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Democrats fell short of securing a 60-vote majority in the Senate to effectively defeat attempts to block legislation.

They currently hold a 51-49 Senate majority, including two Democrat-leaning independents, but they quickly picked up several Republican seats on Election Day.

Twelve Democrat and 23 Republican seats were up for election this year, and Democrats have successfully taken at least five of the coveted nine votes from the GOP.

Democrats taking Republican-held seats

Virginia Democrat Mark Warner secured a Senate seat long held by the GOP, replacing retiring Republican Sen. John Warner. In New Hampshire, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen defeated Republican incumbent John Sununu. North Carolina’s Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole lost her seat to Democrat Kay Hagan. Democrat Tom Udall took New Mexico, while Democrat Mark Udall will replace retiring Republican Wayne Allard of Colorado. Oregon Democrat Jeff Merkley took Incumbent Republican Sen. Gordon H. Smith’s seat.

Returning Democrats

Sen. Joe Biden won another six-year term representing Delaware, but he will resign his Senate seat for his new position as vice president. Another Democrat senator will be appointed by the governor. Democratic Sen. John Kerry kept his Massachusetts seat, as did Democrat Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.; Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.; Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D. and Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., also won new terms in the Senate.

Returning Republicans

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine; Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas; Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.; Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo.; Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.; Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., kept their Senate seats. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., won the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel.

Idaho Republican Jim Risch has beaten Democrat rival Larry LaRocco to replace Republican Larry Craig in the Senate, while incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, R.-Minn., squeaked past Democrat challenger Al Franken with a slim 725-vote margin – triggering a state-mandated recount. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Ala., held a 4,000-vote lead over Democrat challenger Mark Begich, but 50,000 early and absentee ballots are still being counted.


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