Republicans seized control of the Senate on Tuesday, the crowning achievement for the party in a midterm election cycle that amounted to little more than a gut-punching defeat for Democrats across the board.
Republican Joni Ernst defeated Democrat Bruce Braley to win a Democratic-held seat in Iowa late in the evening, bringing Republicans to the magic number – 51 – to take control of the Senate. The party held 45 seats going into Tuesday night.
Mitch McConnell, who won re-election over Democrat Lundergan Grimes earlier in the evening, was on his way to returning to Washington as Senate majority leader.
Democrats had a glimmer of good news as Sen. Jeanne Shaheen appeared to fend off a strong challenge from Republican Scott Brown to win re-election in New Hampshire. National and state Democratic activists were eager to dispatch with Brown, a former Massachusetts senator who lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012, but Brown refused to concede late Thursday as the vote count showed him continuing to gain ground. M
Meanwhile, the formidable map of red state contests was proving insurmountable for Democrats.
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