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Traffic Team fundraisers to benefit Toys for Tots Captain Herb loved so much. He loved his family, his job, his colleagues and his community. One of the many charities he helped was metro Atlanta Toys for Tots. To honor his legacy, the WSB Traffic Team still hosts his annual toy drive at Fred’s BBQ House, and it’s quite a show! Bring the family, and plan to join them and the Douglas County community this holiday season on Saturday, December 8th in Lithia Springs. Our next Toys for Tots event is a golf tournament on Friday, November 9th. It will be held at Bear’s Best Atlanta in Suwanee. To register, click here. A huge ‘thank you’ and congratulations to our Traffic Trooper Mike Haney “Disc Golf Driver” and to Steve Winslow for putting together another successful disc golf tournament, held on September 29th. The group raised more than $6,000 for metro-Atlanta Toys for Tots and, not to mention, a truckload of toys that were also donated! To see some pictures from that day, view the Facebook album here. Call our traffic center with traffic incident 24/7/365 at 404-897-7358. You can also get through to us using the “Triple Team Traffic Alerts” app, free in your phone’s app store! The app provides real-time, traffic incidents recorded by WSB radio traffic reporters.

The Gridlock Guy- Doug Turnbull

  • As transportation officials dig for cheaper, safer ways to improve both traffic flow and safety, there seem to be two trends proliferating at intersections. Local governments and the state DOT have constructed several diverging diamond interchanges (DDIs) at busy interstate interchanges in Metro Atlanta. Those are designed to eliminate left turns across oncoming traffic, a design which decreases wrecks and can improve the wait times. » RELATED: $3.3M Cobb roundabout construction closing road until March 2019 Driving thru DDIs is different, but doing so requires very little maneuvering. Drivers simply follow their lane and have very little confusion about crossing to the other side of the road and then back again. The road does all the work for the motorist. Roundabouts, meanwhile, are showing up in more places in Atlanta, but they require a bit more effort and thought from commuters. Roundabouts have been common in other countries and not just for small, neighborhood intersections. I’ve ridden through some intimidating roundabouts in Grand Cayman and Aruba that are fast, multi-laned, and confusing. But they are constantly moving. And that is the main reason that these intersections are popping up in more places in this metro area. Much like DDIs, roundabouts keep traffic moving and eliminate left turns across oncoming traffic. By decreasing overall wait times and idling time at stop signs and lights and by lessening the likelihood of wrecks, roundabouts seem like a win-win. But they take adjustments from first-time navigators. The first rule for traffic approaching a roundabout is that it must yield. All traffic outside of the traffic circle must yield to traffic inside it. It also must yield to pedestrians or bicycles in the crosswalks on each turn of the roundabout. This obviously is for safety purposes and to prevent any hesitation to the traffic flow. If drivers didn’t know which one had the preferred spot, more crashes would occur and the hesitations would cause more delays. » RELATED: Fayette County postpones Antioch Road roundabout Roundabout confusion is greatest when they have multiple lanes. Multi-lane roundabouts are not common in Atlanta, but as more engineers embrace them, there certainly could be more of them. Roundabouts move one direction: counterclockwise. Drivers entering the traffic circle and progressing just one street over — what would be a right turn in a standard intersection — enter the roundabout in the right lane and then stay there until that first turn. Drivers that are going what would be straight or left would enter the roundabout in the inside or left lane and then turn from that lane onto their desired street. They keep moving and the drivers in that outside lane can continue moving, because they have a designated lane to make that turn, without interrupting the other vehicles. In a double-lane roundabout, the turns onto each street have two lanes: one for the outside lane vehicles and one for the inside lane. This allows seamless transitions, without cars stopping. Quite possibly the golden rule of roundabouts is this: never change lanes. The lane in which one enters the roundabout is the one in which they stay until they exit. This is another genius innovation in this configuration. Eliminating lane changes means removing the friction they cause. Traffic simply keeps moving, until it exits the circle. The lack of traffic lights at intersections also means more efficient traffic flow during non-peak times. Isn’t waiting at a light when there is no traffic a real annoyance? This isn’t a problem at all in roundabouts. Just proceed with caution. One of the most noticeable roundabouts in Atlanta is that at Riverside Drive and I-285. GDOT recently converted that interchange from the standard traffic signal arrangement to a roundabout two years ago. This was done to try to make traffic off of busy I-285 somehow move better onto two-lane Riverside. Many people use Riverside to cut up to Johnson Ferry and commute into East Cobb. Unfortunately, the backup in PM drive from the right lane I-285/eastbound still stretches back about as far as it did with a traffic light. But, there are definitely very few crashes in the interchange. Do not be intimidated by roundabouts. Just follow the few simple rules and embrace them. They are much more cost-effective ways to help traffic than stringing up signals and paving more lanes. But this is Atlanta and embracing the concept of traffic actually moving can seem foreign. » RELATED: Georgia DOT held groundbreaking new Diverging Diamond Interchange Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@coxinc.com.
