NEW YORK (AP) — No, it wasn't a blue wave. But a week after the voting, Democrats are riding higher than they thought on election night.
As vote counting presses on in several states, the Democrats have steadily chalked up victories across the country, firming up their grip on the U.S. House and statehouses. The slow roll of wins has given the party plenty to celebrate.
President Donald Trump was quick to claim victory for his party on election night. But the Democrats, who hit political rock bottom just two years ago, have now picked up at least 32 seats in the House — and lead in four more — in addition to flipping seven governorships and eight state legislative chambers.
They are on track to lose two seats in the Senate in a year both parties predicted more. On Monday night, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema won Arizona's Senate race, beating Republican Rep. Martha McSally to take the seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake.
The overall results in the first nationwide election of the Trump presidency represent the Democratic Party's best midterm performance since Watergate.
"Over the last week we've moved from relief at winning the House to rejoicing at a genuine wave of diverse, progressive and inspiring Democrats winning office," said Ben Wikler, Washington director of the liberal group MoveOn.
U.S. Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., smiles after her victory over Republican challenger U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Sinema won Arizona's open U.S. Senate seat in a race that was among the most closely watched in the nation, beating McSally in the battle to replace GOP Sen. Jeff Flake. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
CORRECTS FROM SEN.-ELECT TO CANDIDATE- U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks to a supporter at the Barton Barr Central Library, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Phoenix. Sinema and Republican challenger Martha McSally are seeking the senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who is retiring in January.(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
CORRECTS TO DOWNTOWN PHOENIX CAMPUS NOT TEMPE - Democratic Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema hands out doughnuts to Arizona State University students on the campus in downtown Phoenix on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018. Sinema, a congresswoman who teaches at the school, closed out her campaign against Republican Rep. Martha McSally with a dash across the Phoenix metro area. (AP Photo/Nicolas Riccardi)
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema gestures before performing the coin toss before an NCAA college football game between Arizona State and Utah, Saturday, Nov 3, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema talks to volunteers at a get-out-the-vote phone bank in Phoenix, Ariz., Thursday, Nov. 1, 2018. Sinema and Republican Martha McSally are taking different approaches to the campaign, with Sinema focusing on retail politics and McSally rallying with high profile Republicans like Donald Trump Jr. (AP Photo/Bob Christie)
U.S. Senate candidates, U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., left, and U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., prepare their remarks in a television studio prior to a televised debate, Monday, Oct. 15, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
A supporter crosses her fingers as she talks with Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema, at a get-out-the-vote event at the Arizona Education Association headquarters in Phoenix, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. Sinema is facing Republican Martha McSally in the race to replace Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who is retiring. (AP Photo/Bob Christie)
Arizona Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema fills bags at a food bank in Phoenix, Ariz., Friday Oct. 19, 2018, while campaigning for an open U.S. Senate seat. Her opponent, Republican Rep. Martha McSally, was spending part of the day at a rally in Mesa, Ariz., with President Donald Trump, escorting him on a tour of Luke Air Force Base. (AP Photo/Bob Christie)
FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2018 file photo, U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., goes over the rules in a television studio prior to a televised debate with U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., in Phoenix. Sinema won Arizona's open U.S. Senate seat Monday, Nov. 12, in a race that was among the most closely watched in the nation, beating Republican Rep. Martha McSally in the battle to replace GOP Sen. Jeff Flake. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., talks to campaign volunteers at a Democratic campaign office on primary election day Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Phoenix. Sinema is seeking the current U.S. Senate seat occupied by outgoing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, and will face the Republican primary winner of the race between Rep. Martha McSally, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, if Sinema wins the Democratic primary. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., middle, talks to campaign volunteers at a Democratic campaign office on primary election day Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Phoenix. Sinema is seeking the current U.S. Senate seat occupied by outgoing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, and will face the Republican primary winner of the race between Rep. Martha McSally, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, if Sinema wins the Democratic primary. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., hugs a supporter at a Democratic campaign office on primary election day Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2018, in Phoenix. Sinema is seeking the current U.S. Senate seat occupied by outgoing Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, and will face the Republican primary winner of the race between Rep. Martha McSally, former state Sen. Kelli Ward, and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, if Sinema wins the Democratic primary. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, who is running against Republican Rep. Martha McSally for the open Arizona Senate seat Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is vacating, talks to campaign volunteers, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. Arizona's Senate race pits Sinema, a careful politician running as a centrist in a Republican-leaning state, against McSally, a onetime Trump critic turned fan. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2018, file photo, U.S. Senatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks with volunteers in Phoenix. Sinema is the Democratic nominee seeking the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. in a race against U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York, file)
In this Tuesday, Aug. 21, 2018 photo, U.S. Senatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., volunteers at a food pantry in Phoenix. Sinema is the democratic nominee seeking the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. in a race against U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. speaks prior to delivering her signatures to the Arizona Secretary of State's office Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at the Capitol in Phoenix. Sinema is officially running as a Democrat for U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Jeff Flake. Women running for office have crossed another threshold with a record number of candidates for the U.S. Senate. In the two major parties, 42 women are expected to have qualified for 19 Senate seats. (AP Photo/Matt York)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN - U.S. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema seen at the 2018 Human Rights Campaign Los Angeles Dinner at JW Marriott L.A. Live on Saturday, March 10, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Human Rights Campaign/AP Images)
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The blue shift alters the trajectory of Trump's next two years in the White House, breaking up the Republican monopoly in Washington. It also gives Democrats stronger footing in key states ahead of the next presidential race and in the redrawing of congressional districts — a complicated process that has been dominated by the GOP, which has drawn favorable boundaries for their candidates.
