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Is Elected President
in Stunning Repudiation
of the Establishment
NOV. 9, 2016
The New York Times
By MATT FLEGENHEIMER
and MICHAEL BARBARO
Donald John Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States on Tuesday
in a stunning culmination of an explosive, populist and polarizing campaign that
took relentless aim at the institutions and long-held ideals of American
The surprise outcome, defying late polls that showed Hillary Clinton with a
modest but persistent edge, threatened convulsions throughout the country and
the world, where skeptics had watched with alarm as Mr. Trump’s unvarnished
overtures to disillusioned voters took hold.
The triumph for Mr. Trump, 70, a real estate developer-turned-reality television
star with no government experience, was a powerful rejection of the
establishment forces that had assembled against him, from the world of business
to government, and the consensus they had forged on everything from trade to
The results amounted to a repudiation, not only of Mrs. Clinton, but of
President Obama, whose legacy is suddenly imperiled. And it was a decisive
demonstration of power by a largely overlooked coalition of mostly blue-collar
white and working-class voters who felt that the promise of the United States
had slipped their grasp amid decades of globalization and multiculturalism.
In Mr. Trump, a thrice-married Manhattanite who lives in a marble-wrapped
three-story penthouse apartment on Fifth Avenue, they found an improbable
“The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer,” Mr.
Trump told supporters around 3 a.m. on Wednesday at a rally in New York City,
just after Mrs. Clinton called to concede.
In a departure from a blistering campaign in which he repeatedly stoked
division, Mr. Trump sought to do something he had conspicuously avoided as a
candidate: Appeal for unity.
“Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division,” he said. “It is time
for us to come together as one united people. It’s time.”
That, he added, “is so important to me.”
He offered unusually warm words for Mrs. Clinton, who he has suggested should be
in jail, saying she was owed “a major debt of gratitude for her service to our
Bolstered by Mr. Trump’s strong showing, Republicans retained control of the
Senate. Only one Republican-controlled seat, in Illinois, fell to Democrats
early in the evening. And Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, a Republican,
easily won re-election in a race that had been among the country’s most
competitive. A handful of other Republican incumbents facing difficult races
were running better than expected.
Mr. Trump’s win — stretching across the battleground states of Florida, North
Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania — seemed likely to set off financial jitters and
immediate unease among international allies, many of which were startled when
Mr. Trump in his campaign cast doubt on the necessity of America’s military
commitments abroad and its allegiance to international economic partnerships.
From the moment he entered the campaign, with a shocking set of claims that
Mexican immigrants were rapists and criminals, Mr. Trump was widely
underestimated as a candidate, first by his opponents for the Republican
nomination and later by Mrs. Clinton, his Democratic rival. His rise was largely
missed by polling organizations and data analysts. And an air of improbability
trailed his campaign, to the detriment of those who dismissed his angry message,
his improvisational style and his appeal to disillusioned voters.
He suggested remedies that raised questions of constitutionality, like a ban on
Muslims entering the United States.
He threatened opponents, promising lawsuits against news organizations that
covered him critically and women who accused him of sexual assault. At times, he
But Mr. Trump’s unfiltered rallies and unshakable self-regard attracted a
zealous following, fusing unsubtle identity politics with an economic populism
that often defied party doctrine.
His rallies — furious, entertaining, heavy on name-calling and nationalist
overtones — became the nexus of a political movement, with daily promises of
sweeping victory, in the election and otherwise, and an insistence that the
country’s political machinery was “rigged” against Mr. Trump and those who
He seemed to embody the success and grandeur that so many of his followers felt
was missing from their own lives — and from the country itself. And he scoffed
at the poll-driven word-parsing ways of modern politics, calling them a waste of
time and money. Instead, he relied on his gut.
At his victory party at the New York Hilton Midtown, where a raucous crowd
indulged in a cash bar and wore hats bearing his ubiquitous campaign slogan
“Make America Great Again,” voters expressed gratification that their voices
had, at last, been heard.
“He was talking to people who weren’t being spoken to,” said Joseph Gravagna,
37, a marketing company owner from Rockland County, N.Y. “That’s how I knew he
was going to win.”
