Control of US Congress in play in votes in seven states

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Republican South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster captured his party's nomination on Tuesday for this fall's midterm elections, a day after President Donald Trump campaigned at his side.

McMaster's victory - he led businessman John Warren by an eight-point margin with 85 percent of the vote counted - again demonstrated the president's influence over Republican voters, five months before the Nov. 6 elections that will determine whether Republicans maintain control of both houses of the U.S. Congress as well as numerous gubernatorial seats.

Voters in seven U.S. states - Colorado, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Utah - were picking candidates on Tuesday for the midterm elections.

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Reactions to the results of the June 26, 2018 primaries
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Reactions to the results of the June 26, 2018 primaries
The Democrats are in Turmoil! Open Borders and unchecked Crime a certain way to lose elections. Republicans are for… https://t.co/srI2CTyDds
Congratulations to @Ocasio2018 on her extraordinary upset victory tonight! She took on the entire local Democratic… https://t.co/HCcdDDEuVC
@realDonaldTrump https://t.co/9ubTCAyZkq
Congrats on the win, @Ocasio2018. The number of votes cast tonight—in what has been the lowest turnout district in… https://t.co/4tJJD3eeIq
Wow! Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley, who many expected was going to take Nancy Pelosi’s place, just LOST h… https://t.co/4TuokLaPMJ
Thank you, South Carolina! I am so proud to be your governor. Together we will keep our state working for you. I love South Carolina!
Tremendous win for Congressman Dan Donovan. You showed great courage in a tough race! New York, and my many friends… https://t.co/JvRCgZpcG8
Congratulations to Governor Henry McMaster on your BIG election win! South Carolina loves you. We are all proud of… https://t.co/jWLZKh1S99
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Democrats need to flip 23 of 435 seats to take over the House of Representatives, which would stymie much of Trump's agenda while opening up new avenues of investigation into his administration. They would have to net two seats to take the Senate, but face longer odds there, according to analysts.

A bitter Republican matchup in New York City's Staten Island borough on Tuesday represented more evidence of Trump's political sway.

The incumbent Dan Donovan, who received Trump's endorsement last month, easily prevailed over the man he replaced in Congress, Michael Grimm, who resigned three years ago after pleading guilty to tax fraud.

Grimm, a bombastic former FBI agent known for once threatening to toss a television reporter off a balcony, had cast himself as the true Trump supporter in what had become a nasty, insult-laden campaign. He said his conviction was due to a "witch hunt," echoing Trump's characterization of the investigation into his campaign's possible ties to Russia.

The district is considered within reach for Democrats in November.

Mitt Romney triumphed as the projected winner in the primary runoff race to replace retiring Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch. His projected victory is the latest in a string of wins for Trump-backed candidates, according to Fox News

