Inside the White House, a president with no regrets
President Trump has been spending most of Election Day in the White House residence, making calls to allies and friends. The mood so far: #noregrets.
The president, according to multiple sources inside and close to the White House, is feeling validated about his closing strategy which focused on immigration. He’s unapologetic and thinks that decision helped inject a shot of enthusiasm into the race, despite concerns from some Republicans that his divisive rhetoric may actually backfire.
Trump is telling aides and allies he didn’t leave anything on the table, and insisted his strategy changed the topic from “the left’s closing argument, which was all health care,” according to one outside adviser.
His staff is briefing him regularly on voter turnouts, which has been absolutely gangbusters. But history is not on his side. With just two exceptions, midterms have not gone well for the party controlling the White House. Trump hopes to be the exception — but already, the forecast from the White House signals more “mixed bag” than “giant victory lap.”
On the Senate, the president is extremely interested in Florida, keying in on Gov. Rick Scott’s Senate race and Ron DeSantis’ gubernatorial race, according to multiple people familiar close to the president. He’s also zeroing in on the races in Montana, Indiana and the Kansas governor’s race where his friend Kris Kobach is running.
A source close to the president frames his outlook as having three tiers:
GOP seats to hold: Arizona, Nevada and Tennessee — with the assumption that GOP Sen. Ted Cruz is re-elected in Texas.
Pick-up opportunities, in order of likelihood: North Dakota, Indiana, Missouri and Florida. If Republicans win all four of those — which is a big if — it could put other seats in play. Those "dark horse" pickups would be West Virginia, Montana and Michigan.
As for the House, the president may have been “fired up” on the way home from Missouri late overnight — but he’s getting plenty of reality-checks about the outlook for holding the majority today. All of it is grim.
No one who was willing to speak, even on background, was optimistic about Republicans keeping the House majority. The question now appears to be not whether Republicans will lose, but by how much. Despite the president railing against Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on the campaign trail, two sources says the president is still open to working with her if she ends up House Speaker.
Still, the president is insistent that “Trump Republicans,” are being under-polled, according to one source. Recall that much of the polling in 2016 grossly under-surveyed both the white non-college educated population and rural voters — a demographic that makes up President Trump’s base.
Later tonight, the president will have dinner ahead of a reception at the White House of more than 100 people, including representation from the GOP donor community, to watch election returns.
ICYMI: Democrats win back House, GOP keeps Senate — and other top takeaways
Thank you so much for tuning in to our election night live blog. We saw a lot happen, but we are still waiting on results in a number of races.
Here are some of the top takeaways:
- NBC projects that the Democrats have won a majority in the House of Representatives. Republicans will remain in control of the Senate, and grew their majority by several seats.
- Powered by a suburban revolt against Trump, Democrats reclaimed a majority in the House, and scored a string of upsets in doing so. By 6:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the party had picked up 28 seats in the House, more than the 23 needed to take the majority, with many West Coast results still outstanding. Fourteen seats remained uncalled.
- Republicans successfully defended Senate seats in Texas and Tennessee, while also picking up seats in Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota. After an overnight nailbiter, Democratic Sen. Jon Tester won re-election in Montana, NBC News projected Wednesday.
- In gubernatorial races, Democrats made some key gains even as Andrew Gillum in Florida was defeated and Stacey Abrams in Georgia was trailing. Democrats won in Wisconsin — defeating Trump ally and former Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker — as well as Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado and Nevada.
- There were many historic firsts.
- A record number of women were elected to the House of Representatives. As of early Wednesday, at least 95 women had won seats, breaking the current session's record of 84 women.
But by 2:04 p.m. ET Wednesday, there were still several races without outcomes because they remained "too close to call." They include:
In the Alaska gubernatorial race, which was considered "too early to call" in the early hours of the morning Wednesday, Republican Mike Dunleavy is the apparent winner, NBC News projects. In the Connecticut gubernatorial race, which was considered "too close to call" overnight, Democrat Ned Lamont is the apparent winner, NBC News projects.
Thanks again for joining us, and don't forget check back with NBCNews.com for updated coverage.
NBC News: Jon Tester wins in Montana Senate race
Two-term Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester is the apparent winner in the Montana Senate race, NBC News projects Wednesday, defeating Republican challenger Matt Rosendale.
The projection came Wednesday afternoon, most than 12 hours after polls closed in state closed. Tester and Rosendale, the Republican state auditor, had been locked in a neck-and-neck race.
With 99 percent of the votes in the state tallied, Tester led Rosendale 49.1 percent to 48 percent with Libertarian Party candidate Rick Breckenridge getting 2.9 percent.
President Donald Trump had campaigned hard in the state against Tester — he held a rally for Rosendale just days before Election Day — hitting the incumbent for his involvement in thwarting the nomination of his choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, White House physician Ronny Jackson.