  • One complaint that arises, as schools reopen every August, is about how commutes out of neighborhoods are significantly longer. School buses stop every so often and carpool lines at schools spill out onto and clog up major roads. Schools being in session no doubt impact the commute in many areas, reaching far beyond those school safety zones. The school calendar is arguably the biggest factor in the Metro Atlanta commute. But Georgia Commute Options says that the trick to a better commute is actually more buses.  » RELATED: Gridlock Guy: This rule for sharing road with school bus just changed National School Bus Safety Week just concluded and GCO has partnered with the National Association of Pupil Transportation to promote both of their initiatives: better commutes and safety. GCO managing director Malika Reed Wilkins, PhD., wants to encourage parents to start putting their kids on school buses, instead of driving them singularly to their schools. “Our direct tie-in is about parents having their kids ride the bus,” Wilkins said. “It’s safer to ride the bus, actually 70 times more safe.” Wilkins also said each school bus takes approximately 36 vehicles off the roadways, improving both the commute and air quality. And school buses provide more reliable arrival and departure times for our youngest commuters. Each annual National School Bus Week has a theme or focus. “This year is ‘My Driver, My Safety Hero,’ which focuses on those drivers that are transporting literally hundreds of thousands of students in the region on school buses every day,” Wilkins explained. Students choose the National School Bus Safety Week theme each year and this year’s winner is from Henry County. “It’s very near and dear to our heart that the winner of a national contest came right here from Georgia, so we’re even more excited about the promotion this year.” » RELATED: Gridlock Guy: Your craftiness at the wheel may be making things worse But school buses aren’t the only concern for GCO and the school commute. Wilkins said they are promoting carpooling, another option to reduce congestion in those constricted school zones. And if parents cannot find others with which to share the driving burden, GCO has a carpool-matching service. Wilkins recommended that when parents bring their children to school, whether singularly or in a pool, to not idle in the carpool lanes. That pointless running of engines creates extra fumes that are bad for the surrounding environment and especially for the health of the kids. Teachers and other school employees that have to work that lane each day get the brunt of the extra exhaust, so their health should also be considered. For parents or anyone that wants more information on Georgia Commute Options, the services they provide, and information on school buses and commuting, visit GACommuteOptions.com or find them on various social media. Wilkins sums the campaign up: “It’s really a win-win, in terms of promoting another commuting option and a safer way to get to school.” » RELATED: Students safer, but some question school bus camera use Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@coxinc.com.
