It's Ted Cruz's Senate now: GOP wins control

GOP retakes the chamber after eight years in the minority

By Luke Brinker

Published November 5, 2014 5:17AM (EST)

  (AP/Molly Riley)
(AP/Molly Riley)

Eight years after losing the chamber, the Republican Party will control the Senate come January.

The just reelected Mitch McConnell may be slated to become majority leader, but with unabashed conservatives like Joni Ernst and Thom Tillis poised to assume office, it's as much Tea Party firebrand Ted Cruz's Senate now as it is McConnell's.

With results yet to come in from Alaska, where Democratic Sen. Mark Begich faces a tough challenge from GOPer Dan Sullivan, the GOP has already picked up seven Senate seats and held competitive seats in Georgia, Kentucky, and Kansas; the party needed just six seats to capture the chamber.

As expected, the GOP picked up Democratic-held seats in West Virginia, South Dakota, Montana, and Arkansas. In Louisiana, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu has been forced into a runoff next month, where she may well be at a decided disadvantage.

In Iowa, Tea Partyer Joni Ernst -- who has backed arresting federal officials for implementing the Affordable Care Act and has flirted with impeaching President Obama, whom she called a "dictator" -- has defeated Bruce Braley in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Tom Harkin.

Colorado has sent progressive Democrat Mark Udall, a fierce critic of NSA surveillance, packing. Republican Cory Gardner, a shutdown-supporting congressman who opposes abortion rights and marriage equality, will take his place.

Perhaps the biggest upset of the night was in North Carolina, where GOP House Speaker Thom Tillis, who has overseen the state legislature's right-wing policy revolution on issues like education, abortion, and voting rights, has ousted Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan. Hagan had maintained a small but consistent lead in most public polls.

The fact that Sens. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia barely fended off GOP challengers in states once seen as relatively safe Democratic bets underscores the bleakness of tonight's results for Democrats.


Luke Brinker

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