Trump and his allies discounted the Democratic victories on Monday, pointing to GOP successes in Republican-leaning states.
"Thanks to the grassroots support for @realDonaldTrump and our party's ground game, we were able to #DefyHistory and make gains in the Senate!" Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel tweeted, citing Senate wins in Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee, among others.
Indeed, just once in the past three decades had a sitting president added Senate seats in his first midterm election. But lost in McDaniel's assessment was the difficult 2018 Senate landscape for Democrats, who were defending 10 seats in states Trump carried just two years ago.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said in an interview: "I believe in facts. And the fact of the matter is, the Democratic Party had a historic night at the ballot box — and we are not resting,"
He said, "Our goal was to compete everywhere, to expand and reshape the electorate everywhere — and that's exactly what we've done."
The Democrats found success by attracting support from women, minorities and college-educated voters. Overall, 50 percent of white college-educated voters and 56 percent of women backed Democrats nationwide, according to AP VoteCast, a wide-ranging survey of the electorate.
Democrats featured historic diversity on the ballot.
Their winning class includes Massachusetts' first African-American female member of Congress, Ayanna Presley, and Michigan's Rashida Talib and Minnesota's Ilhan Omar, the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, along with Kansas' Sharice Davids, the first lesbian Native American.
They also won by running candidates with military backgrounds who openly embraced gun ownership, such as Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb and Maine's Jared Golden, who is poised to win his contest because of the state's ranked-choice voting system.
Celebs vote in 2018 Midterm elections
Celebs vote in 2018 Midterm elections
I did it. Now it’s your turn. Tuesday 11/6. #VOTE
I’m feeling grateful for everyone before me who fought so hard to give us all the right to have a voice. We can’t voice our frustrations and complain about what’s wrong without voting and exercising our power to make it right. We need you. We all need each other, because when we are truly united we are unstoppable. Sending you all love and positivity on this happy voting day!
Every vote counts
Every race matters
I Voted! 🇺🇸 ✅ How about you?!
On the off chance you forgot, #VOTE. #ElectionDay #MidtermElections2018
Every #vote counts. 🇺🇸
For all of our ancestors that fought and died and lived and survived and created everything we now have access to, I bow down in deep deep honor. We are proud to be your wildest dream and we won’t let you down!!!! Let’s keep it up we are awake, aware, growing and powerful!! #votewithus 💥💥💥 (check my story)
⬆️These two Tennessee women⬆️ voted for the candidate who has proven himself to be reasonable and trustworthy. We want leadership, not fear-based extremism. Early voting goes til Thursday and Election Day is November 6. Please don’t sit this one out.
We voted ❤️🇺🇸
It’s a right not to be taken for granted so I did it a day early and I’m gonna rock this sticker all day. #votevotevote
The antidote to Hate... VOTE your love!
What a birthday! I just smoked a huge bowl of early voting. #JustVoted @whenweallvote
I did it! Felt soooooo good. #Vote #whenweallvote #WeMatter
I. AM. A. VOTER. Proud to use my voice, and exercise my RIGHT to VOTE! @iamavoter #vote #midterms
Need a ride to the polls? We will pick you up in a party bus, give you some snacks, and let you pick the playlist. Just ask Harry & Bob 🇺🇸 #VOTE
10.15.18 Early Voted ✔️ And I’m still helping organize pals and strangers alike to get out the vote! My #votingsquad is STRONG!! How’s yours? Make a plan, talk it through, and vote together!
