- Democrats projected to win House of Representatives – ending Washington’s one-party dominance
- Republicans tighten grip on Senate, as defiant Trump tweets of ‘tremendous success’
- Republican Ted Cruz defeats underdog Beto O’Rourke – just
- First openly gay man elected governor, and youngest ever female elected member of Congress, among Democrat victories
The Democrats look poised to take control of the US House of Representatives for the first time in eight years in the first major election since Donald Trump became president – but Republicans are set to hold the Senate.
In one of the most eagerly-anticipated US midterm elections in recent memory, the Democrats were on course to gain the 23 seats they needed to capture the Republican-held House.
The BBC, CNN, NBC, ABC News and Fox News all projected a Democrat victory, which is seen as crucial to the party checking Trump’s agenda. But slim hopes of capturing the Senate and sealing a ‘blue wave’ looked unlikely after Republicans held firm – and even made gains.
Some of the biggest Democratic stars of the campaign season struggled to secure victories. Beto O’Rourke’s underdog US Senate campaign to oust Ted Cruz in conservative Texas failed, and despite Democrats hailing an end to one-party dominance at the top of US politics, Trump spoke of a “tremendous success”.
But with a House majority, Democrats will have the power to investigate Trump’s tax returns and possible conflicts of interest, as well as challenging his overtures to Saudi Arabia, Russia and North Korea.
They could also force the President to scale back his legislative ambitions, possibly dooming his promises to fund a border wall with Mexico, pass a second major tax-cut package or carry out his hardline policies on trade.
A simple House majority would be enough to impeach Trump if evidence surfaces that he obstructed justice, or that his 2016 campaign colluded with Russia. But Congress could not remove him from office without a conviction by a two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate.
A record number of women ran for office this election, many of them Democrats turned off by Trump’s policy agenda.
In the House, Democrats picked up seats across the map, ousting incumbent Republican Barbara Comstock in suburban Virginia and sending Donna Shalala, a former Cabinet secretary under President Bill Clinton, to the House in south Florida.
In the Senate, Republican Mike Braun captured incumbent Joe Donnelly’s seat in Indiana, and Republican Kevin Cramer beat incumbent Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, marking disappointment for the Democrats.
In other notable contests, Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won her race for a House seat in New York – becoming, at 29, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress.
Colorado voters elected Jared Polis, making him the first openly gay man elected governor in the United States.
Two Native American women – Democrat Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids – won their congressional races, making history as the first female indigenous candidates heading to the House of Representatives.
Democrats Rashida Tlaib in Michigan and Ilhan Omar in Minnesota both won their races for House seats, becoming the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress.
But Andrew Gillum lost to Republican Ron DeSantis in his quest to become the first African-American governor of the key swing state of Florida.
The volatile midterm campaign was marked by clashes over race, immigration and trade.
In the final stretch, Trump hardened his rhetoric on issues that appealed to his conservative core supporters, issuing warnings about a caravan of Latin American migrants headed to the border with Mexico and condemnations of what he called US liberal “mobs”.