It was a GOP wave. In a near-sweep of yesterday’s midterm elections, Republicans shifted the balance of power in the U.S. Senate, gaining at least seven seats, widened their majority in the House by at least 11 seats and defeated Democrats in 24 governor’s races.
“We are headed to Washington and we are going to make ’em squeal,” a triumphant Joni Ernst, Iowa’s newly elected Republican senator, told cheering supporters in West Des Moines.
President Obama had said his policies were on the ballot, even if he wasn’t, and in those terms it was difficult not to see the results as a repudiation by voters of an unpopular president and his Democratic allies.
“Americans … have risen up and retired Harry Reid as [Senate] majority leader,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said on Fox News at 2o minutes past midnight.
Cruz added: “Now that we have won the election it is incumbent on Republicans to stand up and lead. … Americans don’t necessarily trust Republicans; they’ve given us another chance.”
Votes still were being counted in Virginia and Alaska, but Republicans will take control of the Senate after netting seats in Iowa, West Virginia, Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, North Carolina and Arkansas.
In brief remarks, Republican challenger Scott Brown conceded the U.S. Senate race in New Jersey to incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen.
Republican Joni Ernst defeated Democrat Bruce Braley to win Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat, netting Republicans a seventh Senate seat — one more than needed to control the upper chamber.
“We are headed to Washington and we are going to make them squeal,” Ernst told supporters in West Des Moines.
Votes were still being counted in Virginia and Alaska, but the Republican Party will officially take control of the Senate, netting seats in Iowa, West Virginia, Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas and Kentucky.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who won re-election earlier tonight, is slated to take over as Senate majority leader in January
Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott beat Democratic challenger Charlie Crist in the Sunshine State. Crist, a former Republican, was governor of the Sunshine State from 2007 to 2011.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also escaped defeat tonight, beating Democrat Mary Burke.
Updated 10:04 p.m. Republicans netted their fifth Senate seat of sixth needed to take control with a win from Steven Daines in Montana, defeating Democrat Amanda Curtis.
Republicans also won in 12 governors races: Greg Abbott in Texas, Mary Fallin in Oklahoma, Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas, Robert Bentley in Alabama, Nikki Haley in South Carolina, Bill Haslam in Tennessee, Pete Ricketts in Nebraska, Dennis Daugaard in South Dakota, John Kasich in Ohio, Matt Mead in Wyoming, Susana Martinez in New Mexico and Terry Branstad in Iowa.
Democrats, meanwhile, have wins with Tom Wolf in Pennsylvania, who ousted Republican incumbent Tom Corbett, Andrew Cuomo in New York, Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire and Gina Raimondo in Rhode Island.
In Colorado, Republican Cory Gardner defeated incumbent Democrat Mark Udall, four the fourth net seat.
Republican Ben Sasse won the U.S. Senate seat held by Mike Johanns in Nebraska, beating Democrat Dave Domina. Johanns did not seek re-election.
“I commit to be about the big challenges before us – for we do not have time now to be distracted by the small issues,” Sasse told supporters.
In New Hampshire, incumbent Sen. Jeanne Shaheen beat Republican challenger Scott Brown, 52 percent to 48 percent in partial returns, holding the state for Democrats. The New Hampshire race was dubbed one of the hottest this election cycle.
Additionally, Sen. Mike Enzi, the Republican incumbent, beat Democrat Charlie Hardy in Wyoming.
So far, Republicans have won a total of 15 seats, giving them a total of 45 in the Senate. Democrats have won seven, with 41 seats total.
9:07 p.m. South Dakota Republican Mike Rounds beat Democrat Rick Weiland and Independent Larry Pressler, marking the third net gain for the GOP in the Senate.
Races were called for incumbent Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and incumbent Democratic Sen. Al Franken in Minnesota.
Democrat Gary Peters beat Republican Terri Lynn Land in Michigan. Peters maintained a 12-point lead over Land in the days before the election.
8:32 p.m. With the second U.S. Senate seat gained for Republicans, Tom Cotton ousted incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor in Arkansas. Republicans must win another four seats to become the majority party in the Senate.
In Delaware, Democratic incumbent Chris Coons was re-elected to the Senate.
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