Reid congratulates McConnell
© Greg Nash

Sen. Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidMcConnell goes hands-off on coronavirus relief bill Kamala Harris to young Black women at conference: 'I want you to be ambitious' Obama calls filibuster 'Jim Crow relic,' backs new Voting Rights Act bill MORE (D-Nev.) congratulated Sen. Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter Coronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority Coronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal MORE (R-Ky.) shortly before midnight Tuesday on becoming the next majority leader of the Senate after Republicans clinched control with victories in Iowa and North Carolina.

"I'd like to congratulate Sen. 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 Sen. McConnell to get things done for the middle class," Reid said in a statement.

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The Senate Republican Conference will convene next week to elect McConnell as majority leader but the vote is considered a mere formality. McConnell has wide support among GOP colleagues even though Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOn The Trail: Pence's knives come out Pat Fallon wins GOP nomination in race to succeed DNI Ratcliffe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Negotiators 'far apart' as talks yield little ahead of deadline MORE (R-Texas), his chief critic, on Tuesday again declined to say whether he would vote for him.

Reid has served as majority leader since Democrats captured the Senate in the 2006 midterm elections and has vowed to run for reelection in 2016.

His spokesman told The Hill last month that he would stay on as Senate Democratic leader regardless of the outcome of the elections.

Senate Democratic aides said Reid’s leadership was not to blame for the party’s bad night, pointing instead at historical trends and President Obama’s low approval rating.

“We succumbed to the historic inevitability of a midterm of an incumbent president’s second-term election. A lot of really good people have lost seats and that’s terrible,” said an aide after media outlets reported control of the chamber flipped.

“The market's at an all-time high. Unemployment is under 6 percent. The economy, despite a lot of frustrations, is humming along. I don’t have any other explanation than history,” the aide said.

McConnell’s Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, called him early in the evening to offer her congratulations, according to a source close to McConnell’s campaign who described the conversation as “cordial.”