Election 2014: Republicans wrest control of Senate in big wins

Republicans nearly ran the table in the 2014 midterms, taking control of the Senate and a unified Congress for the first time since 2006.

By Gabrielle Levy
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, joined by his wife Elaine Chao, speaks to supporters during his election night rally after retaining his Senate seat, in Louisville, Kentucky on November 4, 2014. McConnell defeated his Democratic challenger Alison Grimes. UPI/Kevin Dietsch
1 of 13 | Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, joined by his wife Elaine Chao, speaks to supporters during his election night rally after retaining his Senate seat, in Louisville, Kentucky on November 4, 2014. McConnell defeated his Democratic challenger Alison Grimes. UPI/Kevin Dietsch | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- Republicans won most of the competitive races in the 2014 midterm elections, taking control of the U.S. Senate and several governorships.

On Wednesday morning, Republicans were guaranteed 52 Senate seats to the Democrats' 44, with the final three seats still undecided.


(Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., caucuses with Democrats; Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, has caucused with Democrats in the past but has hinted he may switch sides. Neither was up for re-election this year.) After trailing most of the night, Virginia's Sen. Mark Warner, a Democrat, eked out a small advantage of less than 1 percent over Republican Ed Gillespie as the last precincts were tallied. Warner declared victory Tuesday night, but Gillespie refused to concede until "all the votes are canvassed."

In Alaska, Democrat Sen. Mark Begich similarly refused to concede to Republican Dan Sullivan, despite trailing by some 8,000 votes, with absentee and questioned ballots still outstanding.


Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., easily defeated Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes with 55 percent over Grimes' 41 percent of the vote, with 19 percent of precincts reporting.

In Colorado, a race considered a bellwether of the election, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner managed to win the suburbs around Denver, and thus the state, against Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.

Independent Greg Orman underperformed polls in Kansas as the GOP ground game turned out the base for Sen. Pat Roberts. And in North Carolina, Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis overtook Sen. Kay Hagan to help push Republicans over the edge.

Joni Ernst, a state senator from Iowa, defeated Democrat Rep. Bruce Braley, to pad the Republicans' victory. In Georgia, Republican David Perdue avoided a runoff, handily defeating Michelle Nunn, 56 percent to 42 percent.

Earlier in the night, West Virginia gave Republicans their first new seat, as Shelley Moore Capito defeated Democrat Natalie Tennant as expected. She will replace retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va. In Arkansas, Republican Rep. Tom Cotton unseated Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor, bringing Republicans within four seats of grabbing the majority.


And in South Dakota, former Gov. Mike Rounds won a three-way election for Senate, defeating Democrat Rick Weiland and independent Larry Pressler to replace retiring Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat, and give Republicans their third pickup of the night. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire provided the Democrats their first important victory of the night, defeating former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown to hold onto her seat for a second term.

In Louisiana, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu will have to wait another month to learn her fate. She and Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy traded leads in the jungle primary as votes came in throughout the night, with tea party-backed Republican Rob Maness pulling about 11 percent of the vote.

With neither Landrieu nor Cassidy crossing the critical 50 percent mark, they will face one another in a runoff on Dec. 6.

Also as expected, Republican Steve Daines won the Senate race in Montana, replacing Sen. John Walsh, a Democrat, who withdrew from a re-election bid after he was caught having plagiarized his master's degree thesis from the Army War College in 2007. Kentucky and Arkansas were longshots for Democrats, whose hopes of holding onto a Senate majority hinged on turning several Republican-held seats blue and holding on to several vulnerable Democrat-held seats.


Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, became the first incumbent unseated in Tuesday's election, losing his seat to Democrat Tom Wolf, a businessman.

But the rest of the competitive races went to Republicans, including in Florida, where Gov. Rick Scott overcame a close challenge from former Gov. Charlie Crist, 48 to 47 percent.

Republican Bruce Rauner led Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn for most of the campaign, and though it looked like Quinn might pull out a win, ultimately fell to Rauner 50 percent to 46 percent.

Democrat Anthony Brown, after holding a lead in polls in Maryland for most of the campaign, fell to Republican Larry Hogan, and in Maine, a third-party candidate helped send Republican Gov. Paul LePage to a victory over Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine. Martha Coakely gave Massachusetts Democrats a sense of deja vu, reminding voters of her 2010 Senate defeat at the hands of Scott Walker with a loss to Republican Charlie Baker.

And Democratic challenges against Republican Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Rick Snyder of Michigan both fell short.


Still, several races remained undecided Wednesday morning.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, managed to open up a tiny lead over Republican challenger Bob Beauprez, and may narrowly exceed a margin of 0.5 percent, which would trigger an automatic recount.

The Connecticut gubernatorial race remained too close to call, although Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy had opened up a 3-point lead over challenger Tom Foley by Wednesday morning. Malloy stopped short of declaring victory, while Foley hinted that he did not expect to close the gap.

In Vermont, election law requires the state legislature to decide a gubernatorial race when no candidate tops 50 percent. But Wednesday morning, Republican Scott Milne trailed Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin by about 1 point, and is expected to concede the race.

