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Election 2018 Live Blog: What to watch for tonight
Tens of millions of people are casting votes today that will decide not just the direction of the United States for the next two years, but whether President Donald Trump will be able to move forward with his agenda — or become mired in investigations and see it grind to a halt. Trump’s wish list for the coming year includes another big tax cut, more tariffs on foreign goods, tougher immigration controls, relaxed environmental laws and the possible firing of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Democrats need to have a net gain of 23 seats in the 435-seat House of Representatives to retake control from the Republicans for the first time in eight years. If that happens, San Francisco’s Nancy Pelosi will be the odds-on favorite to become speaker again, which would put her second in the line of succession for the presidency, behind Vice President Mike Pence. And if they prevail tonight, Democrats not only will block most of Trump’s legislative agenda in 2019 and 2020, but they also will push to make his tax returns public, force his White House aides and cabinet officials to testify under oath in investigations, and stall many of his plans — from expanding offshore oil drilling to building a wall on the Mexican border — by denying funding for those things in the federal budget.
In short, tonight is an up-or-down vote on Trump’s presidency.
Polls show Democrats are favored to win back the House. But dozens of races are very close. And as voters learned in 2016, sometimes “sure things” end in surprises.
Apart from the House, there are other marquee events this evening. They include which party will control the U.S. Senate. Which party will win governor’s races to determine who sets the voting rules for the 2020 presidential election and who draws congressional districts for the next decade. Also up in the air: The fate in California of the gas tax, rent control and billions of dollars in homeless funding, hospital money and water projects.
Polls on the East Coast begin closing at 3 p.m. Pacific time. Most states begin reporting their results by 5 p.m., and California polls close at 8 p.m.
What to watch for:
1) Will the House turn Democratic and stall Trump?
The U.S. Capitol (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)
Bottom line: Things look bad for the Republicans tonight. Democrats have raised more money. There are more open seats than normal due to 40 House Republicans retiring. Polls show Democrats ahead or tied in many races, with at least two dozen Republican incumbent House members struggling at 47 percent or lower in their re-election polls. Women, college graduates and young voters have been overwhelmingly calling for a change in the country’s direction. And Monday, multiple news outlets reported that Trump’s advisers were telling him to brace for the loss of the House.
– CA-21 (San Joaquin Valley) Incumbent Republican David Valadao leads Democrat T.J. Cox, a Fresno businessman.
– CA-25 (Northern L.A. and Ventura counties) Incumbent Republican Steve Knight narrowly leads Democrat Katie Hill, an executive director of a non-profit group assisting the homeless.
– CA-45 (Orange County) Incumbent Republican Mimi Walters trails Democrat Katie Porter, a UC-Irvine law professor, in polls.
– CA-48 (Huntington Beach) Incumbent Republican Dana Rohrabacher is polling dead even with Democrat Harley Rouda, an attorney and real estate investor.
As polls have gotten within a few percentage points, Hunter has used anti-Muslim TV ads and speeches to attack his challenger, Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, a 29-year-old former aide to President Obama who is half Latino and half-Muslim. Campa-Najjar is “working to infiltrate Congress” with the support of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hunter said in one ad, and is “a national security threat,” he said in another. Campa-Najjar has countered that he is a Christian who had a security clearance in the Obama White House, a clearance that Hunter, facing multiple felonies, would not be able to get. Democratic money is flooding into the conservative district, but Hunter still has a slight lead in the polls.
2) Sleeper story of the night? Governor’s races
Former President Barack Obama rallies with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum (left) and Democratic Senate candidate Bill Nelson in Florida on Nov. 2, 2018 (Associated Press)
3) Can Republicans hold the U.S. Senate?
4) Democratic sweep in California?
5) Big money in ballot measures
Test headline: Five things to watch for tonight
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Now the Twitter Headline Test
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