For Mrs. Clinton, the defeat signaled an astonishing end to a political dynasty
that has colored Democratic politics for a generation. Eight years after losing
to President Obama in the Democratic primary — and 16 years after leaving the
White House for the United States Senate, as President Bill Clinton exited
office — she had seemed positioned to carry on two legacies: her husband’s and
Her shocking loss was a devastating turn for the sprawling world of Clinton
aides and strategists who believed they had built an electoral machine that
would swamp Mr. Trump’s ragtag band of loyal operatives and family members, many
of whom had no experience running a national campaign.
On Tuesday night, stricken Clinton aides who believed that Mr. Trump had no
mathematical path to victory, anxiously paced the Jacob K. Javits Convention
Center as states in which they were confident of victory, like Florida and North
Carolina, either fell to Mr. Trump or seemed in danger of tipping his way.
Mrs. Clinton watched the grim results roll in from a suite at the nearby
Peninsula Hotel, surrounded by her family, friends and advisers who had the day
before celebrated her candidacy with a champagne toast on her campaign plane.
But over and over, Mrs. Clinton’s weaknesses as a candidate were exposed. She
failed to excite voters hungry for change. She struggled to build trust with
Americans who were baffled by her decision to use a private email server as
secretary of state. And she strained to make a persuasive case for herself as a
champion of the economically downtrodden after delivering perfunctory paid
speeches that earned her millions of dollars.
The returns Tuesday also amounted to a historic rebuke of the Democratic Party
from the white blue-collar voters who had formed the party base from the
presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt to Mr. Clinton’s. Yet Mrs. Clinton and her
advisers had taken for granted that states like Michigan and Wisconsin would
stick with a Democratic nominee, and that she could repeat Mr. Obama’s strategy
of mobilizing the party’s ascendant liberal coalition rather than pursuing a
more moderate course like her husband did 24 years ago.
But not until these voters were offered a Republican who ran as an unapologetic
populist, railing against foreign trade deals and illegal immigration, did they
move so drastically away from their ancestral political home.
To the surprise of many on the left, white voters who had helped elect the
nation’s first black president, appeared more reluctant to line up behind a
From Pennsylvania to Wisconsin, industrial towns once full of union voters who
for decades offered their votes to Democratic presidential candidates, even in
the party’s lean years, shifted to Mr. Trump’s Republican Party. One county in
the Mahoning Valley of Ohio, Trumbull, went to Mr. Trump by a six-point margin.
Four years ago, Mr. Obama won there by 22 points.
Mrs. Clinton’s loss was especially crushing to millions who had
cheered her march toward history as, they hoped, the nation’s first female
president. For supporters, the election often felt like a referendum on gender
progress: an opportunity to elevate a woman to the nation’s top job and to
repudiate a man whose remarkably boorish behavior toward women had assumed
center stage during much of the campaign.
Mr. Trump boasted, in a 2005 video released last month, about using his public
profile to commit sexual assault. He suggested that female political rivals
lacked a presidential “look.” He ranked women on a scale of one to 10, even
holding forth on the desirability of his own daughter — the kind of throwback
male behavior that many in the country assumed would disqualify a candidate for
On Tuesday, the public’s verdict was rendered.
Uncertainty abounds as Mr. Trump prepares to take office. His campaign featured
a shape-shifting list of policy proposals, often seeming to change hour to hour.
His staff was in constant turmoil, with Mr. Trump’s children serving critical
campaign roles and a rotating cast of advisers alternately seeking access to Mr.
Trump’s ear, losing it and, often, regaining it, depending on the day.
Even Mr. Trump’s full embrace of the Republican Party came exceedingly late in
life, leaving members of both parties unsure about what he truly believes. He
has donated heavily to both parties and has long described his politics as the
transactional reality of a businessman.
Mr. Trump’s dozens of business entanglements — many of them in foreign countries
— will follow him into the Oval Office, raising questions about potential
conflicts of interest. His refusal to release his tax returns, and his
acknowledgment that he did not pay federal income taxes for years, has left the
American people with considerable gaps in their understanding of the financial
But this they do know: Mr. Trump will thoroughly reimagine the tone, standards
and expectations of the presidency, molding it in his own self-aggrandizing
He is set to take the oath of office on Jan. 20.
Correction: November 10, 2016
An article on Wednesday about the election of Donald Trump as
president of the United States carried an erroneous byline in some editions. The
article was by Matt Flegenheimer and Michael Barbaro — not by Patrick Healy and
Amy Chozick, Ashley Parker, Patrick Healy and Jonathan Martin contributed
Find out what you need to know about the 2016 presidential race today, and get
politics news updates via Facebook, Twitter and the Morning Briefing newsletter.
