Republicans will retain control of the Senate, ABC News projects

Votes counted after United States goes to the polls in crucial midterm elections

Quoting sources, CNN reported that the Democrats have already won 141 seats out of a total 218 seats in the House.

This seems the mostly likely scenario.

Pennsylvania looked particularly daunting for Republicans after redistricting and a rash of retirements put several seats in play.

The Democrats were inching toward taking back the House on Tuesday, picking up at least 18 Republican-held seats in districts across the country as one of the most volatile midterm elections in modern USA history drew toward a close.

"The drumbeat you hear across America is people voting", House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said as polls opened.

News is projecting that the Democratic Party will gain at least the 23 seats that it needs to take back the House of Representatives. But the margin of the majority will be important.

Ahead of the election, both parties claimed that the emotionally charged debate over Kavanaugh's confirmation would motivate their supporters to turn out.

Democrats feel they need to limit the losses in the Senate.

But most Democratic legislative candidates focused on "bread-and-butter issues", Hortman said in a recent interview.

Republicans are favored to retain control of the Senate, whose powers include confirming Trump's nominations to lifetime seats on the Supreme Court.

DFLers took charge by unseating some longtime House incumbents in what had been safe Republican districts before Trump was elected. Among those expected were Trump's adult children, White House aides, Republican officials and presidential friends.

In the last 24 years, Democrats have only controlled the House of Representatives for four years.

House Democrats may not be able to push their bills into law, but they are certain to use their new majority - and the powers that go with it - to pursue a variety of investigations into Trump Cabinet members accused of misusing taxpayer funds; to subpoena Trump's tax returns and probe his business ties; to reopen the House inquiry into his campaign's link to Russian Federation during the 2016 campaign; and quite possibly pass articles of impeachment against the president, depending upon how big the Democratic majority is.

The tax law was particularly problematic for Republicans in New Jersey, where at least three GOP-held seats flipped.

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The Senate GOP Conference's leadership ranks are not expected to change much.

But if Democrats win both chambers, expect things to get combative very quickly.

Midterm elections are typically hard for the party in power, but the GOP's hold on power was further weakened by an unusually large number of retirements as well as infighting between conservatives and centrists over their allegiance to Trump. They have a much more favorable Senate landscape in 2020 and believe they will be able to take back the Senate then. Fueling their intensity were Trump's anti-immigration stances, his efforts to dismantle health care protections enacted under Obama and the #MeToo movement's fury over sexual harassment.

Democrats failed to defeat a vulnerable incumbent in Kentucky, where Republican Rep. Andy Barr won over former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath.

"Even though I'm not on the ballot, in a certain way I am on the ballot", Mr Trump said during a tele-town hall meeting organised by his re-election campaign on Monday to encourage Republicans to get out and vote. Republicans are competing in just eight held by Democrats. But again, gridlock would reign.

They also promised to clean up government.

Control of both houses of the US Congress, now dominated by Republicans, and 36 governors' offices will be at stake when Americans vote on Tuesday.

Democrats could derail Trump's legislative agenda for the next two years should they win control of the House or the Senate.

It's unlikely they would win enough new seats to give them a filibuster-proof, 60-seat majority.

The House has 435 members with states represented on the basis of population. "They've really become radicalized".

On Tuesday night, he called to congratulate Pelosi and acknowledged her plea for bipartisanship, the leader's spokesman said.

Widely viewed as a referendum on Trump's presidency, Tuesday's results offered a split decision that revealed deep tensions in the American electorate - a rift that could easily widen during two years of divided control of Congress. Trump's aggressive campaign blitz, which paid off in some key victories, suggests he is likely to continue leaning into the fray.

The speaker of the House is Republican Paul Ryan, who is not seeking reelection from his home state of Wisconsin.

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