The United States’ Democratic Party took control of the 435-member House of Representatives in the mid-term elections held on Tuesday, even as the Senate remained with the Republican Party, reported The New York Times as counting of votes continued.
President Donald Trump proclaimed a “tremendous success” on Twitter despite the split verdict. He threatened warned the Democrats not to investigate him or other Republicans. “If the Democrats think they are going to waste taxpayer money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of classified information, and much else, at the Senate level,” AP quoted the president as saying. “Two can play that game!”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said retaining control of the Senate was a “huge moment and victory for the president”.
The Democratic Party has gained 26 seats held by the Republicans in the House of Representatives and has reached the majority mark of 220, against the Republicans’ 193. The outgoing House had 235 Republican members and 193 Democrats. All 435 seats of the lower chamber of Congress were voted on during the elections.
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women ever to be elected to Congress. They won seats in the House of Representatives from Minnesota and Michigan. Ninety-two women have been elected to the House till now and 10 women have been elected to the Senate, joining 10 other women in the upper chambers, Vox reported. The total number of women in both the Houses is now 112, which is the highest number of women to serve in Congress at once. The previous record was 107.
In the 100-member Senate, seats held by only nine Republicans and 26 Democrats were up for election. The Republicans have gained two seats and now have 51 seats, keeping their majority.
Also up for grabs were the posts of governor in 36 states. Democrat Jared Polis in Colorado became the first openly gay man to be elected governor. Janet Mills from the same party was set to become the first female governor of Maine, reported The Washington Post.
The Republican Party has won 25 posts of governor, while the Democrats have 22, reported AP. One of Trump’s most vocal defenders on immigration, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, lost his bid for governor.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old from New York, became the youngest woman elected to Congress. Democrats Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids became the first native American women to win seats in Congress. Davids is also Kansas’ first openly gay member of Congress.
Ayanna Pressley, a Democrat, is the first African-American woman from Massachusetts in the legislature, while Republican Marsha Blackburn is the first woman elected to the Senate from Tennessee, reported The Washington Post.
“Thanks to you, tomorrow will be a new day in America,” said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, adding that the victory in the House “is about restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration”. Pelosi is expected to become Speaker of the House, a position she held for four years from 2007. She is the first woman to hold that post, AFP reported.
With these results, Pelosi and Democratic leaders in the House will have the power to block Republican legislation and Trump’s agenda, including the proposed tax cuts and the construction of a wall on the US-Mexico border.
The Republican Party, to which the president belongs, will maintain control of the executive and judicial branches of the government and the Senate, but the Democrats have a foothold that gives them subpoena power to inquire into Trump’s personal and professional missteps.