Republicans were projected to win control of 51 seats in the Senate, wresting away Democrats’ majority just two years after the party of President Obama made gains.
The GOP flipped seats in West Virginia, Montana, Colorado, Arkansas, South Dakota and North Carolina, giving them control of the chamber for the first time since 2007. They also retained control of the House, which they secured in 2011. The GOP also could make further gains in Iowa, where Joni Ernst was leading Democrat Bruce Braley, and Virginia, where incumbent Mark Warner was struggling to hold on against Republican Ed Gillespie. And there could be more to come if Republican Bill Cassidy wins a runoff against incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu next month. Polls had yet to close in Alaska, where Democrat Mark Begich was fighting in a tight race for reelection there against Republican Dan Sullivan.
Given that Democrats could stall legislation via filibuster and that President Obama could wield his veto power, the GOP’s gains may very well produce two more years of gridlock. But the party will still control committee chairmanships central to industry-related issues like FCC regulation, antitrust concerns and communications law. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is in line to be chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, while Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is in line for the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Democrats also had high hopes for Michelle Nunn to win a GOP seat in Georgia, but David Perdue won that race. In Kentucky,Alison Grimes was defeated by Mitch McConnell, who won another term as senator and is in line to become the next majority leader.