CONFUSED ABOUT BALLOT MEASURES!? (I know, there’s a lot!) Check out VoteSaveAmerica.com for all the facts and easy breakdowns of ballot measures in YOUR state! •
Thank you to my soul sister squad @ridershop @conniebritton @mspackyetti @jsmizzie @vanessamagos @nialauryn @ruthielindsey @alextcooks @mandanadayani @abbywambach and @glennondoyle. We got boys too! @jedidiahjenkins @kennyjamez @glassofwhiskey @wakingupwithryan @princeflips @get ardocelasco and more. Like I said. My squad is serious! We really love America! #WhenWeAllVote (swipe to hear from the First Lady of Voting herself, @michelleobama!) #GOTV #VOTE #WhenWeAllVote #IAmAVoter
Thank you 14th & 19th Amendment for letting me vote today! Comment or tag yourself if you feel the same!
I voted today for my baby right here and his future!!!
Go be awesome and VOTE YOUR FRIGGIN FACE OFF!
TODAY IS THE DAY. Don’t let anything stop you from voting. Make your voice heard. Every single vote counts. #VoteOrDie
Our son was disappointed because he thought we were going to “boat” but otherwise a success! #Vote
@whenweallvote #yourvotematters #midterms #voteforyourfuture #whenweallvote #LAsFinest @gabunion #votevotevote -take a photo after you vote 🗳-tag me and use hashtag #postthevote you could be featured on my IG :)
ELECTION DAY EVE ~ 🌊 🗳🙏🏾✊🏾
I voted because I care deeply about representation, education, criminal justice, healthcare, truth, equity and so many other things that are at stake.
If I could vote in Georgia or Florida, I’d vote for @staceyabrams or @andrewgillum! Why are you voting?
Sweatshirt by @phenomenal.ly
I am so grateful to be home in time to vote! One vote can make a difference, so make sure your voice is heard!🗳 🇺🇸 now go out and #VOTE!!!!
You’d think I’d be all set to vote right? Here’s a little story: I had to enter my info 4 times before the state site confirmed I was registered! This is how passionate I am about using my voice and my right to vote. You have to have the patience and interest in getting to the polls tomorrow. They think young people don’t vote, latinos don’t vote, women dont vote, PROVE THEM WRONG!!! This election affects us ALL. VOTE. It’s so important that ALL of our voices are heard, not just a few... we live in a beautiful country where we all have a say!!! I urge all of you PLEASE get out there and vote, there are so many issues at stake these elections!! And they affect us all in our daily lives in some way! If you are frustrated by what you been seeing and hearing, you can change it!! You have the power!!! I HAVE A BUNCH OF VOTER INFO IN MY STORIES TO HELP YOU!! #GOVOTE #VOTA #ELECTIONEVE #VOTETUESDAY
Let your voice be heard!!!
It’s #TheLastWeekend to get out there and get involved! My absentee ballot’s in... make sure you GO VOTE on Tuesday!! Remember: NO voting booth selfies 😂 More info in bio.
Todos tenemos por lo menos una razón para votar el 6 de noviembre. Para mis amigos en Texas, yo estoy con @betoorourke! Como madre latina, sé que tengo que votar.
Yo voy a votar porque mi voto es mi voz. ¿Y tú? ¿Por qué vas a votar @georgelopez?
Haz tu video con tu smartphone diciendo por qué vas a votar el 6 de noviembre y compártelo. /// We ALL have at least one reason to vote on November 6. To all my fellow Texans: I stand with @betoorourke! As a Latina, I know I have to vote.
I’m voting because my vote is my voice.
And you? Why are you going to vote @georgelopez?
Make a video with your smartphone stating why you are voting on November 6 and share it.
#LatinasenMarcha #YoVoyAVotar #LatinosStandUp #MidtermsMatter
Happy Election Day- Let's all do our part and get out and vote today! 🗳🇺🇸It's also #homebodydesignbook launch day! You can watch us this morning on the @today show during the 8 o'clock hour in your time zone.