  • We are upon the busiest time of year on the Atlanta roads. The height of the spring and fall semesters understandably sees the most delays, as schools and activities are in full swing. The heavier the volume is, the worse the consequences are when drivers make mistakes. A recent New York Times article summarized some common driving habits and how they cause unnecessary delays. » RELATED: Gridlock Guy: Tips for drivers new to Atlanta traffic Columnist Malia Wollan talked to Northwestern University professor of transportation engineering Hani Mahmassani and garnered several helpful tips for drivers to deploy. These tips not only help the driver, but also make the whole ecosystem flow better. And that is where we should begin. Driving solo psychologically dupes us into anti-ecosystem behavior. As author Tom Vanderbilt explained in his 2009 book, “Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do,” we react at and against people in traffic like we never would if they cut us off in a grocery store line, because layers of steel and glass separate us and put us in our own bubbles. If we simply drove with more courtesy — more give and take — everything would flow better. And we would have the added benefit of being better humans. Mahmassani told Wollan that a first step a driver should take is by avoiding lanes with big rigs in them, because those semis cannot accelerate as quickly. That is easier said than done in Atlanta, as tractor trailers dot just about every lane on our freeways. Mahmassani also advises simply staying out of the right lane, as that is where most merging and exiting occurs. When making that lane change (this may seem like common sense), don’t just meander into the lane. Try to accelerate to a speed as fast, if not faster, than than the cars approaching in the new lane. Causing others to slow down actually amplifies the delay several cars back, in an effect called “shock wave,” Wollan said. But even in doing so the correct way, the act of changing lanes itself creates more traffic. This friction builds on itself, as others react to the delays in front of them by either braking hard or changing lanes themselves. Transportation engineers, including Mahmassani, tend to say that holding your line — staying in your lane — is the best policy for all traffic moving better. » RELATED: Driving tips that can help us in life This is a problem that autonomous driving technology hopes to alleviate. By eliminating the human element, driverless vehicles can communicate with each other and only make objective decisions. If these cars hold their lines, traffic will move better. Without fallible humans, these cars can even run right in front of and behind each other, creating more capacity on the roads. But the bugs haven’t been worked out of these vehicles just yet and the cost is too high for every person to scrap their car for a new one. So the ball is back in our court. One final tip may be the most obvious — but people just need to get going. Whether rubberneckers slow for no reason to look at the first set of police lights they have ever seen or Georgia drivers are illegally checking their phones when traffic stops, we all need to simply commute more decisively. Call it smooth urgency. Have awareness of your surroundings. If people are bottling up behind you, speed up or change lanes. The less abrupt and erratic the maneuver, the more smoothly traffic will flow. The faster one gets back to the gas when traffic starts moving, the less the delays will be behind them. These traffic tips may seem so common sense that they are patronizing. But people, including me, violate them all the time. As Wollan said, we should drive as if part of a formation of geese. Stay in line and keep moving. Deviations cause delays. We may zig and zag to give ourselves the perception that we are making up time, but we often are not. Holding our line and being less crafty could go further than we think to making our commutes better. » RELATED: Atlanta school traffic: Tips to keep your kids safe Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@coxinc.com.
