Viet Nam News
WASHINGTON — Republicans on Tuesday dealt a hammer blow to Democratic efforts to take back the US Senate, as the candidate endorsed by President Donald Trump, businessman Mike Braun, defeated incumbent Senator Joe Donnelly, networks projected.
Donnelly was one of five Democratic senators up for re-election in states that Trump won by a sizeable margin in 2016. Indiana is a Rust Belt state that has tended to lean conservative, and Donnelly ran -- unsuccessfully -- as a moderate Democrat.
The projected win gives Republicans 43 seats, in their quest to maintain their majority. Currently, they have a 51-49 advantage.
Democrats snatch first House seats from Republicans
Democrats seized their first two Republican-held seats of the US midterm elections Tuesday, networks projected, flipping House seats in Virginia and Florida seen as crucial to the opposition party’s effort to regain a majority in the chamber.
Jennifer Wexton, a Democratic state lawmaker, was ahead of two-term Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock by 57 per cent to 43 per cent in their suburban northern Virginia district that Hillary Clinton won in 2016, NBC reported.
In the second flip of the night, US networks called a former member of Bill Clinton’s cabinet, Democrat Donna Shalala, as winner of a House seat in Florida, where she takes the place of Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring.
Democrats must gain 21 more seats in the 435-member House of Representatives to regain control of the chamber, which is currently led by President Donald Trump’s Republicans.
In the Virginia race, Comstock had distanced herself from Trump in the run up to the election -- well aware of the frustrations that affluent suburban voters, in particular women, have had with the president. But it was not enough to hold on.
The early defeats could signal that Republicans are in for a long night, as the party is defending multiple seats in suburban districts that are deemed toss ups by the Cook Political Report.
Another election observer, the Center For Politics at the University of Virginia, is predicting Democrats will gain at least 30 seats on Tuesday.
Trump’s party appears to be faring better in the US Senate, where they hold a slim 51-49 edge, as Democrats are seeking re-election in 10 states that Trump won in 2016. Five of those races are considered toss-ups.
Scandal-hit New Jersey Democrat re-elected to Senate
New Jersey voters on Tuesday re-elected Democrat Bob Menendez to the US Senate despite his scandal-tainted past, which some party faithful had feared could hand his Republican opponent a win, US television networks said.
NBC and ABC News projected that the 64-year-old Menendez would hang onto his seat, throwing off a challenge from Republican Bob Hugin, a former pharmaceuticals boss and Donald Trump supporter.
Menendez has been senator in the traditionally safe Democrat seat since 2006, but he was federally indicted and put on trial in 2017 for allegedly accepting kickbacks from an eye doctor. The trial ended in a hung jury.
He escaped conviction, but he was formally reprimanded by the Senate’s ethics committee and forced to repay at least part of the gifts he received.
Earlier on Tuesday evening, Menendez thanked his supporters.
"From knocking doors and talking to voters to making calls and organizing events, our supporters have worked tirelessly," he wrote on his campaign’s official twitter account. "Thank you!"
Democratic Party leaders had urged supporters to sacrifice their principles and re-elect Menendez in the name of the greater good of thrashing the president at polls widely seen as a referendum on the Trump administration. — AFP