Republicans win Senate control

 

Republicans have clinched Senate control in an election night that saw Democrats around the country crushed by the growing unpopularity of President Obama.

Democratic losses piled up throughout the night, with the GOP securing a Senate majority before midnight as Sen. Kay HaganKay HaganClinton's lead in NC elevates Senate race Democratic National Convention event calendar 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016 MORE lost in North Carolina and Republican Joni Ernst won an open seat in Iowa.

Incumbent Democrats also fell in House and gubernatorial races, adding to the scale of the party's defeat. High-profile Democratic targets including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) prevailed, and the party failed to pick up a single Senate seat. 

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The GOP needed to gain six seats to win the majority, and had already gained seven seats before polls even closed in Alaska. There, Republican Dan Sullivan has opened a lead over Sen. Mark BegichMark BegichRyan's victory trumps justice reform opponents There is great responsibility being in the minority Senate GOP deeply concerned over Trump effect MORE (D) with nearly all of the vote counted. 

Republicans won open seats held by Democrats in Montana, West Virginia, Iowa and South Dakota, and knocked off incumbents in North Carolina, Arkansas and Colorado.

Their majority could grow larger — Sen. Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuFive reasons the Trump campaign is in deep trouble Louisiana gov: Trump helped 'shine a spotlight' on flood recovery Giuliani: Trump 'more presidential' than Obama in Louisiana visit MORE (D-La.) will be the underdog in a runoff election in December against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. Sen. Mark WarnerMark WarnerDem senator's daughter could face Congress over EpiPen price hike Judge rejects settlement in major Uber driver status case Fidelity denies lobbying for student loan tax break MORE (D-Va.) was also clinging to a razor-thin lead in Virginia that appeared headed for a recount.

If both Sullivan and Cassidy eventually prevail, that margin could grow to nine seats netted by the GOP by the end of the cycle. 

Sen. Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellJuan Williams: Trump's race politics will destroy GOP Rank-and-file Republicans fear lame-duck vote on pricey funding bill Clinton, Trump sharpen attacks MORE (R-Ky.) easily won his reelection fight, and the other wins ensure he will fulfill his long-held dream of becoming Senate majority leader.

McConnell was declared the victor in his closely watched race as soon as polls closed in the Bluegrass State, defeating Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes to earn a sixth term. Democrats had early hopes for the Kentucky secretary of State's candidacy, but her campaign couldn't take advantage of the senator's unpopularity in the state. 

McConnell had to wait for several more hours to learn which way Senate control would fall. But the GOP leader's counterpart admitted just before midnight that Democrats had been ushered from power. 

"I'd like to congratulate Senator McConnell, who will be the new Senate Majority Leader. The message from voters is clear: they want us to work together. I look forward to working with Senator McConnell to get things done for the middle class," said now-Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidDems' Florida Senate primary nears its bitter end Trump haunts McCain's reelection fight 10 most expensive House races MORE (D-Nev.). 

The change in power means that Obama will spend the last two years of his presidency dealing with an emboldened all-Republican Congress that intends to challenge him on major legislation and, in the words of McConnell, take the country in a “new direction.”

Hagan's loss to state Speaker Thom Tillis was one of the most surprising results of the night, and her fall sealed the Democratic Party's 2014 fate.

Arkansas Sen. Mark PryorMark PryorCotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Top Democrats are no advocates for DC statehood MORE (D) was the first incumbent to fall on Tuesday. Freshman Rep. Tom CottonTom CottonState: US concerned about missile defense system at Iranian uranium facility GOP senators argue DOJ pressured Aetna on ObamaCare Trump, GOP see gold in Clinton Foundation attacks MORE (R) handily defeated the centrist lawmaker in a state that has slipped rapidly away from Democrats in recent years.

Colorado Rep. Cory GardnerCory GardnerPoliticians share pup pics for National Dog Day GOP senator: Anti-fossil fuel candidates ‘not fit’ for federal office GOP rips 'reckless' Gitmo transfers MORE (R) knocked off Sen. Mark UdallMark UdallColorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open Energy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium MORE (D), defying Democratic cries that their vaunted ground game would save the vulnerable incumbent. 

Republicans also picked up a Democrat-held open seat in West Virginia with Rep. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Moore CapitoFidelity denies lobbying for student loan tax break Week ahead: Clinton, Dems to tout green agenda at convention Company announces closure of Ohio coal plants MORE's (R) easy victory. 

South Dakota flipped to the GOP column after former Gov. Mike Rounds (R) won the open seat of retiring Democratic Sen. Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonFormer GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting Housing groups argue Freddie Mac's loss should spur finance reform On Wall Street, Dem shake-up puts party at crossroads MORE (D). The three-way race had become a late headache for the GOP with the addition of former GOP Sen. Larry Pressler (I), but with Republican attention and help the race turned again in Republicans' favor. 

Rep. Steve Daines (R) then won the open Democratic-held seat in Montana. 

Republican leaders crowed over the victory, arguing voters had sent a strong signal about which party they want in control in Washington.

"The American people have put their trust in the Republican Party, sending a GOP majority to the U.S. Senate. I want to congratulate all our candidates tonight," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. "Our party's principles and message resonated with voters across the country. This was a rejection of President Obama's failed polices and Harry Reid's dysfunctional Senate."

This post was updated at 5:02 a.m. on November 5. 

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