Election Day 2018: Voters Head to the Polls, and America Waits for Answers – The HabariTimes Online
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Election Day 2018: Voters Head to the Polls, and America Waits for Answers

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Election Day 2018: Voters Head to the Polls, and America Waits for Answers

This is it. Today is the voters’ day, and America gets some answers.

Will Beto O’Rourke pull off the upset of the year and beat Senator Ted Cruz of Texas in the 2018 midterm elections?

Will Republicans hold onto their majorities in the House and Senate?

Will President Trump’s supporters come out in force at the polls once again? Will a “blue wave” happen?

Will Georgia elect Brian Kemp or Stacey Abrams its next governor — or will the two end up in a runoff, if a libertarian candidate keeps either from breaking 50 percent?

Will Florida make Andrew Gillum its first black governor, or choose a Trump ally who warned voters not to “monkey this up” by backing Mr. Gillum?

Polls start closing at 6 p.m. Eastern Time: here is a full list of closing times.

Until then, come back here all day for news and check-ins with voters and candidates across the country.

• In a Texas Senate race that, yes, may come down to turnout, Mr. Cruz’s campaign initially projected that just over six million people would cast ballots. But that was before nearly 4.9 million Texans voted early in the state’s 30 largest counties. Now, Mr. Cruz’s aides believe turnout will be around 7.5 million.

But other Texas political strategists think total turnout may crack eight million — an extraordinary showing in a midterm campaign and one that would indicate Mr. O’Rourke, a Democratic congressman, has found a new reservoir of voters. Keep in mind: Just under nine million Texans voted in the 2016 presidential election.

The energy around Mr. O’Rourke’s candidacy aside, his prospects matter immensely to Democratic senators: If he somehow wins and his party also picks up Senate seats in Nevada and Arizona, they would have an outside chance to claim control of the chamber. To do so, Democrats would be able to lose just one seat — most likely in North Dakota — and would have to hold a handful of states where they have incumbents who appear far more endangered in the polls than Mr. Cruz.

So it’s a stretch. But it’s not impossible, particularly if the Democratic trends that have been on display in the House in the final week also materialize in the Senate.

• Republican Party officials began Election Day guardedly hopeful about keeping control of the Senate — keeping their one-vote majority or going down to a 50-50 split with Vice President Mike Pence able to cast tiebreaking votes.

The Battle for Congress Is Close. Here’s the State of the Race.

The math currently favors the Democrats in the House and the Republicans in the Senate.

They were girding for losses in the House: Strategists in both parties see Democrats on track to win upward of 35 seats. The G.O.P. now holds a 23-seat majority. But neither party was predicting outright victory. As in the Texas Senate race, early voting and likely turnout appear high, which Democrats see in their favor — but the same was true in some states in 2016, and Mr. Trump crushed Hillary Clinton in the Electoral College.

• President Trump wrapped up his three-state campaign swing in Missouri Monday night, joined on stage by the Fox News host Sean Hannity, despite Fox statements that Mr. Hannity would not be a guest. Mr. Hannity gave Mr. Trump a hug and then mocked the journalists in the rally’s media pen as “fake news” — including his own colleagues at Fox.

Mr. Trump focused on Monday on boosting Republican candidates for Senate and governor in the Midwest; his advisers have started preparing him for the possibility of losing the House.

CHAPMANVILLE, W.Va. — Voters trickled into the local high school on a warm raining morning. Many said they came more for Mr. Trump than for any local candidate.

“This is the first time in a long time I feel like I’m making a difference,” said Chance Bradley, a hardware store worker. He said he came to vote for a measure on the West Virginia ballot that would effectively end state funding for abortion. “With Trump, everything’s changed. Now people are out talking about what’s going on. I actually hear voices talking about things that matter. I feel like an American again.”

But others came because they didn’t like Mr. Trump.

“The truth ain’t in him,” said Carl Blevins, 60, a retired coal miner who said he voted for Senator Joe Manchin, the Democratic incumbent. He said he could not understand how miners could vote for the Republican candidate, Patrick Morrisey, who he believes will cut benefits for retired miners. “I don’t know what’s wrong with these people. They’ll fight you over Trump. I can’t understand it. I think they put something in the water.”

He added: “There’s a man who lives up there, he’s all bent over and disabled. He has Morrisey signs all over his yard. He might as well go get a shotgun and blow his brains out. That’s what he’s asking for.”

A representative of the West Virginia secretary of state’s office, Lee Dean, said the polling place at the high school in Champmanville was empty in comparison to the bustle during the primary in May.

— Sabrina Tavernise

OREM, Utah — After dark on Monday night, Republican Congresswoman Mia Love strode across a campaign office in pink pants and cheetah-print heels.

Around her, an army of young volunteers speed-dialed voters.

“I can’t wait to put all of this behind us,” said Ms. Love, who as the only black Republican woman in Congress — and as the child of Haitian immigrants — has had to navigate tricky terrain in the Trump era.

It’s been a challenging few months for the congresswoman, who represents the Republican-leaning suburbs south of Salt Lake City. She faces a challenge from Ben McAdams, a popular local mayor and a Democrat who has tried to tie her to Mr. Trump. While the state is heavily Republican, it is also heavily Mormon, and the president’s crass words have turned many conservatives against him.

At the same time, Mr. Trump has begun saying he will nullify birthright citizenship — the very constitutional guarantee that makes Ms. Love an American.

“I’m a daughter of immigrants,” she said, pulling up a chair. “Saying that means I wouldn’t be a U.S. citizen. I was born in New York, both my parents were born in Haiti, they immigrated legally, they went through the process, they worked hard. These are the types of things that you sit there and you have to call him out on it and say: Look, this is not who we are.”

Ms. Love has tried to combat attacks from both sides by speaking out against the president.

Soon, she’ll learn if she did enough.

In Orem, she recognized the race could come down to just a few hundred votes, and that she might not know the result by the end of Tuesday night. “There’s a very good chance that ours will be close,” she said, “that it will not be called.”

— Julie Turkewitz

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