Politics

November 7, 2012

Democrats maintain control of Senate

Despite a weak economy, Democrats actually had a chance to increase their lead in the Senate. "We have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead for the Republican Party," says one Republican leader.

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Democrats handily secured a majority in the Senate on Tuesday, snatching Republican-held seats in Massachusetts and Indiana and turning back fierce, expensive challenges in Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin and Connecticut to maintain the control they've held since 2007.

click image to enlarge

Democrat Elizabeth Warren, center, waves to the crowd with her husband Bruce Mann, left, during an election night rally at the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel in Boston after Warren defeated incumbent GOP Sen. Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

click image to enlarge

Newley-elected Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy celebrates his win with wife Cathy Holahan Murphy over Republican Linda McMahon in Hartford, Conn., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Related headlines

With a third of the Senate up for election, Republicans were undone by candidate stumbles. GOP hopefuls in Missouri and Indiana uttered clumsy statements about rape and abortion that severely damaged their chances and the party's hopes of taking over. The losses of Senate seats in Massachusetts and Indiana, combined with independent Angus King's victory in the Republican-held Maine seat, put the GOP too far down in their already uphill climb.

Democrats held open seats in Virginia, Wisconsin and New Mexico, and were leading in North Dakota shortly after midnight. The only pickup for the Republicans was Nebraska, where Deb Fischer denied former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey's bid to return to the Capitol.

Democrats, once on the wrong side of the political math with 23 seats at risk compared with only 10 for the GOP, suddenly looked like they could increase their numbers. They entered the night with a 53-47 edge, including two independents who caucus with them. After midnight, Democrats controlled 52 seats to the GOP's 44 with three races still outstanding and one newly elected independent, Angus King of Maine, saying he hasn't decided which party he will align with.

In charge again, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Republicans brought defeat on themselves with their preoccupation with denying President Barack Obama a second term.

"Things like this are what happens when your No. 1 goal is to defeat the president and not work to get legislation passed," Reid said. "The strategy of obstruction, gridlock and delay was soundly rejected by the American people. Now they are looking to us for solutions," he said in a separate statement.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the voters have not endorsed the "failures or excesses of the president's first term," but rather have given him more time to finish the job.

"To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we'll be there to meet him half way," McConnell said.

The results were a bitter loss for the GOP and are certain to prompt questions about the promise and peril of the tea party movement that just two years ago delivered a takeover of the House to the GOP. In 2010, three tea party Senate candidates in Nevada, Delaware and Colorado cost Republicans seats they were favored to win. On Tuesday, a tea party-backed candidate in Indiana denied the GOP a seat that the party had been favored to win, while Fischer and tea party-backed Ted Cruz of Texas prevailed in their races.

In a sober statement, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said the GOP has work to do.

"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," Cornyn said, though he added that the party's "conservative vision is the right one to secure a stronger America for future generations."

Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly edged out tea party-backed Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock in a race rocked by the Republican candidate's awkward remark that pregnancy resulting from rape is "something God intended."

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)