Democrats poised to retain control of Senate

With an apparent early pickup, Senate Democrats are poised to retain control of the chamber, positioning the Senate to function similarly in the 113th Congress or to become a lone Democratic bulwark against a Republican White House and House.

ABC News and NBC News called Maine's Senate race for former Gov. Angus King. King is an independent, and he has not said if he will caucus with either party. But both sides expect him to join the Democratic Caucus.

The fight for Senate control shifted sharply from 2011, as Republican ambitions of capturing a majority -- fueled by the 23-10 Democratic-to-GOP disparity in incumbents up for reelection -- gave way to GOP hopes of merely simply gaining seats. With superior recruiting, better candidates, and stronger party discipline, Senate Democrats went into Election Day with just one incumbent, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., without better than even odds of winning. Democrats have legitimate hopes of gaining Senate seats.

That would be a pill of bitter disappointment for Republicans and might generate internal backlash against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn of Texas over the party’s Senate-race strategy and tactics.

Still, Republicans have another good shot at winning Senate control in 2014, when 20 Democratic seats are in play versus 13 Republican ones. An Obama win would boost congressional GOP odds in the 2014 midterm elections.

If Obama wins tonight, he can bank on strong support for his tax and deficit plans from energized Senate Democrats -- at least next year. If Mitt Romney prevails, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and his conference look ready to block a GOP agenda at every chance. Reid on Friday called “laughable” Romney’s assertion that Senate Democrats would work with him on Republican proposals.

At least 10 new senators, and probably at least a few more, will be elected on Tuesday night. That continues a rapid pace of turnover in the body unmatched since the 1978 and 1980 elections. Senior members and committee leaders are departing, leaving large bodies of relatively new members yet to distinguish themselves. Gone next year will be Foreign Relations ranking member Richard Lugar, R-Ind., Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Energy Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., as well as long-serving Sens. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.