A version of this article appears in print on November 9, 2016, on page A1 of
the New York edition with the headline: Trump Triumphs.
Donald Trump Is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the
NOV. 9, 2016,
2 Close House Races Decided;
4 Still Up in Air
November 8, 2008
Filed at 2:41 a.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The Democrats have gained another foot soldier in
Congress: Democrat Frank Kratovil has won an open seat in the U.S. House from
Maryland's 1st District.
He claimed a seat held for 18 years by the GOP, beating Republican Andy Harris
by about 2,000 votes.
Meanwhile in Washington state's 8th Congressional District, Republican U.S. Rep.
Dave Reichert (RY-kert) has beaten back a challenge from Democrat Darcy Burner
for a second time. With 80 percent of the vote counted Reichert leads by 8,000
votes, 51 percent to 49. Burner conceded Friday night.
The victories give Democrats some 256 House seats, to 175 for the GOP. Democrats
have picked up 20 seats. Four House races -- in Alaska, California, Virginia and
Ohio -- are still too close to call.
2 Close House Races
Decided; 4 Still Up in Air,
Sweeps to Victory
as First Black President
Filed at 2:23 a.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
(AP) -- Barack Obama swept to victory as the nation's first black president
Tuesday night in an electoral college landslide that overcame racial barriers as
old as America itself. ''Change has come,'' he told a jubilant hometown Chicago
crowd estimated at nearly a quarter-million people.
The son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas, the
Democratic senator from Illinois sealed his historic triumph by defeating
Republican Sen. John McCain in a string of wins in hard-fought battleground
states -- Ohio, Florida, Iowa and more. He captured Virginia and Indiana, too,
the first candidate of his party in 44 years to win either.
Obama's election capped a meteoric rise -- from mere state senator to
president-elect in four years.
Spontaneous celebrations erupted from Atlanta to New York and Philadelphia as
word of Obama's victory spread. A big crowd filled Pennsylvania Avenue in front
of the White House.
In his first speech as victor, to an enormous throng at Grant Park in Chicago,
Obama catalogued the challenges ahead. ''The greatest of a lifetime,'' he said,
''two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.''
He added, ''There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make
as president, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will
always be honest with you about the challenges we face.''
McCain called his former rival to concede defeat -- and the end of his own
10-year quest for the White House. ''The American people have spoken, and spoken
clearly,'' McCain told disappointed supporters in Arizona.
President Bush added his congratulations from the White House, where his tenure
runs out on Jan. 20. ''May God bless whoever wins tonight,'' he had told dinner
Obama, in his speech, invoked the words of Lincoln, recalled Martin Luther King
Jr., and seemed to echo John F. Kennedy.
''So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of service and responsibility
where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder,'' he said.
He and his running mate, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, will take their oaths of
office as president and vice president on Jan. 20, 2009. McCain remains in the
Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, returns to Alaska as governor after a
tumultuous debut on the national stage.
He will move into the Oval Office as leader of a country that is almost
certainly in recession, and fighting two long wars, one in Iraq, the other in
The popular vote was close -- 51.7 percent to 47 percent with 84 percent of all
U.S. precincts tallied -- but not the count in the Electoral College, where it
There, Obama's audacious decision to contest McCain in states that hadn't gone
Democratic in years paid rich dividends.
Shortly after 2 a.m. the East, The Associated Press count showed Obama with 349
electoral votes, well over the 270 needed for victory. McCain had 144 after
winning states that comprised the normal Republican base, including Texas and
most of the South.
Interviews with voters suggested that almost six in 10 women were backing Obama
nationwide, while men leaned his way by a narrow margin. Just over half of
whites supported McCain, giving him a slim advantage in a group that Bush
carried overwhelmingly in 2004.
The results of the AP survey were based on a preliminary partial sample of
nearly 10,000 voters in Election Day polls and in telephone interviews over the
past week for early voters. Obama has said his first order of presidential
business will be to tackle the economy. He has also pledged to withdraw most
U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months.
In Washington, the Democratic leaders of Congress celebrated.
''It is not a mandate for a party or ideology but a mandate for change,'' said
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Said Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California: ''Tonight the American people have
called for a new direction. They have called for change in America.''
Democrats also acclaimed Senate successes by former Gov. Mark Warner in
Virginia, Rep. Tom Udall in New Mexico and Rep. Mark Udall in Colorado. All won
seats left open by Republican retirements.
