flip. Hillary Clinton carried the district by more than 15 points in 2016.
Mr Curbelo had mounted a strong campaign to save his seat — at times publicly splitting with his party’s leadership on immigration. He ultimately lost to Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, a former college administrator, by less than 1 point.
Democrat Gillum concedes Florida race for governorship
Andrew Gillum has conceded his campaign for governor in Florida after a closely fought race with Republican congressman Ron DeSantis, a close supporter of Donald Trump. With votes still being counted, Mr DeSantis appeared to carry Florida by a narrow margin, beating polls, which had projected a Gillum victory in the state.
The race for the Florida governorship was seen as a bellwether for Mr Trump’s presidency and the direction of the two parties. Mr DeSantis has been a vocal backer of Mr Trump and his policies, while Mr Gillum was supported by progressive Bernie Sanders.
Votes are still being counted in Florida’s close Senate race where Republican Rick Scott is narrowly ahead in his bid to unseat Democratic senator Bill Nelson.
New Jersey Democratic senator fends off Republican challenger
Democratic senator Robert Menendez was on track to fend off a challenge from a free-spending pharmaceutical executive, prevailing in a caustic campaign that drew national attention.
With 31 per cent of ballots counted, Mr Menendez, a two-term senator, had a 49.4 to 47.4 per cent edge, according to the Associated Press, which projected him as the winner.
New Jersey is a Democratic-leaning state where President Trump is generally unpopular. Yet Mr Menendez appeared vulnerable in recent months because of voters’ frustration at his repeated brushes with ethics violations.
Mr Hugin, former executive chairman of Celgene, a biotechnology company, spent more than $30m of his own money to try to topple the incumbent, much of it lavished on blistering advertisements.
Sherrill takes Republican bastion
New Jersey’s 11th congressional district flipped from Republican to Democrat with the election of Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot and ex-prosecutor who ran for an open seat being vacated by the retiring Republican Rodney Frelinghuysen.
The suburban district is one of the nation’s most affluent and was long a Republican bastion. The Frelinghuysen family’s political pedigree in New Jersey dates to the 18th century.
Ms Sherrill ran on a platform that focused on healthcare, gun safety and taxes. The tax bill signed by Mr Trump last year capped deductions for state and local taxes, angering homeowners whose incomes suffered. She ran against Jay Webber, a Republican state legislator.
Ms Sherrill struck a moderate tone after her victory. “What we need is to see people on both sides of the aisle working together, agreeing with the president when he’s right and standing up to him when he’s wrong, and then working on the initiatives that people across this country want to see,” she told reporters.
Romney keeps hold of Utah
Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee who lost to Barack Obama, won an expected Senate victory in the very conservative state of Utah.
Mr Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and one of the most vocal critics of Mr Trump during the 2016 presidential race, will take the seat being vacated by Orrin Hatch, one of the longest serving members of the Senate and a key lawmaker on financial, tax and trade issues.
Republican governor hangs on to Tennessee
Bill Lee of the GOP has been elected as the next governor of Tennessee, notching up a win in a solidly Republican state. His victory over Karl Dean, the former mayor of Nashville, is a reminder of the wide range of closely watched gubernatorial races being decided in the coming hours.
Kentucky disappointment for Democrats
Democrats were disappointed in Kentucky where Amy McGrath, a retired Marine fighter pilot who was recruited to run by the party, lost to Andy Barr, in a district that Mr Trump easily won in 2016.
Democrats were hoping that Ms McGrath, one of several female veterans running this year, would succeed in wrestling the district from Mr Barr, the incumbent, on the back of rising frustration with the president.
Former CIA operative hopes for upset in Virginia
Abigail Spanberger, a former CIA operative, has declared victory in Virginia’s seventh congressional district, a result which would make her the first Democrat to win there since 1968.
With 99 per cent of votes counted, Ms Spanberger declared victory despite the fact her opponent Dave Brat has not yet conceded. Ms Spanberger told reporters she did not expect Mr Brat to contest the result.
Addressing reporters in Richmond, Virginia, Ms Spanberger said: “We succeeded tonight because voters rejected the politics of hate, the politics of division and the politics of ideology.”
Mr Brat, an ally of Donald Trump, came to prominence when he ousted Eric Cantor, then Republican House majority leader, in a Virginia congressional primary in 2014.
Asked if she saw her victory as a verdict on Mr Trump, Ms Spanberger told the Financial Times: “Not exactly — but there are concerns about what is happening in the country.”
If her result is confirmed, she will become the third female Democratic candidate to win a Republican-held seat in Virginia. Her district was seen as a bellwether for how suburban voters are responding to Mr Trump’s presidency.
First gay Native American woman to serve in Congress
Democrat Sharice Davids has flipped a Republican-held congressional seat in Kansas to become the first gay Native American woman to serve in Congress.
Ms Davids pulled off a defeat of four-term incumbent Kevin Yoder in Kansas’ third congressional district, which primarily encompasses the western suburbs of Kansas City, and is considered more moderate than other, more rural districts in the state. Her win is a signal of the much-hyped boost given to Democrats by moderate Republican voters that are frustrated with Trump.
The first-time candidate is not only a former professional MMA fighter, but a former White House fellow who was raised by a single mother, and worked her way from community college to Ivy school law degree. With the governor’s race also going to Laura Kelly, and another house race leaning blue, the Democrats found a surprisingly supportive electorate in the state of Kansas.
Kansas blue-lean sees Trump-backed governor lose out
Kris Kobach has lost in his bid for the governorship of Kansas despite winning the backing of President Donald Trump. The Kansas secretary of state, who espoused tough policies on immigration and voter identification, lost to Laura Kelly, his Democratic opponent.
His defeat comes even after Mr Trump won Kansas by a margin of 20 points in 2016, and it suggests Mr Kobach’s decision to focus his attention on core conservative supporters rather than moderate Republicans backfired. Mr Kobach served on Mr Trump’s shortlived commission on voter fraud and advocated shrinking the public sector alongside further tax cuts.
Voting problems in Georgia
In Georgia, officials have taken steps to resolve a series of voting issues that arose this morning at polling stations in the state, where Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp (pictured) are locked in a tight race for governor.
By early afternoon, at least one voting precinct had announced it would stay open 25 minutes longer than planned, to account for a technical problem with its electronic polling system that caused delays at the polls this morning. NBC News reported that the technical issue with the electronic polling system was that the machines were not properly plugged in and ran out of battery.
Eric Holder, a former attorney-general for Barack Obama, criticised Mr Kemp — who oversees Georgia elections as its secretary of state — on Twitter: “4.5 hour waits in African American districts in Georgia. Good job Kemp. No one is surprised. And this guy wants a promotion to Governor? Be strong Georgia and vote for Stacey.”
The problems were not limited to Georgia. There were numerous social media accounts of long queues and broken machines at polling sites around New York City.
Additional reporting by James Politi and Kadhim Shubber in Washington, Greg Meyer and Josh Chaffin in New Jersey, Kiran Stacey in Virginia, Lindsay Fortado in Pennsylvania, and Hudson Lockett in Hong Kong