Democrats to retain control of Senate

Democrats will retain control of the Senate next year, having picked up seats in Massachusetts, Indiana and Maine along with holding on to several of their endangered incumbents who were in tough races.

It's a switch from the beginning of the cycle, when the party was seen as in trouble as they were defending more seats than Republicans.

But the recruitment of strong candidates and several gaffes on behalf of GOP challengers helped Democrats keep the upper chamber.

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"When we started this campaign, no one, and I mean no one gave us a chance," said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairwoman Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats turn on Al Franken VA slashes program that helps homeless veterans obtain housing: report The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Wash.) in a statement on Tuesday night. "But we went out and built the best Senate campaigns in the history of the country. We recruited some of the highest quality candidates, including a record number of women. Democrats never let up and now we will retain our majority in the United States Senate." 

National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Sen. John CornynJohn CornynMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Air Force makes criminal reporting changes after Texas massacre We need a better pathway for allowing civilians to move guns across state lines MORE (R-Texas) said the results meant the GOP needed to do some soul-searching.

"It’s clear that with our losses in the Presidential race, and a number of key Senate races, we have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead for the Republican Party.  While some will want to blame one wing of the party over the other, the reality is candidates from all corners of our GOP lost tonight.  Clearly we have work to do in the weeks and months ahead," he said in a statement.

He also warned Democrats that "they should not over-read their mandate as reflected by the almost evenly-divided popular vote."

Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidBill O'Reilly: Politics helped kill Kate Steinle, Zarate just pulled the trigger Tax reform is nightmare Déjà vu for Puerto Rico Ex-Obama and Reid staffers: McConnell would pretend to be busy to avoid meeting with Obama MORE (D-Nev.), who will keep his spot in the 113th Congress, extended an olive branch to House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerJohn Feehery: A political forest fire Trump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery MORE (R-Ohio) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters MORE (R-Ky.).

“I look at the challenges that we have ahead of us and I reach out to my Republican colleagues in the Senate and the House. Let’s come together. We know what the issues are, let’s solve them,” he told a boisterous audience packing the ballroom of the Liaison hotel, where Democratic congressional leaders were spending election night.

They had much to celebrate.

The party had a major victory with Democrat Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Tech: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court fight | Warren backs bid to block AT&T, Time Warner merger | NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE's victory in Massachusetts over Republican Sen. Scott Brown. Both parties were heavily invested in the race: Democrats wanted to win back the seat once held by the late-Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), and Republicans desperately wanted to hold it.

Democrats also picked up seats in Indiana and in Maine.

Rep. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (D-Ind.) beat Republican Richard Mourdock, who defeated longtime Sen. Dick Lugar in the GOP primary. Mourdock hurt himself with controversial comments about his opposition to abortion in cases of rape or incest.

In Maine, Independent candidate Angus KingAngus Stanley KingTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting Trump pushing Maine gov to run for Senate: report Schumer: Franken should resign MORE won and is expected to caucus with the Democrats, which would turn retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe's (R-Maine) seat blue.

Meanwhile, Sens. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillDemocrats turn on Al Franken Trump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Mo.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Overnight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules MORE (D-Ohio), both top GOP targets, won reelection. McCaskill, who was considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats earlier this year, was boosted by GOP rival Todd Akin's controversial comments on rape.

And Democrat Tim KaineTimothy Michael KaineDemocrats turn on Al Franken Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE won in Virginia, defeating former GOP Sen. George Allen, to keep retiring Sen. Jim Webb's (D-Va.) seat. Rep. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senators introduce bipartisan gun background check bill Dem senator: 'Super close' on bipartisan deal on guns MORE (D-N.M.) won his contest, keeping retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman's (D-N.M.) seat in Democratic hands.

Polls have closed in Montana and North Dakota — where two competitive contests have not been called. But even if the GOP picks up the two states, it would not be enough to hand them control of the upper chamber. Republicans needed a net gain of four seats — since President Obama won reelection — to take control of the upper chamber.

Republican Rep. Rick Berg said late Tuesday night he will not concede the North Dakota Senate race to Democrat Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE until the state completes its recount process, which would be next Tuesday. The race between the two is tight with Heitkamp up by nearly 3,000 votes with about 98 percent of the state reporting early Wednesday morning.

Democrats also held onto Connecticut's Senate seat and Wisconsin's Senate seat. Rep. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Senate passes tax overhaul, securing major GOP victory Dem senator compares GOP tax bill to unicorns, Tupac conspiracy theories MORE (D-Conn.) defeated Republican Linda McMahon, who also lost a Senate bid in 2010. Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent who caucuses with Democrats, is retiring. In Wisconsin, Rep. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinDemocrats turn on Al Franken The Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (D) defeated Republican Tommy Thompson, the popular former governor. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) is retiring.

And Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonOvernight Health Care: Ryan's office warns he wasn't part of ObamaCare deal | House conservatives push for mandate repeal in final tax bill | Dem wants probe into CVS-Aetna merger Ryan's office warning he wasn't part of deal on ObamaCare: source Overnight Health Care: Funding bill could provide help for children's health program | Questions for CVS-Aetna deal | Collins doubles funding ask for ObamaCare bill MORE (D-Fla.) won reelection, defeating Republican Rep. Connie Mack.

The Connecticut seat looked more promising for the GOP as the election approached. McMahon ran a strong campaign — much better than her 2010 effort — and was gaining on Murphy in the polls. In Florida, Republicans had hoped for a stronger candidacy from Mack.

Republicans made a strong push for Thompson in Wisconsin, with GOP running mate Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus campaigning for him. But Thompson faced a tough GOP primary from which he emerged broke and exhausted.

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Dems look to use Moore against GOP MORE Jr. (D-Pa.), who faced a tough, last-minute surge from wealthy businessman Tom Smith, also won reelection. Rep. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoDemocrats turn on Al Franken The Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (D-Hawaii) defeated Republican Linda Lingle, holding on to retiring Sen. Daniel Akaka's (D-Hawaii) seat for Democrats.

One bright spot for the GOP was in Nebraska, where Republican Deb FischerDebra (Deb) Strobel FischerUS trade deficit rises on record imports from China Flake, GOP senators to meet with Trump on trade Senate nixes provision boosting conservative college after uproar MORE beat former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.), taking retiring Sen. Ben Nelson's (D-Neb.) seat for her party. Also Rep. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat Sasse: RNC help for Roy Moore 'doesn't make any sense' Sasse calls RNC decision to resume support for Moore 'bad' and 'sad' MORE (R-Ariz.) defeated Democrat Richard Carmona in a tough race to keep retiring Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-Ariz.) seat. And Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerDems look to use Moore against GOP Senate hearing shows Fed chair nominee acts the part Senate GOP votes to begin debate on tax bill MORE (R-Neb.) won against Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.).

Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump rips Dems a day ahead of key White House meeting Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank Wealthy outsiders threaten to shake up GOP Senate primaries MORE (D-W.V.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDems demand Tillerson end State hiring freeze, consult with Congress Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' Dems put hold on McFarland nomination over contradictory testimony: report MORE (D-Md.), Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Overnight Cybersecurity: Mueller probe cost .7M in early months | Senate confirms Homeland Security nominee | Consumer agency limits data collection | Arrest in Andromeda botnet investigation Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE (D-Del.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Energy: Watchdog probes Pruitt speech to mining group | EPA chief promises to let climate scientists present their work | Volkswagen manager gets 7 years for emissions cheating EPA head pledges to protect climate scientists MORE (D-R.I.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFranken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics MORE (Minn.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandDemocrats turn on Al Franken Report: Franken will resign Thursday Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign MORE (N.Y.),  Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Blumenthal: ‘Credible case' of obstruction of justice can be made against Trump MORE (Calif.), Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellAvalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Week ahead: Trump expected to shrink two national monuments Live coverage: Senate Republicans pass tax bill MORE (Wash.), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate ethics panel resumes Menendez probe after judge declares mistrial Judge declares mistrial in Menendez bribery case Menendez jury deadlocked, ordered to keep trying MORE (N.J.), and Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Democrats to Trump: Ask Forest Service before shrinking monuments MORE (Mich.) all won reelection, as did Republican Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerFormer Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report McConnell 'almost certain' GOP will pass tax reform Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' MORE (Tenn.), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerSenator predicts Congress will wrap up tax work in two weeks The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on Senate tax bill US warship collides with Japanese tug boat MORE (Miss.), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' in 2018 Utah governor calls Bannon a 'bigot' after attacks on Romney MORE (Utah) and John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoScalise: House, Senate ‘pretty close’ on tax bill Top GOP senator: House and Senate 'not that far apart' on tax bill Sunday shows preview: Republicans take victory lap on taxes MORE (Wyo.).

Republican candidate Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDebbie Wasserman Schultz marks 10 years as breast cancer survivor Foreign agent registration is no magical shield against Russian propaganda Let Trump be Trump and he'll sail through 2020 MORE, a Tea Party favorite, won a Texas Senate seat.

— This story was originally posted at 8:12 p.m. and last updated at 3:24 a.m.