1. What are the midterm elections?
The midterm elections refer to elections at the halfway point of any US president’s four-year term. They include elections for the national legislature, state legislatures and governors and local-level races.
The majority of national and international attention is focused on the elections for the legislative branch of the United States. The legislative branch, known collectively as Congress, consists of a lower and an upper house — the House of Representatives and the Senate. Both houses of Congress have the potential to change hands this year with a simple majority dictating control.
Every two years, one-third of the Senate and the entirety of the House is up for election. Each of the 50 states is represented by two senators, resulting in a total of 100. The House of Representatives has 435 representatives who sit in congressional districts that are allocated on a basis of population as measured by the census.
This year, 35 out of 100 seats in the Senate are up for grabs, although the potential gains are not distributed evenly. Democrats are defending 26 seats whereas Republicans must protect only nine.
Republicans also currently control 33 of 50 state governorships — their highest total in nearly a century.