President James Buchanan's Democratic Party was divided over the issue of slavery, even as Buchanan backed the new state of Kansas having a pro-slavery constitution.
Democrats rode a wave of dissatisfaction with Republican President Donald Trump on Tuesday to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives where they will seek to keep his agenda in check and open his administration to intense scrutiny.
Also a record number of women - 200 Democrats and 60 Republicans - are candidates for Congress, where they now hold only about 20 percent of the seats.
How does the House of Representatives election work?
The electorate is also deciding on the carbon tax.
And the Democrats also are "ticked off" that Robert Mueller hasn't issued a special counsel report that would nail Trump.
Democratic Senate candidates are in danger of losing their seats in Missouri, North Dakota and Indiana.
"President Trump called Leader Pelosi at 11.45pm (local time) this evening to extend his congratulations on winning a Democratic House Majority", Drew Hamill, a Pelosi spokesman, in a tweet. Moscow denies meddling and Trump denies any collusion. Trump had formed a commission to study the matter after he took office. In recent weeks, he's put the spotlight on a caravan of Central American migrants fleeing poverty and violence that he calls "an invasion" of criminals and terrorists.
The Republican takeover of both houses of Congress in the 1994 election, two years after Bill Clinton's first presidential victory, slowed the Democratic president's legislative agenda. "He said if the Democrats lose the House but have more total votes than the Republicans in House races, then you better batten down your house and you better protect yourself because the Democrats are gonna be loaded for bear".
The thousands packing his midterm rallies in the immediate aftermath of the shocking crimes clamored for Mr. Trump's trademark attacks on political foes. Among those expected: Vice President Mike Pence and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, an informal adviser to the president. The Democrats were so beleaguered that they cross-endorsed Liberal Republican nominee Horace Greeley in 1872 instead of fielding their own candidate.
Some of the biggest Democratic stars of the campaign season were struggling.
Republicans are expected to retain their slight majority in the US Senate, now at two seats, which would let them retain the power to approve US Supreme Court and other judicial nominations on straight party-line votes.
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Democrats Nelson and Gillum lead in Florida, poll says
Gillum, who is facing former congressman Ron DeSantis for governor, also drew praise from Obama for his humble upbringing. Trump said having Rosendale in the Senate will be "phenomenal". "You have the opportunity to make history this election".
Democrats are defending 10 Senate seats in states that Trump won in 2016.
Democrats saw the election in equally historic terms. We are going to see a Democratic majority (in the House) that is going to do everything it can to hold the Trump administration's feet to the fire and use subpoena power to do so. A record number of women are also running for Senate, House, governorships and state legislative seats.
Voting rights advocates told The Washington Post that these remarks were attempts to intimidate voters ahead of the elections.
Trump did not care for the soft-focus ad, which notably did not mention him, according to a person familiar with the president's thinking who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Midterm elections in the United States generally garner far less attention than the presidential ones, but this year, not surprisingly, the situation is different as there is a lot at stake for both parties.
"The atypical thing that we're seeing is high early vote activity in states without competitive elections or no statewide elections", McDonald said in a phone interview.
"I think Trump is bad", Reynolds said.
O'Connell said "Democrats are going to launch many investigations and launch many subpoenas" if they control the House.
The O'Rourke-Cruz race is one of a half-dozen Senate contests that are being closely watched to determine control of the chamber.
Democrats lost 945 seats in state legislatures across the country during the 2009-2017 presidency of Democrat Barack Obama, the group said.
Democrats face a far more hard challenge in the Senate, where they are nearly exclusively on defense in rural states where Trump remains popular. "I tend to think the arc of the universe bends toward justice, so I don't become discouraged".
"A big part of his brand has been his fiery rhetoric, and I think there is a portion of his supporters that do expect that", he said.