Kyrsten Sinema, Jacky Rosen Senate wins reduce Trump midterm ‘victory’
The midterm elections didn’t deliver the shellacking Democrats suffered in 2010, but President Trump’s “big victory” is looking less impressive as the days wear on, with more House and Senate races slipping from the GOP’s grasp.
Republican losses swelled to at least 35 House seats, and the total could reach 40 when the last of the too-close-to-call races are settled. Democrats also flipped a second Senate seat from red to blue Tuesday with Kyrsten Sinema named the winner in the Arizona race.
The results solidify Democrats’ takeover of the House and keep the Republican Senate majority thin.
Democrats also took over at least seven governors’ mansions, won back majorities in eight state legislative chambers and flipped at least 329 state legislative seats.
“The more time that passes since Election Day, the better things keep looking for Democrats,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, said at the Capitol.
Mr. Schumer boasted about his party’s “Women of the West” Sens.-elect Sinema and Jacky Rosen, who snagged a Republican seat in Nevada.
In Florida, Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s defeat of Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson is threatened by an ongoing ballot recount.
As of Tuesday, Mr. Scott led by more than 12,500 votes, or 0.15 percent of the roughly 8.2 million votes cast.
Republican Ron DeSantis had a 33,000-vote advantage over Democrat Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the recount of the Florida governor’s race.
Last week, Mr. Trump declared the midterms a Republican success for blunting a blue wave and said they “defied history” with Senate gains.
“I think it was a great victory,” Mr. Trump said at a press conference the day after the elections. He said the divided government would help break gridlock by forcing House Democrats to negotiate with him.
At the time, the president pegged the Republican pickups of Senate seats at perhaps four. Now it looks like one or two.
“If the GOP has many more ‘victories’ like this, it will go the way of the Whigs,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon.
The White House did not respond to questions about the growing Democratic wins.
Still, it is the first time a president’s party gained Senate seats in the midterms since 2002 under President George W. Bush and the fourth time since 1914.
The Republican beating was less painful than President Obama’s loss of 63 Democratic House seats and seven Democratic Senate seats in his first midterm, which Mr. Obama called a “shellacking.”
But the setbacks this year sting for the president and congressional Republicans.
Chris Grant, founder of the Republican consulting firm Big Dog Strategies in Buffalo, called the election “a tough night all around” for the party.
He said Democrats’ success stems partly from candidates raising more money than Republicans through ActBlue, a fundraising platform that allowed small-dollar donors to give to a variety of Democratic candidates across the nation.
“I don’t know that it was as much of a ‘blue wave’ as it was a green wave. The Democrats won because they had a relentless focus on fundraising,” he said.
He said the Trump presidential campaign in 2016 put a similar focus on small-dollar donors, and it should benefit Republicans in 2020 as Mr. Trump seeks re-election.
“The one good thing about 2018 is that there’s a lot of lessons to be learned that can fix things in time for the presidential,” Mr. Grant said.