Elizabeth Warren handily defeated GOP Sen. Scott Brown in the closely-watched Massachusetts race.(Photo: Josh Reynolds, AP)
Democrats will maintain control of the U.S. Senate after their
candidates picked up Republican-held seats in Indiana, Maine and
Massachusetts, leaving the GOP no path to a takeover with the remaining
competitive races that remain undecided.
Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid, D-Nev., offered a conciliatory tone and called for
compromise as Congress faces a daunting series of fiscal challenges in
the months ahead.
"Democrats and Republicans must come together,
and show that we are up to the challenge," Reid said. "This is no time
for excuses. This is no time for putting things off until later. We can
achieve big things when we work together."
It is the second
election cycle in a row in which Republicans were favored to make gains
because they were defending fewer seats, only to see their chances
diminish because of missteps by their own candidates.
Cornyn, R-Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial
Committee, said the party needs to take some time to process the impact
of Tuesday's results.
"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," Cornyn
said. "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."
STORY: GOP keeps control of House
Indiana, Republican Richard Mourdock failed to recover from a late
controversy over his remarks at a debate that pregnancy resulting from
rape is "God's will" in explaining his opposition to abortion rights.
Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly was declared the winner by a narrow margin
in a victory that delivered a fatal blow to lingering GOP hopes for a
Harvard University professor and former Obama administration official
Elizabeth Warren handily defeated GOP Sen. Scott Brown in one of the
highest-profile races of the 2012 cycle, and the most costly in the
state's history. Her victory was critical to Democrats' efforts to
maintain control and hailed by liberal activists who supported her
In Maine, former Gov. Angus King sailed to victory
despite the GOP's best efforts to make it a competitive race. King ran
as an independent and has not said which party he intends to caucus
with, but he is widely expected to sit with Democrats in the chamber. To
that end, King criticized GOP strategist Karl Rove in his victory
speech for directing super PAC money into Maine in an effort to defeat
King. "I hope that man never comes to Maine," King said.
duo of Democratic re-election victories came in Ohio for Sen. Sherrod
Brown and in Florida for Sen. BIll Nelson, thwarting long-shot GOP
efforts for pick-ups in those states. Recent Democratic concerns about
Connecticut quickly evaporated after Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy
handily defeated former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon,
who spent nearly $100 million of her own fortune for a Senate seat in
2010 and 2012.
In Missouri, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who was targeted
heavily by Republicans, pulled out a convincing win against Republican
Rep. Todd Akin, whose campaign foundered after he claimed that women who
were victims of rape had a biological defense against becoming
Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine defeated Republican former governor and
senator George Allen in the hotly contested Virginia race, maintaining
the party's hold on the seat. Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin defeated
former GOP Gov. Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin and made history: She is the
first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate.
scored a rare victory in Nebraska, where Republican Deb Fischer defeated
former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey, who was seeking a comeback.
Fischer's victory was a GOP pick-up because the seat is currently held
by retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson. GOP Rep. Jeff Flake also handily
won in Arizona against Democrat Richard Carmona. Texas also elected
Republican Ted Cruz, a popular candidate among Tea Party activists.
Nevada, Democratic Rep. Shelley Berkley held a narrow lead over GOP
Sen. Dean Heller, another potential Democratic pick-up, but the race
remained tight. Republicans were also eyeing a potential pick-up in
North Dakota, where Democrat Heidi Heitkamp held a narrow lead over GOP
Rep. Rick Berg in a state Republican Mitt Romney won easily.
either Berkley or Heitkamp secures a victory, 2012 would make history
for sending a new record of non-incumbent freshman women senators to the
Senate. The record was set in 1996 when four new women were sent to the
Senate. Four women have already won including Baldwin, Fischer, Warren
and Democrat Mazie Hirono in Hawaii.
Montana was too close to
call in a race pitting incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester against GOP
Rep. Denny Rehberg in a state Romney carried comfortably.
were 33 Senate seats up for re-election, 23 Democrats and 10
Republicans, and most incumbents were favored to win handily. Five
Republican senators and 17 Democratic senators faced no real re-election
threat. With Republicans maintaining control of the U.S. House,
Congress will be divided by near-identical margins next year.