Election Night: The Battle For Control of Congress - TheStreet

U.S. voters went to the polls Tuesday in the first national election since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, with Democrats poised to take control of the House of Representatives and Republicans adding to a slim majority in the Senate.

Wall Street appeared to be unconcerned about the election and the possible return of a Democratic majority to the House of Representatives as stocks posted gains in regular trading ahead of the vote counting.

Read: Jim Cramer explains his post-election play book: Growth stocks may be the way to go.

Turnout was heavy for a midterm election with early ballot numbers appearing to be their strongest ever.

As election results rolled in Tuesday night, U.S. stock futures rose. Dow futures were up 0.29% at 25,716, Nasdaq futures rose 0.42% to 7,046 and S&P futures were up 0.24% to 2,765.75. Gold futures were up 0.23%.

In early trade Wednesday in Asia, stocks were mixed. In Tokyo, the benchmark Nikkei 225 was up 0.37%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.89%. Stocks in Shanghai gained 0.26%.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Eastern, CNN analysis showed Democrats ahead in the race to control the U.S. House, but important GOP wins in Tennessee and Indiana were dashing Democrats' chances of taking the Senate. 

In North Dakota, CNN projected Rep. Kevin Cramer will take the Senate seat from incumbent Dem. Heidi Heitkamp.

In Missouri, Democrat incumbent Claire McCaskill was trailing her Republican challenger, State Attorney General Josh Hawley, badly with 75% of the votes counted. 

In Florida, GOP candidate Gov. Rick Scott appeared to have defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson by less than a point. CNN projected former Clinton Cabinet member Donna Shalala has won her race for a House seat from Florida. 

In a decision with implications for future presidential elections, Florida voters approved a measure to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their sentences, Vox reported. The move could add as many as a million people to the state's voter rolls. 

The Associated Press projected that Democratic freshman Rep. Stephanie Murphy would hold onto her seat in Florida, beating Republican challenger Mike Miller. Other races in Florida were too close to call.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Democratic senators in Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania were still holding on, as had been expected. In New Jersey, Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez had a comfortable lead.

In Tennessee, Republican Marsha Blackburn defeated Democrat Phil Bredesen to succeed retiring Sen. Bob Corker, keeping the seat in Republican hands. 

In very tight race in Texas, incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz was projected the winner over Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke.

In Kentucky, Democrat Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot, appeared to have lost her campaign to unseat Republican Andy Barr in the state's 6th congressional district. Barr is chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on monetary policy and trade. 

In addition to the federal offices, a significant number of governors' seats appeared to be closely contested. Republicans beat back Democratic challenges in Georgia and Florida. Control of state capitols has implications for the next redistricting following the 2020 census.

Trump campaigned hard for Republicans in the final days of the campaign, with appearances in Missouri and Texas.

Democrats needed to win an additional 23 seats in the House to reclaim control for the first time since 2010. Some pre-election polls put more than three dozen seats up for grabs, and the number of races shifting toward Democrats and away from Republicans rose heading into Tuesday.

On Wall Street Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 all rose. It was the Nasdaq's first gain in three days, while the other two have closed higher in four of the past five trading sessions.

U.S. markets, which have been mainly flat since January, were regarded as largely indifferent to the results, because the main drivers of investor sentiment -- negative prospects of an ongoing trade war with the China and the effects of tariffs on U.S. corporate profits along with concern about the pace of benchmark interest rate increases -- aren't likely to change no matter what happens at the ballot box, most Wall Street analysts said.

The risks of greater partisanship "could have serious market and economic consequences, such as potentially more frequent government shutdowns, impeachment considerations and general uncertainty," said Societe Generale analysts including global research head Brigitte Hiddon.

The election is not likely to resolve the widening conflicts between supporters of President Trump and his opponents. Trump campaigned strongly for Republicans without emphasizing the strengths of the U.S. economy, now expanding for the 10th straight year. Last week the government reported that employers added 250,000 jobs in October and that the unemployment rate remained 3.7%, the lowest level in nearly 50 years. Pay also rose at a healthy pace amid rising consumer confidence.

More than two-thirds of voters told CNN's national exit poll that the U.S. economy is excellent or good, though Republicans were much more likely to feel that way, CNN reported early Tuesday evening. Slightly less than a third of voters polled said the economy is not good or poor, and about 85% of them were Democrats, CNN reported.

CNN's report said the economy ranked as the third key issue for voters, behind healthcare and immigration. The economy mattered more to Republicans than Democrats, CNN said.