Senate Update: Republicans Remain in Control
Editor’s note: Below is a selection of The Associated Press’ updates about contests around the country for U.S. Senate seats. More news and commentary about midterm election results will be posted soon on Truthdig.
WASHINGTON — The Latest on U.S. Senate elections (all times local):
Republican Josh Hawley has unseated Missouri’s Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in a national victory for the GOP.
Republicans have long hoped to flip McCaskill’s seat in the increasingly Republican state. Missouri was once considered a bellwether known for picking the successful presidential candidate, but it’s since lost that status and trended right.
President Donald Trump won the state by nearly 19 percentage points. Missouri’s attorney general pinned his campaign to his support for the president.
McCaskill was one of 10 Democratic Senate incumbents up for re-election in states Trump won.
Voters first elected McCaskill to the Senate in 2006. She won re-election in 2012 after Republican candidate Todd Akin said women’s bodies can prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”
Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell has won re-election in Washington, beating Republican challenger Susan Hutchison.
Cantwell easily outdistanced Hutchison, a former Seattle TV anchor and state GOP chairwoman.
Cantwell is a former tech executive who previously served one term in the U.S. House and six years as a state representative in the state Legislature. She will be serving her fourth term.
It’s been nearly a quarter century since the GOP has captured a major statewide race in Washington.
The last time voters sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate was 1994, when Sen. Slade Gorton was re-elected to his final term before being ousted by Cantwell in 2000.
Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan has won a fourth term in the Senate, defeating Republican challenger John James.
Stabenow campaigned as a pragmatic lawmaker who forges bipartisan agreement despite the partisan rancor in Washington. She cited her work shaping farm legislation and pushing a new law that allows pharmacists to tell consumers when they can save on prescriptions by paying cash instead of using insurance.
The 68-year-old Stabenow criticized President Trump’s attempt to slash federal funding for the Great Lakes. She said James would have been an unabashed enthusiast of Trump with no governing experience.
James is a black combat veteran and business executive. Trump won Michigan in 2016. He called James “a star” candidate.
Mississippi’s U.S. Senate special election is headed to a runoff, and the state’s voters will either elect a woman to the office for the first time ever or a black man for the first time since Reconstruction.
Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy advanced Tuesday from a field of four. They compete in a Nov. 27 runoff, and the winner will serve the final two years of a term started by Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired in April.
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith, who was state agriculture commissioner, to temporarily succeed Cochran until the special election is decided. She is the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress, but no woman has been elected to the job from the state. She is endorsed by President Donald Trump.
Espy is a former congressman and former U.S. agriculture secretary.
Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii has defeated Republican Ron Curtis to win a second term.
Hirono had an advantage going into Tuesday’s midterm election as an incumbent with broad name recognition. Her challenger is a retired engineer who had never run for public office.
Hirono has served in the legislature, as lieutenant governor and as U.S. representative. The 71-year-old kept a relatively low profile early on in the Senate, but has gained attention for her outspoken opposition to President Donald Trump and his policies.
Hirono urged men to “shut up and step up” when the Senate was considering confirming Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Some Hawaii voters cheered the statement, while others accused her of being anti-male.
Democratic Sen. Tina Smith has won Minnesota’s special election to finish the final two years of former Sen. Al Franken’s term.
Smith defeated Republican state Sen. Karin Housley on Tuesday. The election was a 10-month sprint, triggered in January after Franken resigned amid a growing sexual misconduct scandal.
Smith got a head start in the race when she was appointed to take the seat by Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton. Smith was Dayton’s lieutenant governor and former top aide.
Housley tried to brand Smith as a political insider. But national Republican groups largely bypassed Housley’s race, sinking resources instead into more winnable races in states like North Dakota and Indiana.
Republican Sen. Deb Fischer has cruised to a second term in Nebraska, defeating Lincoln city councilwoman Jane Raybould.
Fischer won Tuesday despite Raybould’s efforts to cast the first-term incumbent as a Washington insider who sided with her party even when it was harmful to the GOP-friendly state. Raybould pitched herself to voters as an outsider who would look for ways to lower health care costs.
