As predicted by many, the Republicans successfully captured the U.S. Senate
majority in the recent midterm elections, even with one campaign — Louisiana —
going into political overtime. The GOP candidates exceeded national expectations
and claimed 53 seats, two more than needed to secure power. If Representative Bill
Cassidy (R) defeats Senator Mary Landrieu (D) in the aforementioned Louisiana
post-election run-off — and he is favored to do so — the Republican majority will
swell to 54. The result represents quite a turnaround from the 55 Democrat- 45
Republican split the Democrats held going into Election Day. All of what were tabbed
“close races” went the Republicans’ way with the exception of New Hampshire, as
former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R) fell to incumbent Jeanne Shaheen
(D) by a 48% to 52% count.
The Republican takeover formula of first protecting the vulnerable GOP seats,
then taking the three Democratic open seats in states that are now consistently red,
while simultaneously finding three more conversion states on the rest of the map
was achieved, and clearly exceeded.
The vulnerable Republican seats didn’t prove as such — all were easily held. Senate Majority Leader-designate Mitch McConnell (R-KY) began the evening with a
crushing win over Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D), 56%
to 41%, to set the tone for the remainder of the night. Then, Senator Pat Roberts (R),
thought to be trailing in Kansas leading up to Election Day, won his race against
Independent Greg Orman by 11 points. In Georgia, where most pundits were predicting a post-election run-off, businessman David Perdue (R) exceeded 53% of the
vote to defeat businesswoman Michelle Nunn (D), the daughter of former Senator
Sam Nunn (D-GA).
With record disapproval ratings for the nation’s chief executive
and Congress, it would have been be unusual to see a status quo
result after this November’s midterm elections. Going into the
election, however, the GOP retaining the House and the Democrats
maintaining a smaller Senate majority was a highly plausible
election night scenario.
As we now know, that did not happen. The Republican Party’s strong
performance in nearly every important race gained it control of both
chambers of Congress and even added a few new governors.