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GOP Takes Control of Senate

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Graphic showing change in balance of power in the Senate.

A Republican tide ripped the Senate away from Democrats on Tuesday, according to CNN projections, giving the GOP full control of Congress and the power to pin down President Barack Obama during his last two years in office.

The thumping upends the balance of power between the White House and Capitol Hill only six years after Obama’s Democrats swept to power and marginalized Republicans in a rush to reform health care, Wall Street and pass a huge stimulus package.

Now, it’s Democrats who will take the back seat on Capitol Hill, relying mostly on the power of the filibuster to stymie Republicans and keep Obama’s legacy intact.

“For too long, this administration has tried to tell the American people what is good for them and then blame somebody else when their policies didn’t work out,” Mitch McConnell, who is expected to become the next Senate majority leader, said in a victory speech.

House Speaker John Boehner said he is “humbled by the responsibility the American people have placed with us.”

“But this is not a time for celebration,” he said. “It’s time for government to start getting results and implementing solutions to the challenges facing our country, starting with our still-struggling economy.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has controlled the chamber since 2007, congratulated Republicans on their victory.

“The message from voters is clear: they want us to work together,” Reid said. “I look forward to working with Senator McConnell to get things done for the middle class.”

Democratic fears of a rough night came true, as party candidates struggled to defend seats won in the 2008 Obama wave in conservative territory, and couldn’t get out from under an unpopular president limping through his second term.

Republicans sent an early signal of intent when Mitch McConnell, who is now expected to fulfill his ambition to become Senate majority leader next year, quickly dispatched his opponent Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky.

The GOP then piled up wins in Colorado, Iowa, Montana, South Dakota, Arkansas, West Virginia and North Carolina — all seats that had been in Democratic hands — to hit their magic number of six net gains.

They also managed to hold on to seats in Kansas and Georgia, which had threatened to fall from their grasp and complicate the Senate math.

Republicans, who also widened their majority in the House of Representatives, will now look with some optimism on the 2016 presidential election.

But Democrats will console themselves with a more favorable Senate map in two years time and the belief that shifting demographics and an unresolved war between the Republican grassroots and the party establishment will make the next presidential race a tough climb for the GOP.

Virginia

Adding to the bad for Democrats, Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner is having a tougher ride than expected against Republican challenger Ed Gillespie in a state Democrats had thought was reliably theirs after Obama won it twice.

The Democratic loss in Colorado, where Sen. Mark Udall went down to Republican Cory Gardner, was particularly significant.

The party had believed that Colorado’s legions of young people, women and Hispanic voters had turned the state solidly blue. Udall’s loss also challenges Obama’s suggestion earlier Tuesday that Democrats only lost because they faced an almost impossible map of Senate re-election races in solid Republican territory.

Florida

In Florida, top officials with both campaigns tell CNN’s Mark Preston that Charlie Crist has called Florida Gov. Rick Scott to concede. Earlier in the night, a judge denied a request from Crist to extend voting in Broward County by two hours because of several breakdowns in voting systems.

Close races

Runoff elections, meanwhile, will be needed in Louisiana, according to a CNN projection, after neither Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu or GOP challenger Bill Cassidy reached the 50% threshold to win outright.

Republican Joni Ernst has won the race for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin, defeating Democratic challenger Bruce Braley, according to a CNN projection

Governor’s races

Several key governor’s races also were being decided.

In Pennsylvania, Democrat Tom Wolf unseated Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in a marquee race, CNN projected. In Kansas, Gov. Sam Brownback is in danger of losing amid a backlash against his hardcore conservatism. And liberal Massachusetts could elect a Republican governor.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich easily won reelection in a perennial presidential swing state, a result that could build buzz for a possible White House run.

CNN’s Miguel Marquez, Nick Valencia, Paul Vercammen, Mary Kay Mallonnee and Ashley Killough contributed to this story.