Fischer rejected the criticism and noted her work on Senate committees focused on agriculture and the military, both important areas to Nebraska with its farm economy and Offutt Air Force Base.
The candidates differed on their support for new U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who faced sexual assault allegations during his confirmation process. Kavanaugh denied the allegations. Fischer voted to confirm Kavanaugh, while Raybould said the allegations merited further investigation.
Republican Marsha Blackburn has won a grueling, expensive contest to become the first female U.S. senator from Tennessee.
The congresswoman defeated Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen on Tuesday by closely aligning her bid with President Donald Trump. The president made three visits to the state for her.
Blackburn has sought to undermine Bredesen’s reputation as an independent thinker by tying him to national Democrats at every turn. Blackburn was first elected to the House in 2002 and has called herself a “hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative.”
Blackburn will replace retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker. She represents a rightward shift from Corker and other more centrist senators that Tennessee has historically elected.
Republicans have retained Senate control for two more years, shattering Democrats’ dreams of an anti-Trump wave sweeping them into majority.
The result was all but assured when Republican Kevin Cramer ousted North Dakota Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp and when Republican businessman Mike Braun ousted Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indiana.
Meanwhile, Sen. Ted Cruz fended off a spirited challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn triumphed in Tennessee.
The GOP’s gains come even as the results in Nevada and Arizona have yet to be determined.
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has handily won a U.S. Senate seat in his adopted home state of Utah after a campaign where he backed off his once-fierce criticism of Donald Trump.
Romney clinched the win Tuesday as he defeated Democrat Jenny Wilson, a member of the Salt Lake County council.
Romney was the heavy favorite to win the seat in conservative Utah, where he holds near-celebrity status as the first Mormon presidential nominee from a major party.
He replaces longtime Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who chose not to seek re-election.
Romney denounced Trump as a “fraud” and a “phony” during the 2016 campaign, but has since said he approves of many Trump policies.
Democratic Sen. Martin Heinrich has been re-elected in a three-way race against a Republican political newcomer and a Libertarian former governor.
The engineer and former congressman won a second term, finishing ahead of construction contractor Mick Rich and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.
Heinrich cast himself as a vigorous adversary of President Donald Trump’s policies in the Senate. He campaigned on promises to defend federal health care and retirement programs.
Heinrich recently became an advocate for decriminalizing marijuana, co-opting one of Johnson’s signature Libertarian issues against government interference. He derided Johnson’s proposals to slash federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid and the military.
Rich ran on his reputation as a businessman while embracing Trump and voicing anti-abortion sentiments.
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz fended off rising-star Democrat Beto O’Rourke to win re-election in a much-watched Texas race that began as a cakewalk but needed a visit from President Donald Trump to help push the incumbent over the top.
Cruz finished a surprising second in the 2016 Republican presidential primary and began the Senate race as a prohibitive favorite.
But O’Rourke visited fiercely conservative parts of the state that his party had long since given up on, while shattering fundraising records despite shunning donations from outside political groups and pollster advice.
Cruz argued that his opponent’s support for gun control and universal health care were too liberal for Texas.
Trump and Cruz were bitter 2016 rivals, but the president visited Houston late last month to solidify the senator’s win.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has turned back a challenge by Republican Patrick Morrisey to win his second full-term in a state carried by President Donald Trump.
Manchin survived the most difficult re-election campaign of his career against the comparative newcomer Morrisey. Manchin is a former governor who has held elected office in West Virginia for the better part of three decades.
Manchin heavily outspent Morrisey and portrayed himself as loyal to his home state rather than party ideology. Manchin was the only Senate Democrat to vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Manchin was critical of Morrisey’s New Jersey roots and his past lobbying ties to the pharmaceutical industry.
Morrisey is a two-term state attorney general and a staunch Trump supporter.
Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin has won a second term, fending off a challenge from a Republican who ran as a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump.
Baldwin led Leah Vukmir in fundraising and polls throughout the race.
Baldwin is one of the most liberal members of Congress. The differences between her and Vukmir were stark. They disagreed on almost every issue.