Nevada voters scrap 'pink tax' on tampons, sanitary napkins
Nevada's "pink tax" on feminine hygiene products has been repealed, NBC News projected early Wednesday.
Voters were asked whether tampons and sanitary napkins should be exempt from sales and use tax.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that opponents said the exemption could result in the loss of $900,000 to $1.3 million in sales-tax revenue each year.
Fourteen other states do not subject feminine hygiene products to a sales tax, according to the Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy nonprofit.
Scott Walker loses bid for third term as Wisconsin's governor
Former Republican presidential candidate and Trump ally Scott Walker was defeated in his bid for a third term as Wisconsin's governor.
NBC News declared Democrat Tony Evers as the apparent winner at 3:30 a.m. ET.
Speaking of his race, Walker last week said that "whether it was Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama or now Donald Trump" any president's first midterm election is "tough."
A NBC/Marist poll published on Oct. 11 found that 45 percent of likely voters in Wisconsin approved of Trump's job performance, while 50 percent disapproved. Trump narrowly won the state in 2016.
NBC News: Rosen beats Heller in Nevada Senate race
Democrat Rep. Jacky Rosen has defeated Republican incumbent Sen. Dean Heller in the Nevada Senate race, NBC News projects.
With 93 percent of the Silver State's vote tallied, Rosen, a congresswoman representing the state's 3rd Congressional District, was leading Heller 50 percent to 45.8 percent.
Rosen's win would mark the only pick-up of a Republican-held Senate seat by a Democratic candidate in the 2018 midterm elections.
Moments before NBC News called the race, Heller called Rosen to concede. Rosen then declared victory in a speech in Las Vegas, tell cheering supporters that she loved them, too, before vowing to get to work.
Abrams doesn't concede, says Georgia governor race headed to runoff
Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Georgia governor, addressed supporters early Wednesday morning, telling supporters to expect a runoff against Republican Brian Kemp.
"Georgia still has a decision to make," Abrams said. "If I wasn't your first choice, or if you didn't vote, you're going to have a chance to do a do-over."
NBC News says the race is too close to call. Under Georgia law, if no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, then the top two vote getters advance to a runoff election.
NBC News Exit Poll: Most U.S. voters say Trump tax cuts have not helped personal finances
Despite President Donald Trump's promise that tax cuts passed last year would positively affect the personal finances of Americans, only 29 percent of voters say the changes have helped them, according to the NBC News Exit Poll. Nationwide, 45 percent of voters report that the tax changes have not impacted their personal finances, while 22 percent say their finances have been hurt by the changes.
The exit poll also shows that voters in higher-income households are twice as likely as voters in lower-income households to report that tax law changes have helped their personal finances. Seventeen percent of voters with annual household incomes under $30,000 said their personal finances had benefited, compared to 34 percent of those with annual household incomes of $100,000 and higher.
NBC News Exit Poll: LGBT voters remain loyal to Democrats
Democratic candidates enjoyed strong support from LGBT voters nationwide on Tuesday, according to the NBC News Exit Poll. Roughly four out of five LGBT voters reported casting a ballot for their district’s Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives. The exit poll also found LGBT voters supporting Democratic Senate and gubernatorial candidates in strong numbers.
Since the 1990s, exit polls have found large majorities of LGBT voters supporting Democratic presidential candidates as well as the party’s candidates for Congress.
The exit poll also found LGBT voters expressing strong concerns about the direction of the country under President Donald Trump. About eight in 10 LGBT voters said things in the country were on the wrong track, and just one in 10 said they cast their House vote to express support for Trump.
Major news: A record number of women were elected to the House
A record number of women were elected to the House of Representatives on Tuesday. As of early Wednesday morning, at least 89 women had won seats, breaking the current session's record of 84 women.
See how all the women fared here.
NBC News Exit Poll in Missouri: White evangelicals and gun owners help Hawley beat McCaskill
Republican challenger Josh Hawley is projected to pick up a Senate seat tonight in a hard-fought battle with incumbent Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill. NBC News Exit Poll results find Hawley doing particularly well with voters who say immigration is a top issue. He also captured three-quarters of the vote from white evangelicals and 62 percent of the vote from white men.
Voters from gun-owning households also sided with Hawley over McCaskill, who was given an F rating by the National Rifle Association. Among the nearly half of voters (46 percent) who oppose stricter gun measures, Hawley beat McCaskill 77 percent to 21 percent.
NBC News: Wisconsin gubernatorial race too close to call
The Wisconsin gubernatorial race between incumbent Republican two-term Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Tony Evers is too close to call, according to NBC News.
With 93 percent of the vote in the Badger State tallied, Evers, the state schools superintendent, was leading Walker 49.1 percent to 48.9 percent.
Under a bill signed into law by Walker in 2017, any candidate in an election where more than 4,000 votes were cast can demand a recount if he or she lost by 1 percentage point or less.