US mid-term elections 2018: The races to watch

Emily Maitlis
Presenter, BBC Newsnight
@maitlison Twitter

  • Published
a voter walks past campaign signsImage source, EPA

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.