Baldwin made the campaign largely about health care and Vukmir’s opposition to the Affordable Care Act. Baldwin argued for keeping the law and its guarantee of insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
The race was Wisconsin’s first for Senate where both major party candidates were women.
Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar has easily won a third term in Minnesota.
Klobuchar defeated Republican state Rep. Jim Newberger on Tuesday. It comes as Klobuchar’s name swirls amid the crop of potential Democratic presidential candidates for 2020.
The race was never close. Newberger is a little-known state lawmaker who struggled to raise money against the popular Klobuchar.
Republicans put far more focus on the state’s other Senate race to complete the last two years of Al Franken’s term. State Sen. Karin Housley is carrying the party’s hopes in that race against Democratic Sen. Tina Smith.
Republican businessman Mike Braun has ousted Sen. Joe Donnelly Indiana’s lone statewide elected Democrat. Both candidates portrayed themselves as fans of President Donald Trump during the campaign.
The GOP has dreamed of this victory since Donnelly unexpectedly beat Republican nominee Richard Mourdock in 2012, after Mourdock made incendiary comments about abortion and rape.
However, few would have predicted Braun’s win when he entered the race last year. The multimillionaire auto-parts magnate was a little-known state representative when he launched his bid.
But Braun used his own wealth to out-fundraise two better known congressmen during a bitter GOP primary that was fueled on personal attacks.
Indiana has elected conservative Democrats but increasingly trended Republican in recent years.
Democrat Bob Casey of Pennsylvania has won a third Senate term, beating Republican Rep. Lou Barletta.
Barletta was an early supporter of President Donald Trump, who returned the favor by campaigning for the former Hazleton mayor. The president narrowly won Pennsylvania in 2016, but Casey easily won re-election Tuesday in a state that has now given the son of the late former governor six statewide election victories.
Casey is a staunch critic of Trump’s tax cuts, calling them a giveaway to the wealthy and corporations while middle-class wages stagnate. Casey also voted against Trump’s nominees for Supreme Court.
Barletta is one of Trump’s biggest allies on Capitol Hill. He campaigned on Trump’s record, but he never gained traction and was heavily outspent by Casey.
Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker has been re-elected in Mississippi and Republican John Barrasso has won a second full term in Wyoming.
Wicker defeated Democratic state Rep. David Baria and two others Tuesday, keeping the seat he has held since 2007.
After Republican Sen. Trent Lott resigned in late 2007, then-Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Wicker to temporarily fill the seat. Wicker won a special election in 2008 to complete Lott’s term, and was re-elected in 2012.
Barrasso defeated Gary Trauner in a race that was a referendum on President Donald Trump in the state. Barrasso argued that less federal regulation and federal income tax cuts enacted under Trump have helped Wyoming’s economy.
Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has defeated Republican challenger Chele Farley to win re-election to the U.S. Senate.
Gillibrand was heavily favored in Tuesday’s election and has been talked about as a potential presidential candidate in 2020.
At a recent debate, Gillibrand pledged to serve her entire six-year Senate term.
Gillibrand was appointed in 2009 to the Senate seat vacated when Hillary Clinton was nominated as secretary of state.
She rose to prominence in the #MeToo movement last year as the first Democratic senator to call publicly for fellow Democratic Sen. Al Franken to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations.
She has also focused on sexual assault in the military and on college campuses.
Farley works in the financial services industry. She’s never held elected office.
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez has fended off his wealthy Republican challenger to win re-election despite a barrage of ads about corruption charges he beat in court.
Menendez, 64, wins a third term Tuesday after a grueling campaign against Republican Bob Hugin.
Polls showed Hugin, 64, and Menendez much closer than expected in overwhelmingly Democratic New Jersey.
Hugin tapped his deep pockets for at least $27.5 million and spent on TV ads attacking Menendez over the 2017 trial on charges that he helped a friend with Medicare billing in exchange for lavish gifts.
Prosecutors decided not to retry the case after a mistrial.
The race was particularly significant because Democrats are defending 26 seats, including 10 incumbents running in states that President Donald Trump won in 2016.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has been elected to a third term.
