Republicans are guaranteed to keep control of the Senate after netting early victories by flipping four Democratic seats and winning a marquee race in Texas.
GOP candidates scored major victories in Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota, while several other toss-up races remain too close to call, paving the way for the party to potentially expand its 51-49 majority.
Businessman Mike Braun (R) unseated Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) — marking the first red-state Democrat to lose on Tuesday and giving the GOP an early seat flip.
Three more Democrats followed: Sens. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn Heitkamp70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Susan Collins set to play pivotal role in impeachment drama Pro-trade group launches media buy as Trump and Democrats near deal on new NAFTA MORE (N.D.), Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMissouri county issues travel advisory for Lake of the Ozarks after Memorial Day parties Senate faces protracted floor fight over judges amid pandemic safety concerns Amash on eyeing presidential bid: ‘Millions of Americans’ want someone other than Trump, Biden MORE (Mo.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA, SpaceX and the private-public partnership that caused the flight of the Crew Dragon Lobbying world The most expensive congressional races of the last decade MORE (Fla.).
The red-state Democratic losses came after Republicans avoided a major upset in Texas, where Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D) shot into an early lead but was ultimately unable to overcome Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote The Hill’s Morning Report – Trump’s public standing sags after Floyd protests GOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police MORE (R).
Absent a last-minute upset in a seat controlled by Republicans, the three Democratic losses and the GOP win in Texas guarantees Republicans will hold onto the chamber, even with undecided races in Arizona and Nevada.
Democrats entered Election Day looking to defend seats in 10 states that Trump won in 2016, presenting them with an uphill battle to take back the Senate or maintain the GOP’s slim majority.
Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.) is the last vulnerable Democrat whose race has yet to be called. Though he remains in the lead against GOP challenger Matt Rosendale, the race has tightened as more precincts have begun reporting.
One race that will not be decided on Tuesday is a special election in Mississippi, where Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) was hoping to prevent a runoff election for her Senate seat.
Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy, as the top two candidates, will advance to a Nov. 27 runoff, but the outcome of that race will not determine control of the Senate.
Even with the Mississippi race undecided, Democrats could sweep the remaining battleground states and fall short, with Republicans holding a 52-47 majority in that scenario.
If Democrats sweep the remaining battleground states and Republicans ultimately win Mississippi, where Trump remains popular, that would give Republicans a 53-47 majority.
Democrats have gotten some good news on Tuesday night. Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump administration seeks to use global aid for nuclear projects Shelley Moore Capito wins Senate primary West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice wins GOP gubernatorial primary MORE (D-W.Va.) held off state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in what was expected to be a competitive race.
Meanwhile, Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineWarren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Senate panel passes amendment to bar using troops against protesters Defense bill turns into proxy battle over Floyd protests MORE (D-Va.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownHillicon Valley: Senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests | Amazon pauses police use of its facial recognition tech | FBI warns hackers are targeting mobile banking apps Democratic senators raise concerns over government surveillance of protests Some realistic solutions for income inequality MORE (D-Ohio) easily won reelection, and voters in New Jersey decided to send Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezGOP’s Obama-era probes fuel Senate angst Government watchdog: ‘No evidence’ Pompeo violated Hatch Act with Kansas trips No time to be selling arms to the Philippines MORE back to Washington for another six-year term.
But the defeat in Texas comes after Tennessee, another potential pickup, was quickly taken out of reach for Democrats with Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police GOP senators dodge on treatment of White House protesters Five things to know about Trump’s legal power under the Insurrection Act MORE (R-Tenn.) defeating former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) after holding a lead in the polls heading into Tuesday.
Democrats are still eyeing potential pick-ups in two western states with seats currently held by Republicans — Arizona and Nevada.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) had a slight lead over Rep. Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyGOP senators introduce resolution opposing calls to defund the police No evidence of unauthorized data transfers by top Chinese drone manufacturer: study Senate Democratic campaign arm launches online hub ahead of November MORE (R-Ariz.) heading into Tuesday as they battle to succeed retiring Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP lawmakers stick to Trump amid new criticism Kelly holds double-digit lead over McSally in Arizona: poll Trump asserts his power over Republicans MORE (R). If Sinema is victorious it would be the first time since 1988 that Arizonans have elected a Democrat to the Senate.
Meanwhile, Democrats held a lead among early voters in Nevada, where Democrats are feeling bullish about their ability to unseat Sen. Dean HellerDean Arthur HellerOn The Trail: Democrats plan to hammer Trump on Social Security, Medicare Lobbying World Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-Nev.), the only Republican senator up for reelection in a state won by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE in 2016.
Updated at 12:54 a.m.
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