Big night for Republicans in Congress
GOP poised to retain power in House
Republicans were poised to keep control of the House and quite possibly hang onto the U.S. Senate, buoyed by an unexpectedly strong showing atop the ticket by Donald Trump.
After losing control two years ago, Democrats needed a net gain of five seats to retake a Senate majority if Trump won the White House. They needed four if Democrat Hillary Clinton prevailed and her running mate, Tim Kaine, became the tie-breaking vote
With fewer than a handful of contests to be decided, Republicans had prevailed in every one of the country’s hardest-fought contests, with one exception. In Illinois, Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth knocked off Mark Kirk, seen as one of the most vulnerable GOP incumbents in the country.
The Republican House majority was never seriously in doubt and Democrats came nowhere close to the 30- seat gain they needed to take control, picking up just a handful of seats in early returns.
The outcome in the Senate had appeared less certain, hinging on contests in more than a half dozen states, including Nevada, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Missouri and Pennsylvania.
As the election returns rolled in, Republicans proved resilient.
In Wisconsin, Ron Johnson had been all but written off by strategists. in both parties. Instead, he handily fended off a comeback attempt by former Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold. In North Carolina, Richard Burr won a second term despite waging a lackluster campaign.
Arizona Sen. John McCain easily won a sixth term after the hardest-fought challenge of his lengthy Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a former presidential candidate, greets supporters Tuesday after winning a second term in office. In Ohio, Rob Portman also won re-election. career.
Republicans, who hold 54 of 100 seats, also claimed victory in two states once eyed by Democrats as potentially solid takeover prospects.
In Florida, Marco Rubio — a once and likely future presidential candidate — coasted to a second term after he reversed himself and decided to seek another term. In Ohio, Rob Portman also won easy re-election.
In Indiana, former Sen. Evan Bayh disappointed Democrats by failing in his comeback attempt, losing the state’s open-seat contest to Rep. Todd Young.
Tuesday’s results were not expected to ease the partisan infighting or persistent gridlock that has defined Congress in recent years, to the great frustration of many voters.
“I’m hard-pressed to think that Congress will be able to muster much more agreement with themselves or the incoming president,” said Sarah Binder, a political science professor at George Washington University and expert on Congress.
Part of the dysfunction in Congress could be eased if the new president played a more actively bipartisan role, reaching across the aisle much the way former President Bill Clinton did when he faced a Republican-held Congress, some analysts said.
Politically, however, there may be little incentive for the new president to court votes across the aisle after such a deeply polarizing election.
Voters seemed equally skeptical of change.
“I thought Congress would get better when Jes-