America

Republicans win majority in US Senate, giving party control of Congress

The Guardian
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., joined by his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, celebrates with his supporters at an election night party in Louisville, Nov. 4, 2014. McConnell won a sixth term in Washington.© ASSOCIATED PRESS Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., joined by his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, celebrates with his supporters at an election night party in Louisville, Nov. 4, 2014. McConnell won a sixth term in Washington.Republicans have won a majority of the seats in the US Senate, handing them control of both houses of Congress after a miserable set of midterm election results for President Barack Obama and his Democratic party.Republicans captured Senate seats in West Virginia, Arkansas, South Dakota, Montana, Colorado, North Carolina and Iowa, and fended off Democrats in Kentucky, Georgia and Kansas, giving the party the 51 seats needed for a majority in the upper chamber of Congress, though it could still win more.

Mitch McConnell, who as the top Republican in the Senate is poised to become majority leader, pledged to work with Obama in the last two years of the president’s term.

“We do have an obligation to work together on issues where we can agree,” he told supporters in a conciliatory victory speech in Kentucky. “I don’t expect the president to wake up tomorrow morning and view the world any differently. He knows I won’t either.”

The White House has invited a number of leaders from both the House of Representatives and the Senate to a meeting on Friday that may prove to be a moment of reconciliation aimed at forging compromise on issues such as tax reform and trade negotiations where there is some common ground.

Opinion polls had predicted a night of heavy losses for Democrats, who have struggled to distance themselves from an unpopular president, but the scale of the Democratic defeat still came as something of a surprise.

Obama conceded that this year’s midterm elections were tough for Democrats, who defending many of their seats in traditionally Republican-leaning states that he lost in the presidential election.

“This is the worst possible group of states for Democrats since Dwight Eisenhower – there are a lot of states being contested that just tend to tilt Republican,” said the president in one of a series of last-minute radio interviews.

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