In New Hampshire, former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen defeated Republican Sen. John
Sununu in a rematch of their 2002 race, and Sen. Elizabeth Dole fell to Democrat
Kay Hagan in North Carolina.
Biden won a new term in Delaware, a seat he will resign before he is sworn in as
The Senate's Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, survived a scare in Kentucky,
and in Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss hoped to avoid a December runoff.
The Democrats piled up gains in the House, as well.
They defeated seven Republican incumbents, including 22-year veteran Chris Shays
in Connecticut, and picked up nine more seats where GOP lawmakers had retired.
At least three Democrats lost their seats, including Florida Rep. Tim Mahoney,
turned out of office after admitting to two extramarital affairs while serving
his first term in Florida. In Louisiana, Democratic Rep. Don Cazayoux lost the
seat he had won in a special election six months ago.
The resurgent Democrats also elected a governor in one of the nation's
traditional bellwether states when Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon won his
An estimated 187 million voters were registered, and in an indication of
interest in the battle for the White House, 40 million or so had already voted
as Election Day dawned.
Obama sought election as one of the youngest presidents, and one of the least
experienced in national political affairs.
That wasn't what set the Illinois senator apart, though -- neither from his
rivals nor from the other men who had served as president since the nation's
founding more than two centuries ago. A black man, he confronted a previously
unbreakable barrier as he campaigned on twin themes of change and hope in
McCain, a prisoner of war during Vietnam, a generation older than his rival at
72, was making his second try for the White House, following his defeat in the
battle for the GOP nomination in 2000.
A conservative, he stressed his maverick's streak. And although a Republican, he
did what he could to separate himself from an unpopular president.
For the most part, the two presidential candidates and their running mates,
Biden and Republican Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, spent weeks campaigning in
states that went for Bush four years ago.
McCain and Obama each won contested nominations -- the Democrat outdistancing
former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton -- and promptly set out to claim the
mantle of change.
Obama won California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia,
Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts,
Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York,
Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and
McCain had Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South
Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
He also won at least four of Nebraska's five electoral votes, with the other one
Obama Sweeps to Victory as First Black President, NYT,
for Bigger House Majority
November 4, 2008
Filed at 1:01 p.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Democratic lawmaker in charge of increasing the
party's majority in the House says he's confident of solid gains, even though
there has been a tightening in several races.
Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen says he's cautious because so many House races
are being fought in GOP-leaning districts, so he's not predicting the 20-plus
seat gains that others see. Van Hollen says that a 10 to 15 seat gain would be a
He says to expect a big night for Democrats if they pick up a GOP seat in
Indiana, where polls close at 7 p.m.
But if endangered Democratic incumbents lose battles in Pennsylvania and New
Hampshire, Democratic gains would be more limited.
All 435 House seats are up for grabs tonight. Democrats currently hold a 36-seat
Democrats Head for
Bigger House Majority, NYT, 4.11.2008,
to Save Seats in Congress
The New York Times
By CARL HULSE
— Outspent and under siege in a hostile political climate, Congressional
Republicans scrambled this weekend to save embattled incumbents in an effort to
hold down expected Democratic gains in the House and Senate on Tuesday.
With the election imminent, Senate Republicans threw their remaining resources
into protecting endangered lawmakers in Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, New
Hampshire, North Carolina and Oregon, while House Republicans were forced to put
money into what should be secure Republican territory in Idaho, Indiana,
Kentucky, Virginia and Wyoming.
Sensing an extraordinary opportunity to expand their numbers in both the House
and Senate, Democrats were spending freely on television advertising across the
campaign map. Senate Democrats were active in nine states where Republicans are
running for re-election; House Democrats, meanwhile, bought advertising in 63
districts, twice the number of districts where Republicans bought advertisements
and helped candidates.
“We are deep in the red areas,” Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland,
chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said on Sunday. “We
are competing now in districts George Bush carried by large margins in 2004.”
What seems especially striking about this year’s Congressional races is that
Democrats appear to have solidified their gains from the 2006 midterm elections
and are pushing beyond their traditional urban turf into what once were safe
Republican strongholds, creating a struggle for the suburbs.
Trying to capitalize on economic uncertainty, House Democrats are taking aim at
vacant seats and incumbents in suburban and even more outlying areas — the
traditional foundation of Republican power in the House. With many of the most
contested House races occurring in Republican-held districts that extend beyond
cities in states like Florida, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio, Democrats said
expected victories would give them suburban dominance.
