Today, Monday, September 17, is exactly 50 days away from the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. Americans aren't choosing a president this year. These elections are called midterms because they happen in the middle of a president's four-year term. What voters are choosing are the representatives in Congress as well as candidates for state and local offices.
Currently, members from President Donald Trump's political party, the Republican Party, control both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
In the House, there are 435 voting members, Republicans hold 236 seats, Democrats hold 193, and there are six vacancies that haven't been filled yet. Since Representatives are elected every two years, that includes the midterms and every one of these seats is up for election this year.
In the Senate, there are 100 members, Republicans hold 51 seats, Democrats hold 47 seats, and independents who usually vote with the Democrats hold two seats. Senators are elected every six years, so about a third of these seats, 35, are up for election this year.
In general lawmakers who are in the same party as the president tend to lose seats in the midterm elections regardless of who the president is.
And the reason why the House and Senate get so much attention is because their make-up can affect the president's ability to get legislative goals accomplished. So, with the battle lines drawn, the big questions in this year's midterms are, will Republicans hold on to their control in both the House and Senate? Or will Democrats take control of one or both chambers? We'll find out on November 6th with Americans watching as organizations like CNN project results from each state.