Today’s the day. Make your voice heard and VOTE. Need a ride? Both @uber and @lyft are offering free rides to the polls! Check out their socials for details. #vote
I JUST VOTED IN MY STATE OF FLORIDA!!!!!!!! ELECTION DAY IS NOVEMBER 6 AND EARLY VOTING GOES TO NOVEMBER 4. GO TO VOTE.ORG TO FIND YOUR NEAREST POLLING PLACE, THIS WEBSITE’S INFORMATION IS SO CLEAR AND EASY TO UNDERSTAND. I AM SORRY FOR THE CAPITALS, I JUST FEEL REALLY EXCITED THAT I JUST VOTED BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE IM TAKING MY FRUSTRATION AT THE INJUSTICES THAT HAPPEN IN OUR COUNTRY AND TURNING IT INTO ACTION!!! EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US CAN TURN THOSE FEELINGS INTO ACTION WHEN WE SHOW UP TO VOTE. ONE VOTE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. WE CAN CONTRIBUTE AND HELP WRITE THE STORY OF OUR COUNTRY JUST BY TAKING A FEW MINUTES OUT OF OUR DAY TO VOTE!!! ALSO ITS MY GRANDMAS FIRST TIME VOTING IN THE UNITED STATES AND SHE DID HER RESEARCH AND PREPARED HERSELF AND WE ARE ALL FEELING SO GOOD !!! LETS. GOOOO. LETS VOTE! ➡️➡️➡️➡️➡️➡️➡️VOTE.ORG.
November 6th is our day to say women are never going away, so get used to it.
Ok, Ladies (& gentlemen), now let’s get in formation! 👯♀️👯♀️👯♂️Tomorrow is Election Day! Grab your friends and vote!!!! Find your voting location at Vote.org @votedotorg
This is another moment to stand for Standing Rock. Native people are here, they’re resilient, and despite the laws trying to suppress them, they’re ready to vote. Text 788683 to take the #StandNVote pledge. Let’s bring this home.
I voted early and so can you! Go to vote.org and please vote. Please. (The sticker looks janky cuz it was stuck to the backing and I had to cut it out carefully otherwise it would have ripped. A great metaphor for our democracy! Vote dammit!)
I AM GOING TO ASK YOU IF YOU VOTED TODAY AND IF YOU ALREADY DID THEN ASK EVERYONE AROUND YOU IF THEY DID BECAUSE THERE IS NO EXCUSE, I HAVE RESORTED TO SHOUTING IN ALL CAPS SO PLEASE VOTE AND I WILL STOP THE CAPS
We voted! And we agreed on this photo!
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The Democrats needed to gain 23 seats to seize the House majority. Once all the votes are counted, which could take weeks in some cases as absentees and provisional ballots are tallied, they could win close to 40.
Democrats have not lost a single House incumbent so far. Yet they defeated Republican targets such as Reps. Mike Coffman of Colorado, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Dana Rohrabacher of California.
They could win as many as 19 House races in districts carried by Trump two years ago, according to House Democrats' campaign arm.
Ten House races remained too close for the AP to call as of Monday evening.
Far more of the Senate landscape was decided early, although contests in Florida and Mississippi remain outstanding.
While there were notable statehouse Democratic losses in Iowa and Ohio, the party flipped governorships in seven states: Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Kansas, New Mexico and Maine.
Republicans now control 25 governorships nationwide compared to 23 for Democrats. High-profile contests in Florida and Georgia remain outstanding, though Republicans hold narrow leads in both states.
Overshadowed perhaps by the higher-profile statewide elections, Democratic gains in state legislatures could prove deeply consequential.
Overall, they flipped state legislative chambers in eight states this midterm season, including Washington state's Senate in 2017. The others include the state Senates in Maine, Colorado, New York, New Hampshire and Connecticut in addition to the state Houses of Representatives in New Hampshire and Minnesota.
With hundreds of races still too close to call, Democrats have won at least 370 new state legislative seats nationwide, according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, although the new seats were offset by Republican wins in some cases. The pickups include surprises in West Virginia, where Democrats knocked off the GOP majority leader-designate in the House and the majority leader in the Senate.
"We have elected a new generation of inspiring leaders and we know that a new era of democratic dominance is on the horizon," said the committee's executive director Jessica Post.
Still, Republicans will control the majority of state legislative chambers, governorships, the U.S. Senate and the White House. And even before the new Democrats take office, attention has begun to shift toward 2020.
Many Democrats have yet to shake off the stinging losses of 2016. Publicly and privately, Democrats are lining up for the chance to take down Trump in two years.
"This is step one of a two-step process to right the ship," Guy Cecil, chairman of the pro-Democrat super PAC Priorities USA, said of the midterms. "Democrats have every reason to be optimistic."