Balance of Power in the Senate

Democrats, 45* -- Republicans, 52

*Including two independents who caucus with Democrats

Called Senate races (italics indicate results outstanding)

Alabama: Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., ran unopposed

Alaska: Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska v. Dan Sullivan, R

Arkansas: Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., defeats Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.

Colorado: Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., defeats Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.


Delaware: Sen. Chris Coons, D-Dele., defeats Kevin Wade, R

Georgia: David Perdue, R, defeats Michelle Nunn, D

Hawaii: Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, defeats Cam Cavasso, R

Iowa: Joni Ernst, R, defeats Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa

Idaho: Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, defeats Nels Mitchell, D

Illinois: Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., defeats Jim Oberweis, R

Kansas: Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., defeats Greg Orman, I

Kentucky: Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., defeats Alison Lundergan Grimes, D

Louisiana: Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., v. Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

Maine: Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, defeats Shenna Bellows

Massachusetts: Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., defeats Brian Herr, R

Michigan: Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich., defeats Terri Lynn Land, R

Minnesota: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., defeats Mike McFadden, R

Mississippi: Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., defeats Travis Childers, D

Montana: Steve Daines, R, defeats Amanda Curtis, D

Nebraska: Ben Sasse, R, defeats Dave Domina, D

New Hampshire: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., defeats Scott Brown, R

New Jersey: Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., defeats Jeff Bell, R


New Mexico: Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., defeats Allen Weh, R

North Carolina: Thom Tillis, R, defeats Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C.

Oklahoma (special election): Rep. James Lankford, R-Okla., defeats Connie Johnson, D

Oklahoma: Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., defeats Matt Silverstein, D

Oregon: Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., defeats Monica Wehby, R

Rhode Island: Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., defeats Mark Zaccaria, R

South Carolina (special election): Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., defeats Joyce Dickerson, D

South Carolina: Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., defeats Brad Hutto, D

South Dakota: Mike Rounds, R, defeats Rick Weiland, D, and Larry Pressler, I

Tennessee: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., defeats Gordon Ball, D

Texas: Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, defeats David Alameel, D

Virginia: Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., v. Ed Gillespie, R

West Virginia: Shelley Moore Capito, R, defeats Natalie Tennant, D

Wyoming: Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., defeats Charlie Handy, D

Called governor's races

Alabama: Gov. Robert Bentley, R, defeats Parker Griffith, D

Alaska: Gov. Sean Parnell, R, v. Bill Walker, D


Arizona: Doug Ducey, R, defeats Fred DuVal, D

Arkansas: Asa Hutchinson, R, defeats Mike Ross, D

California: Gov. Jerry Brown, D, defeats Neel Kashkari, R

Colorado: Gov. John Hickenlooper, D, v. Bob Beauprez, R

Connecticut: Gov. Dannel Malloy, D, defeats Tom Foley, R

Florida: Gov. Rick Scott, R, defeats Charlie Crist, D

Georgia: Gov. Nathan Deal, R, defeats Jason Carter, D

Hawaii: David Ige, D, defeats. Duke Aiona, R

Idaho: Gov. Butch Otter, R, defeats A.J. Balukoff, D

Illinois: Bruce Rauner, R, defeats Gov. Pat Quinn, D

Iowa: Gov. Terry Branstad, R, defeats Jack Hatch, D

Kansas: Gov. Sam Brownback, R, defeats Paul Davis, D

Maine: Gov. Paul LePage, R, defeats Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine

Maryland: Larry Hogan, R, defeats Anthony Brown, D

Massachusetts: Charlie Baker, R, defeats Martha Coakley, D

Michigan: Gov. Rick Snyder, R, defeats Mark Schauer, D

Minnesota: Gov. Mark Dayton, D, defeats Jeff Johnson, D

Nebraska: Pete Ricketts, R, defeats Chuck Hassebrook, D

Nevada: Gov. Brian Sandoval, R, defeats Robert Goodman, D

New Hampshire: Gov. Maggie Hassan, D, defeats Walt Havenstein


New Mexico: Gov. Susana Martinez, R, defeats Gary King, D

New York: Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, defeats Rob Astorino, D

Ohio: Gov. John Kasich, R, defeats Edward FitzGerald, D

Oklahoma: Gov. Mary Fallin, R, defeats Joe Dorman, D

Oregon: Gov. John Kitzhaber, D, defeats Dennis Richardson, R

Pennsylvania: Tom Wolf, D, defeats Gov. Tom Corbett, R

Rhode Island: Gina Raimondo, D, defeats Allan Fung, R

South Carolina: Gov. Nikki Haley, R, defeats Vincent Sheheen, D

South Dakota: Gov. Dennis Daugaard, R, defeats Susan Wismer, D

Tennessee: Gov. Bill Haslam, R, defeats Charles Brown, D

Texas: Greg Abbott, R, defeats Wendy Davis, D

Vermont: Gov. Peter Shumlin, D, v. Scott Milne, R

Wisconsin: Gov. Scott Walker, R, defeats Mary Burke, D

Wyoming: Gov. Matt Mead, R, defeats Pete Gosar

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