  • Atlanta traffic bears an inevitability and conjures a resignation. Very few events curb it. Finished road projects may beat it back, but population growth beckons the gridlock again. Rain causes it. Sun causes it. The parallax of stop and go traffic allows that it will always stop again - somewhere or sometime. That “stop” doesn’t need much of an invitation to show up at the banquet and bring its friends. » RELATED: Heavy congestion continues in metro Atlanta; temps hover in low 70s With so many road projects constantly in place to eventually improve Atlanta’s road system, the delays they cause are mandatory. But the goal for any road or lane closure should be to, at most costs, minimize the impact on the commute. This thinking is why driving on weekends is so miserable: because weekday commutes are seen as sacred. But even this thinking on weekends gets taken to the extreme juxtaposition, as evidenced by the three or four left lanes blocked each way on I-75 in Marietta the last few weekends. The delays from that were terrible. And while more could have been done to alert motorists of the impending doom and news outlets could have underlined it, the delays at least stayed well out of rush hour. This has not been the case during several recent weeknight or midday projects. Crews on I-85/southbound in north Gwinnett had to stay out far into an AM drive last month. The reason is because a tack machine got too far ahead of the rest of the crew and the lane wasn’t dry until morning drive was half-over. The delays were awful. Just this past Tuesday, a striping machine broke. So, lane-paint on I-285/westbound (Outer Loop) between Ashford Dunwoody Road (exit 29) and Riverside Drive (exit 24) stayed wet and crews had to leave the four left lanes closed until into the 6 a.m. hour. Their picking up the closure also went painstakingly slow - it took close to an hour. I flew over this in the WSB Skycopter, as I-285 backed up all the way to I-85, thus jamming I-85/southbound from Gwinnett and Peachtree Industrial/southbound, too. » RELATED: How bad is Atlanta traffic? It depends on how you look at it A lane closure on I-675/southbound at Highway 138 in Stockbridge lasted late into PM drive a couple of weeks ago. That caused a big backup also and the explanation there was also pavement that did not dry. These delayed re-openings all had explanations: equipment or paving failures. Just bad luck or human error caused the lane closures to remain in place past the deadlines. But then there are other closures that are perplexing. For example, paving crews in Lawrenceville recently have stayed out through PM drive on Highway 20/northbound north of Highway 316. This isn’t in the sticks, this is in a high traffic-density area. And they just continued this non-emergency work, rush hour be damned. Decisions like that are unacceptable. The Departments of Transportation on the state level and then down to the county levels need to enforce with iron might the sanctity of open roads during rush hours. And in doing so, they need to consider widening the windows of when drive times take place. No longer is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. a dead zone. Rush hours normally last longer and start earlier. And 5 a.m. needs to be the hard quitting time for overnight crews, because jams are often large when closures stay in place until or past 6 a.m. Yes, this never ending list of road projects leaves a damage trail of delays in the off hours also. And yes, GDOT could use more tact when they close lanes on weekends and how many they allow blocked at once. But at the very least, Atlanta traffic needs its rush hours are clear as possible. Traffic is bad enough on its own and when accidentals spoil it, without traffic professionals making mistakes and leaving lanes blocked. This continuously growing city cannot afford unnecessary lanes blocked. » RELATED: Photos: Weird things that have snarled Atlanta traffic Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@coxinc.com.
  • Metro Atlanta has had three cattle truck crashes in the last five months. As you may have gotten wind of (no reference to cow flatulence intended), a truck carrying 89 cattle tipped over on the I-285/eastbound (Inner Loop) ramp to I-75/northbound in Cobb at 3:30 a.m. Monday. 11 cows died in the melee, but many ran loose for hours. That Cobb Cloverleaf ramp stay closed until the afternoon, creating massive delays on I-285/northbound up from I-20 through AM drive. That sent extra traffic onto I-75/85/northbound, which then got terrible with a major wreck at 10th Street. Scared out of their bovine minds, cows ran loose on I-75 and I-285 and on side streets in the area. At least 10 cars hit them and got damage. One on the run seemed to object to Channel 2 Action News’ Steve Gehlbach’s phone video of it. Another charged at first responders, who were trying to guide it into a truck next to I-75. » RELATED: Gridlock Guy: What in the world went wrong on Peachtree this summer? At least two cows evaded authorities until Monday evening, meaning authorities had to allocate resources for close to 18 hours for this mess. Triple Team Traffic’s Alex Williams, Jill Nelson and I watched on the WSB Jam Cam on I-285/eastbound over the Chattahoochee River bridge as police corralled one against the right hand wall around 4 p.m. But it somehow got loose and hopped the wall, running down the hill and through the woods. Newschopper 2’s Jason Durden eventually spotted it from above taking a stroll in the Chattahoochee River.  