12 comments

  • wavettore

    It must be funny for some to see everyone rushing to the right and to the left, running political campaigns and elections when they already know that everything is fixed right from the start. Why these masquerades when it is clear that Jeb Bush will be at the White House in 2016 and all the promises made by these State politicians will hold no value? Today a widespread turmoil and a growing social discontent should be viewed in a larger context and not simply within the walls of local politics. We are now experiencing one of the stages of a World conspiracy and wherever you are in the World you are also part of it. Don’t let the media fool you. The conspiracy is not a theory. With 2.3 trillion dollars officially declared missing by the Bush administration one day before 9/11 and 2 more trillions stolen between the “Savings and Loan” affair and Enron a few Zionists like the Bush family and Dov Zakheim are now waiting for the total collapse of the world financial system and a World War of Religions. They maneuver from behind the scene while they prepare for 2016. They invest their money to generate chaos, terror and despair in all places setting an idyllic stage for Jeb Bush.

    Once you recognized the objective of the Conspiracy all the rest will be easy to comprehend and to foresee. Besides, it will make no more sense to continue to play Monopoly when somebody has already stolen all the money.

    http://www.wavevolution.org/en/humanwaves.html

    • Harold Peedmont

      I am going to assume that your use of the term “Zionists” implies that you are an anti-Semite. Your jealousy of the wealth earned by the Jewish community should be redirected at the liberals for trying to tax them out of business. For those of us fortunate to work for those same Jewish entrepreneurs we applaud their frugal nature and seek to learn from their good business sense. Are there political conspiracies out there? You bet there are…but the Jews are not the ones to be afraid of-the liberals are and the American voters have just spoken loudly and decisively on the matter.

  • Bill

    Ross Perot was the last chance for the country, in 1992

    Pat Buchanan, of the Nixon and Reagan administrations, called the 2 parties ‘2 wings, of the same bird’

  • Bill

    No one really runs away from anything. It’s like a private trap that holds us in like a prison. You know what I think? I think that we’re all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other, and for all of it, we never budge an inch.

    Norman Bates summed up our political system, in 1960

  • RS

    Not going to change the gridlock in Congress. Now the “no” party will become the Democrats. There’s not enough a majority in the Senate for the Republicans to be confident of always passing their policies. Political blame will now shift to the President being ‘obstructionist’ by vetoing bills, and senate Democrats “thwarting the will of the majority”. Funny how checks and balances is only good when it’s convenient to which ever party is doing the complaining.

    • so be it

      The Dems have been the obstructionists all along. The House would pass a bill and Reed wouldn’t allow a vote on it. Maybe now something will happen if Obama and the Republicans can negotiate. Remember, Clinton had an all Republican Congress. But he would at least give and take.

  • Rebecca Hergert

    If the Republicans/Steve King/Joni Ernst want people off of welfare/limited on disability. Then you need to bring the factory jobs back, like Maytag in Newton!!
    There is no middle class no more. Look at Detroit There is no Detroit!! (Micheal Moore-said this 10 yrs ago)
    You got to get the gas prices/food prices down. Way down, cause wages don’t go up, but food prices go up!!
    I have done some volunteer work the last 2 yrs & people are hurting.
    THE REPUBLICANS CAN’T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS HERE!!!

    • Harold Peedmont

      Rebecca Hergert-

      You are quite right…just like the liberals cannot have both prosperity for the “poor” and “middle class” (both communist terms used to create class conflict) by seizing the fruits of labor from the “rich” (another communist term) by redistributing assets to those who have not worked for them, and a thriving economy. Of course people are hurting-they always do when wealth redistribution is forced upon the economy. If you would like to transfer YOUR wages, earnings and assets to others so they can be on a level financial situation with you, knock yourself out, but leave the rest of us alone, since many of us realize that you can never train a child having a temper tantrum patience and ethics by appeasing his demands any more than you can motivate someone receiving oodles of public (read that “taxpayer-subsidized) benefits to advance their skillsets and seek out meaningful employment by starting where most of us began (read entry-level positions) and working your way past where many would like to remain while whining for a “living wage” for low-skilled work. There are plenty of places to start, too, since the only “jobs” created by the liberals are just that, entry-level. Do you really think that gas and grocery prices are set or jobs like Maytag are resurrected by simple decree? Please spend some time studying economics-there is a great book on basic economics written by Milton Friedman that will be life-changing for you if you are willing to invest the time. It is an easy read and will be a memorable reference point for your critical-thinking skills if you take it to heart. I mean no disrespect to you-my purpose is to open your eyes as mine were opened. By the way-thank you for your service to the less fortunate.

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