WASHINGTON — Democrats seized the House majority from President Donald Trump's Republican Party on Tuesday in a suburban revolt that threatened what's left of the president's governing agenda. But the GOP gained ground in the Senate and preserved key governorships, beating back a "blue wave" that never fully materialized.
The mixed verdict in the first nationwide election of Trump's presidency underscored the limits of his hardline immigration rhetoric in America's evolving political landscape, where college-educated voters in the nation's suburbs rejected his warnings of a migrant "invasion." But blue-collar voters and rural America embraced his aggressive talk and stances.
The new Democratic House majority will end the Republican Party's dominance in Washington for the final two years of Trump's first term with major questions looming about health care, immigration and government spending.
"Tomorrow will be a new day in America," declared House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who would be in line to become the next House speaker.
But the Democrats' edge is narrow. With 218 seats needed for a majority, Democrats have won 219 and the Republicans 193, with winners undetermined in 23 races.
Trump was expected to address the results at a post-election news conference scheduled for midday Wednesday.
The president's party will maintain control of the executive branch of the government, in addition to the Senate, but Democrats suddenly have a foothold that gives them subpoena power to probe deep into Trump's personal and professional missteps — and his long-withheld tax returns.
Early Wednesday, Trump warned Democrats against using their new majority to investigate his administration.
"If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level," Trump tweeted, "then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!" It wasn't clear what "leaks" he was referring to.
It could have been a much bigger night for Democrats, who suffered stinging losses in Ohio and in Florida, where Trump-backed Republican Ron DeSantis ended Democrat Andrew Gillum's bid to become the state's first African-American governor.
The 2018 elections also exposed an extraordinary political realignment in an electorate defined by race, gender, and education that could shape U.S. politics for years to come.
The GOP's successes were fueled by a coalition that's decidedly older, whiter, more male and less likely to have college degrees. Democrats relied more upon women, people of color, young people and college graduates.
Record diversity on the ballot may have helped drive turnout.
Voters were on track to send at least 99 women to the House, shattering the record of 84 now. The House was also getting its first two Muslim women, Massachusetts elected its first black congresswoman, and Tennessee got its first female senator.
Three candidates had hoped to become their states' first African-American governors, although just one — Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams — was still in the running.
Overall, women voted considerably more in favor of congressional Democratic candidates — with fewer than 4 in 10 voting for Republicans, according to VoteCast, a nationwide survey of more than 115,000 voters and about 20,000 nonvoters — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago.
In suburban areas where key House races were decided, female voters skewed significantly toward Democrats by a nearly 10-point margin.
Democrats celebrated a handful of victories in their "blue wall" Midwestern states, electing or re-electing governors in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and in Wisconsin, where Scott Walker was defeated by state education chief Tony Evers.