After all this, my traffic cohort Ashley Frasca posed a great question to me: who has to pony up (pun intended) in major tie-ups like this? Do the offending drivers also have to pay for the giant time inconveniences they create? “In the case of an ‘at fault’ crash, trucking companies and large truck drivers are responsible for the damages they cause, just like other motorists operating passenger cars and light trucks,” a Georgia State Patrol spokesperson told the AJC and WSB. “Usually, these damages are paid by the company or the insurance carrier.” » RELATED: I-75 lane closures this weekend near SunTrust Park This is why investigations for commercial vehicle crashes can last even longer. Not only do big vehicles often create greater damage, but determining fault channels the giant bill in someone’s direction. But this principle also applies to the more common wrecks between passenger vehicles. If one damages the guardrail, the government isn’t supposed to be the party that pays. “If there is physical damage to the infrastructure associated with the crash, we have a third-party contract in place for claims,” GDOT spokesperson Natalie Dale explained. This outside company works on behalf of GDOT to collect damages from the offending party’s insurance company. With the numerous wrecks around town, those damage bills add up. Besides the physical cost of either repairing walls or hiring cowboys to wrangle steer (as occurred Monday), there is also the opportunity cost for thousands of motorists inconvenienced by a closure that someone caused. Don’t wait for a check on that. “We do not recall any situations where anyone has been paid for any ‘inconvenience time’ suffered because of a crash,” GSP said. And Dale echoed that same sentiment. Most Atlantans would have a small fortune if this was true and enforced. At the very least, we can rest assured that those found at fault in wrecks have to pay for the carnage caused and extra manpower needed to clean up messes. But take note that this fault can fall on a motorist that cuts off a tractor trailer or slams into the back of a HERO unit. With so many big trucks hauling freight through our metro area, we need to be extra cautious and give a wide berth around them. We knew the gridlock consequences and now we know that our insurance premiums can feel the consequences also. As of press time, we do not know whom Cobb Police faulted with Monday’s “Great Cow Escape” tumble. » RELATED: Gridlock Guy: What caused string of crashes on I-20? Doug Turnbull, the PM drive Skycopter anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB, is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at Doug.Turnbull@coxinc.com.

News

  • Congratulations to Atlanta Braves superstar Ronald Acuña, Jr. on winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award! Acuña finished 2018 with 26 home runs, a .293 batting average and 64 runs batted in. Ronnie ROY. Your 2018 NL Rookie of the Year: @ronaldacunajr24. pic.twitter.com/7b6UX7EIR9 — MLB (@MLB) November 12, 2018 The 20-year-old beat out Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Walker Buehler. Acuña is the first Braves player to win the NL Rookie of the Year Award award since Craig Kimbrel in 2011. Before that, Rafael Furcal won in 2000. 
  • A woman who owns land near where a deadly wildfire started in Northern California said Monday that Pacific Gas & Electric Co. sought access to her property just before the blaze started because the utility's power lines were causing sparks. It's still not clear what caused the massive fire that started Thursday, killing at least 29 people and destroying the Sierra Nevada foothill town of Paradise. PG&E has said it experienced a problem on an electrical transmission line near the site of the massive fire, minutes before the blaze broke out. The fire started on 64 acres of land in Pulga, California, owned by Betsy Ann Cowley. Cowley told The Associated Press she received an email from the utility on Wednesday telling her that crews needed to come to her property to work on the high-power lines because 'they were having problems with sparks.' PG&E declined to discuss the email when contacted by AP. Two days before the fire started, PG&E told customers in nine counties, including Butte County, that it might shut off their power Nov. 8 because of extreme fire danger. The fire started about 6:30 a.m. that morning. Later that day, PG&E said it had decided against a power cut because weather conditions did not warrant one.