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Inside the June 26 primary
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Inside the June 26 primary
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm speaks to reporters after voting on primary day June 26, 2018 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. Grimm is running in the Republican Congressional primary for the 11th Congressional District against incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY). (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm speaks to reporters after voting on primary day June 26, 2018 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. Grimm is running in the Republican Congressional primary for the 11th Congressional District against incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY). (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm votes at an elementary school on primary day June 26, 2018 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. Grimm is running in the Republican Congressional primary for the 11th Congressional District against incumbent U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY). (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm votes at an elementary school on primary day June 26, 2018 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. Grimm is running in the Republican Congressional primary for the 11th Congressional District against incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY). (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm votes at an elementary school on primary day June 26, 2018 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. Grimm is running in the Republican Congressional primary for the 11th Congressional District against incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY). (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
OREM, UT - JUNE 26: A Romney supporter listens to a speaker as he wears a 'Make America Great Again' hat at the Mitt Romney election party on June 26, 2018 in Orem, Utah. It is primary election day in Utah and Romney is running for the Utah U.S. Senate seat of Senator Orin Hatch who is retiring. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 26: South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster addresses the crowd during a gubernatorial primary runoff election watch party at Spirit Communications Park on June 26, 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina. The incumbent McMaster defeated businessman John Warren. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
The shadows of attendees are cast on hoardings as they wait for election results during an election night rally for Mitt Romney, Republican U.S Senate candidate, in Orem, Utah, U.S., on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Romney, the ex-presidential candidate and Massachusetts governor, is favored to win Tuesday's GOP primary for the seat of retiring Senator Orrin Hatch. Photographer: Kim Raff/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Republican Congressional candidate and former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm talks with supporters after conceding the race during a primary election night event, June 26, 2018 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. Grimm was defeated in the Republican Congressional primary for the 11th Congressional District by incumbent and U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY). (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
An attendee wears a 'Make America Great Again' hat during an election night rally for Mitt Romney, Republican U.S Senate candidate, in Orem, Utah, U.S., on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Romney, the ex-presidential candidate and Massachusetts governor, is favored to win Tuesday's GOP primary for the seat of retiring Senator Orrin Hatch. Photographer: Kim Raff/Bloomberg via Getty Images
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE 26: South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster takes a phone call from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) during a gubernatorial primary runoff election watch party at Spirit Communications Park on June 26, 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina. The incumbent McMaster defeated businessman John Warren. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Republican Congressional candidate and former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm speaks during a primary election night event, June 26, 2018 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. Grimm was defeated in the Republican Congressional primary for the 11th Congressional District by incumbent and U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY). (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
OREM, UT - June 26: A Romney supporter shows off her American Flag at the Mitt Romney election party on June 26, 2018 in Orem, Utah. It is primary election day in Utah and Romney is running for the Utah U.S. Senate seat of Senator Orin Hatch who is retiring. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JUNE 26: U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, left, celebrates her leading challenger Saira Rao in Democratic primary for Denver-based congressional seat with her husband Lino Lipinsky at Angelo's Taverna June 25, 2018. (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: Supporters await election results during a primary election night event for Republican Congressional candidate and former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, June 26, 2018 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. Grimm was defeated in the Republican Congressional primary for the 11th Congressional District by incumbent and U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY). (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
A 'Vote Here' sign is displayed outside of a polling location during the primary election in Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Voters go to the polls today in seven states including Utah where Mitt Romney appears to be on track to advance in his bid for a Senate seat. Photographer: Kim Raff/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CAYCE, SC - JUNE 26: A voter exits a polling station during a primary runoff election at an American Legion hall on June 26, 2018 in Cayce, South Carolina. The most notable race is a runoff election for the Republican nomination for governor with incumbent Henry McMaster going up against businessman John Warren. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CHAPIN, SC - JUNE 26: A poll worker holds voting stickers during a primary runoff election on June 26, 2018 in Chapin, South Carolina. The most notable race is for governor, featuring incumbent Henry McMaster against businessman John Warren. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, SC - JUNE 26: A woman casts a vote during a primary runoff election at American Legion Post #7 on June 26, 2018 in Lexington, South Carolina. The most notable race is a runoff election for the Republican nomination for governor with incumbent Henry McMaster going up against businessman John Warren. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CAYCE, SC - JUNE 26: Poll worker Juanita Orr helps a voter during a primary runoff election at an American Legion hall on June 26, 2018 in Cayce, South Carolina. The most notable race is a runoff election for the Republican nomination for governor with incumbent Henry McMaster going up against businessman John Warren. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
CAYCE, SC - JUNE 26: Poll workers check in a voter during a primary runoff election at an American Legion hall on June 26, 2018 in Cayce, South Carolina. The most notable race is a runoff election for the Republican nomination for governor with incumbent Henry McMaster going up against businessman John Warren. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 26: A DJ plays music during a primary election night event for Republican Congressional candidate and former U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, June 26, 2018 in the Staten Island borough of New York City. Grimm was defeated in the Republican Congressional primary for the 11th Congressional District by incumbent and U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY). (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
BROOMFIELD, CO - JUNE 26: Caspian Polis, 6, son of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis, seems giddy as his father accepts the nomination for Colorado Governor during his watch party at the Flatiron Ballroom in the Renaissance Boulder Flatiron Hotel on June 26, 2018 in Broomfield, Colorado. Polis beat 3 other democratic candidates in the primary election which included Cary Kennedy, Mike Johnston, and Donna Lynne. Polis' son Caspian, 6, is seen in front. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
CHAPIN, SC - JUNE 26: A poll worker holds voting stickers during a primary runoff election on June 26, 2018 in Chapin, South Carolina. The most notable race is for governor, featuring incumbent Henry McMaster against businessman John Warren. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
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DEMOCRATIC BATTLES

The biggest upset of the night was in New York City's Bronx and Queens boroughs, where 10-term U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley - the No. 4-ranking Democrat in the House - lost to a 28-year-old liberal challenger and member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Crowley's loss adds fuel to the battle between the party's establishment wing, embodied by longtime House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, and a left-wing insurgency inspired by Bernie Sanders' presidential run in 2016.

In Colorado, an establishment-backed Democrat and a liberal insurgent are vying to take on incumbent Republican Representative Mike Coffman, whose district favored Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump in 2016.

Jason Crow, an Iraq war veteran backed by the national party, is facing Levi Tillemann, who was endorsed by Our Revolution, a group born out of Sanders' presidential bid. Tillemann earned attention this month with an anti-gun violence video in which he blasted himself in the face with pepper spray.

Voters will also pick Senate candidates in states including Utah and Maryland. Analysts say Democrats face a steep climb trying to take the Senate, where they are defending seats including Indiana, Montana and North Dakota that supported Trump two years ago.

Bernie Sanders supporter Ben Jealous defeated Rushern Baker in Maryland's Democratic primary, according to the Washington Post. 

(AOL contributed to this report)

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