Republicans

As the 115th Congress is sworn in Tuesday, Republicans will be poised to control Washington with a stronger hand than they have in a decade — with the Senate, House and the White House in GOP control once President-elect Donald Trump takes office on January 20.

This past November, Republicans held their congressional losses to a minimum, helped by an unexpectedly strong GOP wave behind Trump. After losing just two Senate seats, they'll hold a 52-48 edge (two independents caucus with Democrats). In the House, Republicans lost six seats, giving them a 241-194 majority.

Here are some of the ways Donald Trump has described himself during the 2016 presidential campaign:

"Very conservative."

"A common-sense conservative."

"A conservative with a heart."

But talk to conservative activists, and it's not unusual to still hear things like this:

"Well, I remain a skeptic," says activist and GOP campaign veteran Rick Tyler, who adds, "I don't know that Donald Trump is a conservative."

The Republican National Committee says its data-driven voter turnout operation — which used lessons learned by studying President Obama's winning campaigns of 2008 and 2012 — was a key to its success up and down the ballot last week.

Donald Trump shocked the pollsters and pundits not just by winning but by taking a surprisingly large Electoral College victory. And just as important to the RNC is the fact that the GOP was able to stave off a takeover of the Senate by Democrats, in a year when Republicans had many more incumbents and GOP-held seats to defend.

In what could be a tough election night for Republicans, governors' races may offer a rare bright spot.

Unlike in House and Senate races, Democrats are largely playing defense in the 12 gubernatorial races on the ballot Tuesday. Democrats are defending eight seats to the GOP's four. Two states — North Dakota and Utah — will safely stay in the Republicans' column, while Democrats will keep Oregon, Washington and an open Delaware seat on their side.

Pedro Portal / Miami Herald

Running mate of GOP nominee Donald Trump and Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, encouraged a crowd of Trump supporters to go out and vote Friday night, in West Miami.

The crowd filled the Renaissance Ballroom by the time Pence went up to speak and his message was clear, “have faith,” Pence said.

“I’m asking you to vote early. Talk to your friends at worship, or work, or over the fence to your neighbors and go out and vote.”

The crowd was loud and proudly boasted Trump posters, red caps and “Lock Her Up” buttons.

Investigators were looking into why a charter aircraft carrying Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and more than 40 others slid off the runway Thursday night while landing at LaGuardia Airport in the New York City borough of Queens.

NPR's Scott Detrow reports that Pence, Donald Trump's running mate, and everyone else on board was safe after the jet touched down in stormy weather and just kept going.

Polls show the presidential race in Texas is closer than it's been in decades, some even showing the two candidates within the margin of error.

Does Hillary Clinton actually stand a chance in Texas? It's unlikely, but it could be closer than at any time in the last 20 years. The reason for how competitive the race looks lies in two demographic groups — Republican-leaning suburban women offended by Trump's comments about women and Latinos, who are fired up to vote against him.

Suburban women cool to Trump

Amanda Rabines

Indiana Governor Mike Pence made a stop in Miami on Friday night. 

The running mate to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke at the Lincoln Day fundraiser dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County at the DoubleTree Hilton Miami Airport and Convention Center.

It was Pence’s first appearance in South Florida, and the vice presidential nominee sounded optimistic in front of a crowd of business owners, GOP political groups and supporters.

Researchers seeking to predict how Americans will vote have for years identified an important clue: The more religious you are, the more likely you are to lean Republican.

Conversations with more than two-dozen self-identified "faith" voters in Boone, N.C., suggest that pattern is holding this year, even while revealing the same high level of voter disenchantment evident across the country.

Republicans and Democrats have moved further and further from each other over the last few decades. The result has been gridlock and partisan vitriol like many Americans have never seen in their lifetimes.

As it turns out, it's not just about beliefs: according to a new report from the Pew Research Center, "the two parties look less alike today than at any point over the last quarter-century."

Hillary Clinton's increasingly dominant lead in the presidential race is solidifying many Republicans' worst 2016 fears that Donald Trump will cost the party not only the White House but also control of the Senate.

"The bottom is starting to fall out a little earlier than expected," says a top Senate GOP campaign aide who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of the race. "We started off with a very difficult map. No matter what, this was going to be a very difficult year."

President Obama reiterated that he believes Donald Trump is "unfit" to be president, issuing a sharp rebuke of the Republican nominee from the White House East Room on Tuesday.

"Yes, I think the Republican nominee is unfit to serve as president," Obama said in response to a question from a reporter during a news conference with Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore. "I said so last week, and he keeps on proving it."

Rep. Paul Ryan is a powerful member of Congress — he's House speaker serving his ninth term, and up for re-election. But some persuasive forces — including GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump and conservative pundit Ann Coulter — are expressing support for his Wisconsin primary opponent Paul Nehlen.

The state holds its Republican primary next Tuesday, Aug. 9.

If internet searches are any indication -- and that’s a big “if,” -- Democrats will get a bigger bump from their national convention than Republicans.

Pages