Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran On The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act MORE (R-Ky.) said in his victory speech on Tuesday that his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes "earned his respect."

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McConnell defeated Grimes earlier Tuesday night and he would be poised to become the Senate majority leader should the GOP win back the Senate.

"It took a lot of guts," McConnell said of Grimes. "I admire her willingness to step into the arena and fight as hard as she did. ... She deserves a lot of credit for it. This was certainly a hard fought contest."