2018 Midterm elections shift balance of power in Washington

Hunter Gill, Editor-in-Chief

The balance of power in Washington drastically shifted as a result of the 2018 midterm elections. In addition, a record number of diverse candidates were elected to Congress.  Among the elected candidates included the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, the largest number of LGBT candidates ever elected, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress and the largest number of women ever elected to the House of Representatives at over 100. Colorado also elected the first openly gay governor in history.

Election night proved to be a big win, as expected, for the Democrats as they took control of the House of Representatives, easily reaching the 218 needed to gain the majority. Democratic candidates also picked up at least seven governorships, including one in Wisconsin where the once widely popular Scott Walker was defeated by democratic challenger Tony Evers.

Republicans, however, maintained control of the Senate, gaining seats on election night. Two of their biggest wins came in Missouri and North Dakota, where Republicans running as allies of President Trump flipped two democratic senate seats. Prominent republican Ted Cruz also narrowly held on to his senate seat, defeating challenger Beto O’Rourke who had been endorsed by numerous celebrities, including Beyonce.

“It’s good that the Republicans managed to maintain the majority in the senate but bad that they lost the majority in the house. I think Donald Trump is dividing the Republican party and causing more Democrats to win,” said Harman Martin, senior.

Three major races still undecided– two senate races in Florida and Mississippi and the race for governor in Florida. Mississippi’s senate race between democratic challenger Mike Espy and Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith will decide who will finish former senator Thad Cochran’s term. Hyde-Smith was appointed earlier this year after Cochran’s retirement.

Controversy, however, is abundant in Florida. Recounts were triggered in both the senate and gubernatorial races as both margins were under half a percent. According to unofficial election reports submitted in Florida, Republican Ron DeSantis leads Democrat Andrew Gillum by .41 percent in the gubernatorial race and Republican Rick Scott leads Democrat Bill Nelson by .15%.

Margins of victory were larger on election night but shrunk throughout the week as provisional and absentee ballots were counted. This provoked a large outcry from both Scott and President Trump who accused the election of being fraudulent. Scott went as far to file two lawsuits against election officials in Broward and Palm Beach counties, both democratic strongholds, alleging “rampant fraud.”

On the other hand, Nelson accused Scott of wanting to prevent votes from being counted. Democrats also compared Scott to a socialist dictator.

Regardless of the outcomes of these elections, the alignment of power for the next two years has already been established with the Republicans in control of the Presidency and the Democrats in control of the House. How the Democrats choose to wield their newly obtained control, however, remains to be seen.