United States elections, 2018

Partisan control of Congress
Previous party
Incoming party
2018 United States elections
Midterm elections
Election dayNovember 6
Senate elections
Seats contested33 seats of Class I (+2 special elections for Class II)
Net changeR+1 to R+2 (1 undetermined election)
2018 United States Senate elections.svg
2018 Senate results

  Democratic Gain   Democratic Hold
  Republican Gain   Republican Hold
  Independent Hold   Undetermined

House elections
Seats contestedAll 435 voting seats (+5 of 6 non-voting seats)
Net changeD+37 to D+44 (7 undetermined elections)
2018 US House Election Results.png
2018 House of Representatives results
(territorial delegate races not shown)

  Democratic Gain   Democratic Hold
  Republican Gain   Republican Hold

Gubernatorial elections
Seats contested39 (36 states, 3 territories)
Net changeD+7
2018 United States gubernatorial election results.svg
2018 gubernatorial election results

  Democratic Gain   Democratic Hold
  Republican Gain   Republican Hold

The 2018 United States elections were held in the United States on Tuesday, November 6, 2018.[a] These midterm elections took place in the middle of Republican President Donald Trump's term. 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate and all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives were contested. 39 state and territorial governorships, as well as numerous other state and local elections, were also contested. In the elections, the Democratic Party won control of the House of Representatives and made gains at the state level, while the Republican Party expanded its majority in the Senate.

In the House of Representatives elections, Democrats made a net gain of at least 36 seats; 6 House races have not yet been called. Democratic victory in the House of Representatives ended the unified control of Congress and the presidency that the Republican Party had established in the 2016 elections. In the Senate elections, Republicans maintained their majority; two races have not yet been called. In both chambers, many of the defeated incumbents represented districts that had voted for the presidential candidate of the opposing party in the 2016 presidential election. As a result of the 2018 elections, the 116th United States Congress will be the first since the end of the 99th United States Congress in 1987 in which the Democrats control the House and the Republicans control the Senate. This also marks the fourth consecutive midterm election that at least one chamber of Congress switched to the party that does not control the presidency.

In the gubernatorial elections, Democrats won control of seven governorships. 87 of the 99 state legislative chambers held regularly-scheduled elections in 2018, and the Democratic Party gained control of at least 350 state legislative seats and seven state legislative chambers. As a result of these elections, Democrats gained unified control of seven state governments and broke unified Republican control of four state governments. Republicans won control of the Alaska House of Representatives, won the governorship of Alaska, and established unified control in that state. In referenda, various states voted to expand Medicaid coverage, establish independent redistricting commissions, or end the practice of permanent felony disenfranchisement.

The election was characterized by relatively high voter participation, as turnout reached the highest level seen in a mid-term election since 1914. Major issues debated during the campaign include immigration, abortion, the American Health Care Act of 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the Trump administration, gun control, energy policy and alleged Russian interference in the election. Pundits, journalists, and political leaders differed in their assessment of the 2018 elections; some saw the elections as a major victory for Democrats, but others argued that the party's gains were somewhat underwhelming for a midterm, as Republicans defeated several Democratic Senate incumbents.


Advertisements and issues

The 2018 mid-term elections featured a wider range and larger number of campaign advertisements than past mid-term elections.[1] Nearly half of all advertisements by Democrats focused on health care, in particular on defending the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and keeping in place protections for individuals with preexisting conditions.[2] Almost a third of Republicans ads focused on taxes, in particular the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[2] According to a report by CNN, "So far in House, Senate and governor races this year, more than $124 million has been spent on more than 280,000 immigration-related TV ad spots... that's more than five times the amount spent during the 2014 midterms, when about $23 million was spent on less than 44,000 spots."[3]

In October 2018, The New York Times and The Washington Post reported that the chief focus of Republican messaging was on fear-mongering over immigration and race. According to The Washington Post, Trump "has settled on a strategy of fear – laced with falsehoods and racially tinged rhetoric – to help lift his party to victory in the coming midterms, part of a broader effort to energize Republican voters."[4] The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Trump and other Republicans are insistently seeking to tie Democrats to unfettered immigration and violent crime, and in some instances this summer and fall they have attacked minority candidates in nakedly racial terms."[5] The Toronto Star reported that as the mid-term elections approached, Trump resorted to "a blizzard of fear-mongering and lies, many of them about darker-skinned foreigners."[6]

Vulnerable Republican candidates who voted in favor of the American Health Care Act of 2017 – which repealed portions of the Affordable Care Act – sought to defend their votes with what CNN described as "falsehoods and obfuscations."[7] A number of those Republican candidates claimed to support provisions of the Affordable Care Act, such as protections for preexisting conditions, even though they voted for efforts that either weakened or eliminated those provisions.[7]

President Trump and officials campaigning

In May 2018, President Trump began to emphasize his effort to overcome the traditional strength of the non-presidential party in midterm elections, with "top priority for the White House [being to hold] the Republican majority in the Senate". He was already at that time well into his own 2020 reelection campaign, having launched it on inauguration day, 2017. In May, on a trip to Texas for a Houston fundraiser targeting the midterms, he also held a fundraising dinner in Dallas for the 2020 campaign.[8] By early August, the president's midterm efforts had included rallies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Montana and elsewhere "reprising the style and rhetoric of his 2016 campaign". Democrats "need to flip 23 seats to capture the speaker's gavel", USA Today put it. The President was addressing the economy, the border wall, the "trade war", "don't believe anything" and the space force in the rallies, per the report.[9]

In late August 2018, controversy surfaced about the degree of campaigning being done on what were termed "official" visits around the country. One report said, traditionally, partisan attacks and endorsements were kept out of official events but that President Trump was not observing that norm. Beyond the norm, one commentator was quoted referring to "laws designed to prevent taxpayer resources from being used for self-serving purposes – in this case, for campaign purposes." White House-recognized individuals "familiar with the president's thinking" spoke without attribution on a conference call and in another call about the campaigning. The individuals identified 35 events by Cabinet and senior staff members "with or affecting House districts in August already ... [all] targeted districts" and described a July 26 Presidential trip, presented as "official", as having been "for" Rep. Rod Blum of Iowa and Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois. The White House (via deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters) responded to the report: "It is unfortunate but ultimately unsurprising that a liberal publication like Huffington Post would make these misleading accusations and misconstrue the intent of the response".[10]

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