The same is true for Senate Democratic candidates, who are seeking to nail down
swing counties outside urban centers and move the party toward a 60-vote
majority. That majority could overcome a filibuster, if party leaders could hold
the votes together.
Among open House seats Democrats say they have a good chance of capturing
include those being vacated by Representatives Ralph Regula and Deborah Pryce in
Ohio, Jim Ramstad in Minnesota, Jerry Weller in Illinois and Rick Renzi in
On the list of incumbents Democrats believe they can defeat are Representatives
John R. Kuhl Jr. in New York, Joe Knollenberg in Michigan, Tom Feeney and Ric
Keller in Florida, Don Young in Alaska, Robin Hayes in North Carolina and Bill
Sali in Idaho.
Democrats say they have been able to peel away suburbanites by emphasizing
Republican culpability for the economic decline, a point they say House
Republicans helped make themselves by initially balking at the $700 billion
bailout and sending the markets into a tailspin that depleted retirement and
college savings accounts.
“Suburban voters are angry that their quality of life and standard of living is
under attack,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the
House Democratic Caucus and a leading advocate of Democrats trying to broaden
their appeal in the suburbs.
The partisan spending gap was stark. As of last week, Senate Democrats had spent
more than $67 million against Republican candidates, compared with $33.7 million
in advertising by Republicans. In the House, the Democratic Congressional
Campaign Committee had spent $73 million, compared with just over $20 million
for the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to campaign
Most of the House Republican money was spent on behalf of incumbents or in
districts where a Republican is retiring, emphasizing how much the party was
playing defense. By contrast, House Democrats spent most of their money in the
last month going after Republican seats in Colorado, Nebraska, Washington, West
Virginia and elsewhere. On Sunday, Democrats prepared one last radio
advertisement to begin running Monday in an effort to claim the seat of Thomas
M. Reynolds, a Republican retiring from his upstate New York district near
“That kind of says it all,” said Representative Thomas M. Davis III, a retiring
Virginia Republican whose own suburban seat is likely to go Democratic on
Tuesday. Mr. Davis said Republicans simply faced too many disadvantages heading
into Election Day, including a higher number of retirements in the House and
Senate, an unpopular president and an economic collapse.
“You like to see a fair fight,” said Mr. Davis, a former chairman of the
Republican Congressional campaign committee, “but basically we are playing
basketball in our street shoes and long pants, and the Democrats have on their
uniforms and Chuck Taylors.”
Neither of the national Senate campaign arms was advertising in Colorado, New
Mexico or Virginia, indicating that Republicans were virtually ceding those
states, where members of their party are retiring, to the Democrats. Senate
Democrats were also optimistic about the prospects of unseating Senator John E.
Sununu in New Hampshire and Senator Ted Stevens in Alaska, where Mr. Stevens
campaigned despite being newly convicted on felony ethics charges.
Democrats said they saw themselves with the advantage in Minnesota, North
Carolina and Oregon, giving them a reasonable chance at claiming eight seats and
enlarging their Senate majority to 59 if they hold their current seats.
If Democrats swept those races, it could leave the potential 60th vote to break
filibusters resting on the outcome in Georgia, Mississippi or Kentucky, where
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, is in a competitive race with
Bruce Lunsford, a businessman. Polls show Democrats trailing but within striking
distance in all three races, with the final results potentially hinging on the
presidential race and turnout among Democratically inclined black voters.
In Mississippi, which has not sent a freshman Democrat to the Senate since John
C. Stennis was elected in 1947, Senator Roger Wicker, a Republican appointed
last year to fill the seat left vacant by Trent Lott’s resignation, is in a
tight race with former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat.
“We feel we have a lot of momentum,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New
York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, “but we are ever
mindful that getting to 60 is an extremely difficult thing to do because we are
in so many red states.”
Republicans privately acknowledged that there was little hope for some of their
candidates, including Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina. But Republicans
have not given up on the idea of unseating Senator Mary L. Landrieu in
Louisiana, a state where Senator John McCain was running well against Senator
Barack Obama in the presidential race. A victory over Ms. Landrieu by John
Kennedy, the state treasurer, would be a significant moral victory for
Republicans, and they pointed to internal polls that show a close race.
