Divided America votes in midterms, seen as referendum on Trump's presidency

Divided America votes in midterms, seen as referendum on Trump's presidency

Political junkies will have their pizza ordered, their favorite cable news channel on, and reloading on their second screen. All times below are in Eastern Standard Time.

Rep. George Graham, a Democrat from Kinston, trailed in early returns. Joe Donnelly in IN and Republican Marsha Blackburn's win in Tennessee made it much more hard for Democrats to make inroads.

Americans started voting Tuesday in critical midterm elections that mark the first major voter test of US President Donald Trump's controversial presidency, with control of Congress at stake.

You can also follow CBC News reporters covering the midterms across the USA through CBC News Instagram stories here. Knocking off Donnelly in IN makes the math hard for Democrats, with competitive Senate races still too close to call in Florida and Texas.

Kentucky, meanwhile, will give us an early indication of how the US House races are shaping up.

Democrats are most optimistic about the House, a sprawling battlefield extending from Alaska to Florida.

Fox and NBC television networks called the result in the US House of Representatives, while confirming expectations that Trump's Republicans will retain control of the Senate. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly Milford Hayes and his son Myles watch as Milford's wife, U.S. Democratic Congressional candidate Jahana Hayes, is interviewed at a voting station in Wolcott, Connecticut, U.S., November 6, 2018.

Most Democratic candidates in tight races stayed away from harsh criticism of Trump during the campaign's final stretch, focusing instead on bread-and-butter issues like keeping down health care costs, maintaining insurance protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions and safeguarding the Social Security retirement and Medicare health care programs for senior citizens.

Voting finished in IN and Kentucky, as well as in most of Florida, Georgia and Virginia.

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Speaking to Fox News earlier in the evening, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Democrats shouldn't "waste time" with an investigation.

A far more unlikely achievement for the Democrats would be taking over simple majorities in either chamber.

Half of USA polls closed by 8pm ET. Democratic Senate incumbents were up for re-election, for example, in North Dakota, Indiana, and Missouri - states Trump carried by nearly 25 percentage points on average two years ago.

By 9 p.m., we should begin to have a sense of the big picture. We should also expect to hear speeches from US Senator Elizabeth Warren and Governor Charlie Baker around now. The questions of the hour: Which woman will win the Arizona Senate seat being vacated by Republican Jeff Flake?

The result upends the balance of power in Washington, where Trump has enjoyed an easy ride from Republican dominance of both houses of Congress since his shock election in 2016.

Democrats need to pick up two dozen seats to claim the House majority.

The first polls were closing across parts of Kentucky and IN at 6 p.m. EST.

Democrats will likely lose a couple of House seats they've held, though: State Rep. Bobbie Richardson has lost her race in Nash County and state Rep. George Graham trails his Republican opponent in Lenoir County with most of the vote in. Liberal House member Beto O'Rourke became a national sensation with his underdog US Senate campaign but fell short in conservative Texas, and Andrew Gillum was trailing Republican Ron DeSantis in his quest to become the first African-American governor of the key swing state of Florida. But whether it's a blue wave or a red wave, one thing is certain: "A wave of money is surging toward Election Day, much of it coming from the wealthiest donors targeting this year's most competitive races". So no need to stay up late.

But the final results in these races, if they're close, could take weeks to tabulate. But you can catch up in the morning.