US mid-term elections 2018: The races to watch

Emily Maitlis
Presenter, BBC Newsnight
@maitlison Twitter

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Popular wisdom suggests that Donald Trump expects to lose the House of Representatives, although Democrats don't believe anything is in the bag.

In the lower chamber there are about 30-35 tight races right across the country.

The key may be the liberal, affluent voters - if they vote for the economy they back Republicans. If they vote for their social values, they go Democrat. That's a big if which decides who controls one house of congress.

The senate is easier for Trump's party to keep, as a lot of the tight races are in states that went for him.

Interesting ones will be places like Missouri, Indiana - Democrat senators sitting in very red states. Many of them are campaigning more like independents - cautious not to mention their own party , so they don't scare off Conservative voters.

The red meat state

But all eyes are on Texas where a young skateboarding Democrat, Beto O'Rourke, has got a truly Republican state within his grasp.

His opponent is Ted Cruz - who clashed with Trump in 2016. But the president has supported him this time around - campaigning there often.

And Texas is a red meat, red heart state with open carry gun laws. It's almost unthinkable they could elect a democrat. But anything could happen there this race.

In Arizona - state of the late John McCain - two women are vying for the senate. The Republican is a former fighter pilot and its neck and neck.

In Nevada a Republican is trying to hold on in a state won by Hillary Clinton. And this part of the world is getting less white and more Latino - which often means more blue voters.

Florida is always a nail biter. The fourth term Democrat fighting the former Republican governor. They've clashed sharply on gun violence in a state that saw the young rise up after a mass school shooting.

There are nearly 500 races across the country. Will this be a referendum on Trump? The president would like to think so.

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