In Louisiana, North Carolina and Oregon, Republicans were trying to energize
voters with the threat of Democratic dominance in Washington, running
advertisements that warn voters about “complete liberal control of government.”
“We agree with Chuck Schumer that this is a tectonic election,” said Rebecca
Fisher, spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. “And if
Democrats get their way, this country will shift so far left it will take
generations to get back on track.”
Both parties were focusing substantial final energies on the Senate race in
Minnesota, where Senator Norm Coleman, the Republican, was in a heated clash
with his Democratic challenger, Al Franken, a former comedian and radio talk
The race remained close as Mr. Coleman was named in a last-minute lawsuit in
Texas alleging that a businessman had funneled $75,000 to him through his wife’s
business. Mr. Coleman, who has filed an unfair campaign practices complaint
accusing Mr. Franken of broadcasting falsehoods in his advertisements, denied
any impropriety, but the lawsuit led to a flurry of news accounts only days
before the election.
In Kentucky, Mr. McConnell enlisted hundreds of volunteers to knock on doors and
to make phone calls in the remaining hours. He was to embark on a fly-around of
the state’s cities Monday in his effort to repel the serious challenge from Mr.
Lunsford, who brought in one of Kentucky’s favorite daughters, the actress
Ashley Judd, to campaign on his behalf in the closing days.
Strategists for both parties said it seemed increasingly possible that the full
Senate picture might not even be settled Tuesday, given that a third-party
candidate could cause both Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, and
his Democratic opponent, Jim Martin, to fall short of 50 percent of the vote,
forcing a runoff on Dec. 2.
Party operatives also warned that Tuesday was likely to produce some surprises,
considering the strong resentment toward Congress that has been reflected in
polls for months. They predicted upsets of some House incumbents not thought to
be in trouble.
Republicans said they believed some top Democratic targets, like Representative
Dave Reichert of Washington and Christopher Shays of Connecticut, would be able
to hang on because they, and others, had run strong campaigns built on their
individual images and records.
“Republican candidates who have established their own personal brand, and have
framed their respective races around creating a clear choice, will succeed on
Election Day despite the turbulent political environment,” said Ken Spain, a
spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
One problem for House Republicans was that freshmen lawmakers who gave Democrats
control of the House after the 2006 elections were faring much better than party
leaders had expected. Some, like Representative Kirsten Gillibrand, who
represents the Hudson Valley in New York, became prime Republican targets
virtually from the moment they were elected but are now favored to win second
terms after raising formidable sums of money and cultivating moderate voting
records that insulated them from attack.
Representative John Yarmuth of Kentucky, the president of the Democrats’ 2006
freshman class, said only two of its members were in serious trouble:
Representative Nick Lampson of Texas, who represents a heavily Republican
district south of Houston, and Representative Tim Mahoney of Florida, who has
been entangled in a scandal over extramarital affairs.
Mr. Yarmuth credited House Democratic leaders with pursuing an agenda that gave
the freshmen substantial achievements to promote back home, especially a
generous new education benefit for veterans that counterbalanced the Democrats’
opposition to the war in Iraq
“I think that was a trademark of this last Congress that created a moderate
image that we were pro-military, pro-troops,” Mr. Yarmuth said.
David M. Herszenhorn contributed reporting.
Republicans Scrambling to Save Seats in Congress, NYT,
Toward Big Gains
in House, Senate
Filed at 4:21 a.m. ET
The New York Times
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
(AP) -- Democrats are on track for sizable gains in both houses of Congress on
Nov. 4, according to strategists in both parties, although only improbable
Southern victories can produce the 60-vote Senate majority they covet to help
them pass priority legislation.
A poor economy, President Bush's unpopularity, a lopsided advantage in
fundraising and Barack Obama's robust organizational effort in key states are
all aiding Democrats in the final days of the congressional campaign.
''I don't think anybody realized it was going to be this tough'' for
Republicans, Sen. John Ensign, chairman of the party's senatorial campaign
committee said recently. ''We're dealing with an unpopular president (and) we
have a financial crisis,'' he added.
''You've got Republican incumbent members of the Congress'' trying to run away
from Bush's economic policies, said Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs
the House Democratic campaign committee. ''And they can't run fast enough. I
think it will catch up with many of them.''
Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California predicted recently that Democrats would win
at least 14 House seats in Republican hands.
But numerous strategists in both parties agreed a gain of at least 20 seems
likely and a dozen or more GOP-held seats are in doubt. Only a handful of
Democratic House seats appear in any sort of jeopardy. They spoke only on
condition of anonymity, saying they were relying on confidential polling data.