  • The deadly wildfires whipping through California have killed more than 30 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. Officials are calling the fires the worst in state history. >> Read more trending news  Celebrities, such as Miley Cyrus, Martin Sheen, Gerard Butler and others, are not immune to the flames and have lost homes and property alongside average citizens.  One couple in particular, well-known car enthusiasts and collectors Gary and Diane Cerveny, reportedly lost an irreplaceable collection of classic and rare vehicles worth millions, according to Autoweek. Hotrod.com described the couple as “the best kind of car collectors” and called their collection “eclectic.”  There was a Ferrari Dino, a ’65 Pontiac GTO gasser, a ’66 Dodge Dart, a Marty Robbins NASCAR, a ’66 Dodge Charger, a ’71 Plymouth Barracuda, a ’97 Dodge Viper, a Studebaker kart hauler and perhaps the rarest car in the collection, the one-of-a-kind 1948 Norman Timbs Special. >> Related: Photos: California wildfires kill dozens, destroy entire town The dramatic streamliner was created in the 1940s by mechanical engineer Norman Timbs, according to Conceptcarz.com. The elegant, swooping custom car took over three years to build, then eventually disappeared. It was rediscovered in the desert in 2002 and restored. >> Related: Actor Martin Sheen flees Malibu wildfire; says little chance home survived The Cervenys kept their collection at a shop in Malibu, which has been ravaged by the wildfires.  
  • Georgia Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden told county election officials Monday to count absentee ballots even if they lack a voter’s date of birth, as long as the voter’s identity can be verified. Crittenden issued the instructions for county election officials as they face a Tuesday deadline to certify the results of the Nov. 6 election. [READ: Abrams sues for more time; Kemp's campaign says math is clear] Republican Brian Kemp holds the lead over Democrat Stacey Abrams in the race to become Georgia’s governor. Abrams would need to gain more than 20,000 votes to force the race into a runoff. Crittenden’s instructions could affect vote counting in Gwinnett County, where election officials rejected 1,587 mailed absentee ballots. Gwinnett has the largest number of potential uncounted absentee ballots for Abrams in the state. Many of Gwinnett’s rejections were because absentee ballots contained incorrect birthdate information or insufficient information on the return envelope. [READ: Bourdeaux files motion to delay election certification in 7th District race] Crittenden sent the letter after the State Election Board voted unanimously Sunday night to issue guidance for how local election officials should proceed with their counts. Her letter is meant to reinforce state laws and provide clarification to county election officials, according to the Secretary of State’s office. Rules about vote counting haven’t changed. “What is required is the signature of the voter and any additional information needed for the county election official to verify the identity of the voter,” Crittenden wrote. “Therefore, an election official does not violate [state law] when they accept an absentee ballot despite the omission of a day and month of birth ... if the election official can verify the identity of the voter.” [RUNOFF: Everything you need to know about Secretary of State race] Gwinnett County accounted for 31 percent of all Georgia’s rejected absentee ballots, often because of discrepancies with birth dates, addresses, signatures and insufficient information. Gwinnett Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash said she wasn’t surprised at the scrutiny Gwinnett has received because of “the role that both parties saw it playing in their success.” She defended the way the elections office has conducted its business. [READ: Kemp campaign calls Abrams' refusal to concede 'a disgrace to democracy'] “They always focus a lot on figuring out how to deal with the issues that arise,” Nash said last week, “and I have every expectation that they will do that this time around too.”  Gwinnett Elections Board Chairman Stephen Day, a Democrat, has also defended county staff. “There are definitely different political points of view [on the elections board], but we do agree that our staff has acted in the way that the law stated they should act,” Day said following Friday’s closed-door elections board meeting. “We do understand that there are different interpretations of that.”
