Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Projected to Win, Retain Powerful Position

VIDEO: Jim DeMint and Ed Rendell Discuss the Elections

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will continue his tenure in the Senate, according to ABC News projections, after a night in which Democrats took heavy battering from Republicans in midterm congressional elections.

For Reid, who has been in public office for 40 years, the race against Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, once a virtual unknown, was a tough one.

Fifty-five percent of Nevada voters in preliminary exit poll results said they disapproved of the job he is doing in the Senate, and 56 percent said they thought the Senate majority leader had been in Washington too long.

At the same time, he won support on other grounds. A narrow majority of voters, 52 percent, said they preferred an insider who knows how to get things done over an outsider "who wants to shake things up." And when it came to picking the one candidate quality that mattered most to them, Nevada's voters were divided: 31 percent said they wanted change, but 29 percent said they were looking for someone who understood their needs, and nearly as many were looking for experience.

Republicans collected six Senate seats held by their opponents but failed to win enough blue states to gain control of the Senate.

This is the first time since 1930 that one chamber of Congress has changed hands without the other.

Republicans needed an additional 10 seats to gain a majority in the Senate but preliminary results show they will be unable to achieve that.

Across the country: Republicans have so far gained Senate seats in Illinois, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Arkansas, Indiana, Wisconsin and Illinois. They've held on to Senate seats in South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Louisiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Arizona, Utah and Idaho.

Democrats have so far held on to their Senate seats in Nevada, California, West Virginia, Hawaii, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Vermont and Oregon.

From Arkansas to Wisconsin, Democratic incumbents faced significant losses. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., is projected to become the second Democratic senator to be defeated tonight, after Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, who became a casualty earlier this evening, according to ABC News projections.

The GOP appears to have scored a key victory in another Democratic stronghold, North Dakota, where Gov. John Hoeven will become the first GOP senator from the state in 24 years. The Republican will replace retiring Sen. Byron Dorgan, a moderate Democrat who has occupied that seat for 18 years. Republicans gained a heavily-prized seat in the state of Pennsylvania as more Democratic incumbents fell prey to voter discontent today.

GOP candidate Pat Toomey is projected to defeat Democrat Joe Sestak, who defeated longtime Sen. Arlen Specter in a bitter battle earlier this year.

California emerged as one bright spot for Democrats, where Sen. Barbara Boxer, another Democrat who ran a tight race against ex-Hewlett Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina, retained her seat.

The Tea Party has scored major victories in an election dominated by U.S. economic woes. Republican Marco Rubio will win the Florida Senate race by a wide margin and GOP candidate Rand Paul will win the Kentucky Senate race, according to ABC News exit-poll results.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...