November 08, 2018
* Democrats secure first pickup seat in House *
The Democratic Party got its first pickup seat in the House on Tuesday night when challenger Jennifer Wexton defeated incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock in Virginia.
With about 56 percent of the votes counted in Virginia's 10th District, NBC News and CNN called the race in Wexton's favor.
Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, also secured early -- and expected -- wins.
Meanwhile, eyes are on key races in the Senate, including in Indiana, where Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat, is seeking to hang onto his seat in a race against Mike Braun.
The Indiana race was one of about eight Senate races considered to be tossups, including Democrat-held seats in Florida, Missouri, Montana and West Virginia, and Republican-held seats in Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee.
Republicans held a 51-49 majority in the Senate going into Election Day, meaning Democrats would need to hold onto incumbent seats and gain two more.
Democrats were seeking big wins in the key states of Texas and Florida to fuel a potential "blue wave" in the Senate. Democrat Rep. Beto O'Rourke looks to unseat Republican Ted Cruz in Texas and Sen. Bill Nelson seeks to fend off Republican challenger Gov. Rick Scott, where early returns gave the incumbent a lead.
In Montana, Democratic incumbent Jon Tester is in a tight race to keep his seat against Republican challenger Matt Rosendale. With President Donald Trump's help, Rosendale has closed the gap on Tester, who had led the race by 9 points in a poll last month (47-38).
Democrats face better odds in the House, which had 235 Republicans, 193 Democrats and seven vacancies going into Tuesday.
Democrats need to pick up 23 Republican seats to seize the majority.
"The House playing field is exceptionally broad this year, because of Republican retirements, an influx of Democratic cash and other factors," Nate Silver, the creator, and editor of FiveThirtyEight, said in a statement Saturday.
One of the "must-have" House races for both parties was in Florida's 26th District, where Republican incumbent Rep. Carlos Curbelo was fighting off a strong challenge from Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. Recent polling had them neck-and-neck.
One of the first key House races to see results Tuesday evening will be Kentucky's 6th District, where Republican Rep. Garland Barr was attempting to fend off challenger Amy McGrath. Much like the Indiana Senate race, a win here would give either party an early momentum to take control in the lower chamber.
The New York Times reported control could hinge on half a dozen of the 30 predicted tossup districts, five of which are in California.
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