  • No it wasn't a blue wave. But a week after the voting, Democrats are riding higher than they thought on Election Night. As vote counting presses on in several states, the Democrats have steadily chalked up victories across the country, firming up their grip on the U.S. House of Representatives and statehouses. The slow roll of wins has given the party plenty to celebrate. President Donald Trump was quick to claim victory for his party on Election Night. But the Democrats, who hit political rock bottom just two years ago, have now picked up at least 32 seats in the House — and lead in four more — in addition to flipping 7 governorships and 8 state legislative chambers. They are on track to lose perhaps two seats in the Senate in a year both parties predicted more. In fact, the overall results in the first nationwide election of the Trump presidency represent the Democratic Party's best midterm performance since Watergate. 'Over the last week we've moved from relief at winning the House to rejoicing at a genuine wave of diverse, progressive and inspiring Democrats winning office,' said Ben Wikler, Washington director of the liberal group MoveOn. The blue shift alters the trajectory of Trump's next two years in the White House, breaking up the Republican monopoly in Washington. It also gives Democrats stronger footing in key states ahead of the next presidential race and in the re-drawing of congressional districts — a complicated process that has been dominated by the GOP, which has drawn favorable boundaries for their candidates. Trump and his allies discounted the Democratic victories on Monday, pointing to GOP successes in Republican-leaning states. 'Thanks to the grassroots support for @realDonaldTrump and our party's ground game, we were able to #DefyHistory and make gains in the Senate!' Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel tweeted, citing Senate wins in Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota and Tennessee, among others. Indeed, just once in the past three decades had a sitting president added Senate seats in his first midterm election. But lost in McDaniel's assessment was the difficult 2018 Senate landscape for Democrats, who were defending 10 seats in states Trump carried just two years ago. Says Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez: 'I believe in facts. And the fact of the matter is, the Democratic Party had a historic night at the ballot box — and we are not resting,' Perez said in an interview, 'Our goal was to compete everywhere, to expand and re-shape the electorate everywhere — and that's exactly what we've done.' The Democrats found success by attracting support from women, minorities and college-educated voters. Overall, 50 percent of white college-educated voters and 56 percent of women backed Democrats nationwide, according to AP VoteCast, a wide-ranging survey of the electorate. Democrats featured historic diversity on the ballot. Their winning class includes Massachusetts' first African-American female member of Congress, Ayanna Presley, and Michigan's Rashida Talib and Ilhan Omar, the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, along with Kansas' Sharice Davids, the first lesbian Native American. They also won by running candidates with military backgrounds who openly embraced gun ownership, such as Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb and Maine's Jared Golden, who is poised to win his contest because of the state's ranked-choice voting system. The Democrats needed to gain 23 seats to seize the House majority. Once all the votes are counted, which could take weeks in some cases as absentees and provisional ballots are tallied, they could win close to 40. Democrats have not lost a single House incumbent so far. Yet they defeated Republican targets such as Reps. Mike Coffman of Colorado, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Carlos Curbelo of Florida and Dana Rohrabacher of California. They could win as many as 19 House races in districts carried by Trump two years ago, according to House Democrats' campaign arm. Ten House races remained too close for the AP to call as of Monday evening. Far more of the Senate landscape was decided early, although contests in Arizona, Florida and Mississippi remain outstanding. While there were notable statehouse Democratic losses in Iowa and Ohio, the party flipped governorships in seven states: Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada, Kansas, New Mexico and Maine. Republicans now control 25 governorships nationwide compared to 23 for Democrats. High-profile contests in Florida and Georgia remain outstanding, although Republicans hold narrow leads in both states. Overshadowed perhaps by the higher-profile statewide elections, Democratic gains in state legislatures could prove deeply consequential. Overall, they flipped state legislative chambers in eight states this midterm season, including Washington state's Senate in 2017. The others include the state Senates in Maine, Colorado, New York, New Hampshire and Connecticut in addition to the state Houses of Representatives in New Hampshire and Minnesota. With hundreds of races still too close to call, Democrats have gained at least 370 state legislative seats nationwide, according to the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee. The pickups include surprises in West Virginia, where Democrats knocked off the GOP majority leader-designate in the House and the majority leader in the Senate. 'We have elected a new generation of inspiring leaders and we know that a new era of democratic dominance is on the horizon,' said the committee's executive director Jessica Post. Still, Republicans will control the majority of state legislative chambers, governorships, the U.S. Senate and the White House. And even before the new Democrats take office, attention has begun to shift toward 2020. Many Democrats have yet to shake off the stinging losses of 2016. Publicly and privately, Democrats are lining up for the chance to take down Trump in two years. 'This is step one of a two-step process to right the ship,' Guy Cecil, chairman of the pro-Democrat super PAC Priorities USA, said of the midterms. 'Democrats have every reason to be optimistic.