In the Senate, as in the House, only the magnitude of the Democratic gains is in
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, head of the Democratic committee, said his party
would have to win seats in ''deeply red states'' to amass a 60-seat majority,
but added, ''We're close.''
Obama's methodical voter registration efforts in the primary season and his
current get-out-the-vote efforts are aiding Democratic candidates in several
Southern races. They start with North Carolina, where GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole
trails in the polls, and include Georgia and Mississippi, where Sens. Saxby
Chambliss and Roger Wicker respectively are in unexpectedly close races.
''Overall, I think Obama will help us in the South because, first, his economic
message resonates with Southerners, both white and black, and obviously there
will be an increased African-American turnout,'' Schumer said.
Also in a close race is the Republican leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky,
although that is not a state where Obama has made much of an effort.
Compounding Republican woes, the same economy that has soured voters on their
candidates is causing some of the nation's wealthiest conservative donors to
stay on the campaign sidelines.
Freedom's Watch, a conservative group that once looked poised to spend tens of
millions of dollars to help elect Republicans, had spent roughly $3 million as
of midweek. Its largest single contributor is Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire
with gambling interests in the United States and China.
Democrats hold a 51-49 majority in the current Senate, counting two independents
who vote with them. In the House, Democrats have 235 seats to 199 for
Republicans, with one vacancy.
It has long been apparent that Democrats would retain control of both houses of
Congress, and in recent weeks, the party's leaders have mounted a concerted
drive to push their Senate majority to 60. That's the number needed to overcome
a filibuster, the technique of killing legislation by preventing a final vote.
If Obama were to win the White House, it would be the Republicans' last toehold
In reality, Ensign noted this week that even if Democrats merely draw close to
60 seats, they will find it easier to pick up a Republican or two on individual
bills and move ahead with portions of their agenda that might otherwise be
Democrats are overwhelmingly favored to pick up seats in Virginia, New Mexico
and Colorado where Republicans are retiring.
Additionally, GOP Sens. John Sununu of New Hampshire, Norm Coleman of Minnesota
and Gordon Smith of Oregon are in jeopardy. So, too, Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens,
whose fate may rest on the outcome of his corruption trial, now in the hands of
a jury in a courthouse a few blocks from the Capitol.
Even if they win all four of those races -- a tall order -- Democrats would be
two seats shy of 60 and looking South to get them.
In the House, Democrats are so flush with cash that they have spent nearly $1
million to capture a seat centered on Maryland's Eastern Shore that has been in
Republican hands for two decades.
It is one of 27 races where the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has
spent $1 million or more -- a total that the counterpart Republican group has
yet to match anywhere.
''We've had to hold most of our resources for the final two weeks and that's
beginning to make a difference,'' said Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, chairman of
the GOP House committee.
Cole declined to make an overall prediction. ''A lot depends on what happens
presidentially in the next 10 days. We're very closely tied with John McCain and
we got a lot of open seats and a strong financial disadvantage,'' he said. He
predicted the party's Republican presidential candidate would mount a strong
finish and help other candidates on the ballot.
Still, the party's campaign committee recently pulled back from plans to
advertise on behalf of incumbents in Michigan, Florida, Colorado and Minnesota
who face competitive challenges.
For its part, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recently invested
in a race in the Lincoln, Neb., area held by Republican Rep. Lee Terry. Obama
has a dozen or more paid staff as well as volunteers there hoping to win one
Democrats express confidence they will pick up at least two and possibly three
Republican-held New York seats where incumbents decided against running again
and at least one each in Illinois, Virginia, Ohio, New Mexico and Arizona. There
are additional opportunities in at least a half-dozen other states.
Republican incumbents in greatest jeopardy include Reps. Don Young in Alaska,
Tom Feeney and Ric Keller in Florida, Joe Knollenberg and Tim Walberg in
Michigan, Marilyn Musgrave in Colorado, Jon Porter in Nevada and Robin Hayes in
Among the few Democrats in close races are Reps. Nick Lampson in Texas, who is
in a solidly Republican district; Tim Mahoney in Florida, who recently admitted
to having two extramarital affairs; Carol Shea-Porter in New Hampshire and Paul
Kanjorski in Pennsylvania.
Democrats Headed Toward Big Gains in House, Senate,
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