Republican Mike Braun wins Indiana Senate seat by defeating Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly, according to the AP breaking news service. Republicans were clinging to delicate majorities in the House and Senate Tuesday night as an anxious nation watched whether voters would reward or reject the GOP in the first nationwide election of Donald Trump’s turbulent presidency. With control of Congress and statehouses across the nation at stake, many of the nation’s top elections were too close to call. Democrats seized early victories in contested House races in Florida and in Virginia, but lost a high-profile contest in Kentucky. At the same time, Democrats re-elected embattled New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, who, less than a year ago, stood trial for federal corruption charges. The Justice Department dropped the charges after his trial ended in an hung jury.
In Virginia, political newcomer Jennifer Wexton defeated two-term GOP Rep. Barbara Comstock. The Republican incumbent had been branded Barbara “Trumpstock” by Democrats in a race that pointed to Trump’s unpopularity among college-educated women in the suburbs. In south Florida, former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala defeated Republican Maria Elvira Salazar. Democrats failed to defeat a vulnerable incumbent in Kentucky, where Republican Rep. Andy Barr won over former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath. Anxious Republicans privately expressed confidence in their narrow Senate majority but feared the House could slip away. The GOP’s grip on high-profile governorships in Florida , Georgia and Wisconsin were at risk as well. Fundraising, polls and history were not on the president’s side.
“Everything we have achieved is at stake,” Trump declared in his final day of campaigning. Long lines and malfunctioning machines marred the first hours of voting in some precincts, including in Georgia, where some voters reported waiting up to three hours to vote in a hotly contested gubernatorial election. More than 40 million Americans had already voted, either by mail or in person, breaking early voting records across 37 states, according to an AP analysis.