Brown handily defeated fourth-term Rep. Jim Renacci (ruh-NAY’-see), who dropped a governor’s bid to run for Senate at Trump’s urging.
Brown is in his fifth decade of Ohio politics. He won his first election to the state’s House in 1974 and unseated Republican Sen. Mike DeWine in 2006. With a history of blue-collar appeal and union support, Brown has backed Trump moves on steel tariffs and renegotiating trade agreements.
Renacci is a businessman who called Brown a liberal out of touch with Ohio values.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a potential 2020 White House contender, is among a group of five Democratic lawmakers who have easily won re-election to the Senate.
Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Tom Carper of Delaware and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island also won. They were heavy favorites in their races.
Warren has generated considerable speculation about a possible run for the White House in 2020, recently saying she’d take a “hard look” at a presidential bid after the Senate race was over.
Murphy won a second term after amassing a fundraising war chest that was 100 times larger than his opponent’s.
Meanwhile, Carper won his fourth term. He has never lost an election during four decades in politics.
Cardin and Whitehouse both won third terms.
Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine has dispatched a die-hard supporter of President Donald Trump to win re-election to the U.S. Senate.
Kaine defeated Republican Corey Stewart on Tuesday.
The victory was widely expected as Kaine enjoyed large leads in most public polls and had a huge cash advantage.
Kaine is a former governor who was first elected to the Senate in 2012. He was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016.
Stewart is a conservative provocateur best known for his outspoken support of Confederate imagery and hard-line views on immigration. He struggled to raise money and was ignored by national GOP groups.
Vermont’s Bernie Sanders has cruised to re-election for his third term in the Senate, easily outpacing eight candidates.
Sanders, the independent who has long been one of the state’s most popular politicians, spent little time campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s election.
Sanders has faced few serious opponents since he was first elected to the state’s lone seat in the House in 1990. He moved up to the Senate in 2006.
The Republican candidate, Lawrence Zupan, a Manchester real estate broker with experience in international trade, campaigned against what he felt was big government and social welfare programs. But his candidacy never gained traction and his campaign drew little attention.
Rather than focusing on his re-election, Sanders traveled the country to support Democratic candidates and an array of policy issues.
Beyonce has endorsed Texas Democratic Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke over Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in the final hours before her home state’s polls close.
The native Houstonian released a series of Instagram posts with a black and white “Beto” cap partially covering her face on Tuesday afternoon.
O’Rourke himself then retweeted one of the pictures under the caption “Thank you, Beyonce.”
An El Paso congressman, O’Rourke is trying to become the first Democrat to win statewide office in Texas since 1994. He’s drawn the admiration of many celebrities, including Texas country music icon Willie Nelson.
Cruz dismisses his opponent’s upset-minded campaign as too liberal for Texas since O’Rourke supports universal health care and impeaching President Donald Trump.
Republicans are aiming to retain Senate control in Tuesday’s voting.
Democrats’ longshot prospects for capturing a Senate majority are pinned on hopes of their supporters surging to the polls. Democrats and some independents have been motivated by Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric and policies and his efforts to dismantle health care protections enacted under President Barack Obama.
The Democrats have history on their side: 2002 was the only midterm election in the past three decades when the party holding the White House gained Senate seats.
Republicans have a narrow 51-49 majority. Democrats need to gain two Senate seats to win a majority. But they and their two independent allies are defending 26 of the 35 seats in play. Those 26 seats include 10 in states that Trump won in 2016.Wait, before you go…
If you're reading this, you probably already know that non-profit, independent journalism is under threat worldwide. Independent news sites are overshadowed by larger heavily funded mainstream media that inundate us with hype and noise that barely scratch the surface. We believe that our readers deserve to know the full story. Truthdig writers bravely dig beneath the headlines to give you thought-provoking, investigative reporting and analysis that tells you what’s really happening and who’s rolling up their sleeves to do something about it.
Like you, we believe a well-informed public that doesn’t have blind faith in the status quo can help change the world. Your contribution of as little as $5 monthly or $35 annually will make you a groundbreaking member and lays the foundation of our work.Support Truthdig