Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
At the beginning of the night, Republicans needed a net pick-up of at least four seats to turn a 53-47 deficit in the upper chamber of Congress into a majority of 51 seats or more.
As of the latest posting of this article, however, the tally actually reflects a net swing of 2 votes in the Democrats’ favor with only a few close races yet to be decided. Yet even if Republicans won all the remaining close races still being totaled late into the night, the GOP would still fall short of gaining enough seats for a majority.
Among the 33 seats contested, 21 have been held by Democrats, 10 by Republicans and 2 by independents who typically caucused with the Democrats.
Many of those seats were considered “safe” to be won by the incumbent or retained by the party that held it most recently. The following seats, however, had been considered hot races across the country:
Arizona – The retirement of Republican Sen. John Kyl left this seat open for contention, but Republican Jeff Flake has been projected to hang on to it, resulting in no change.
Connecticut – The retirement of independent Joe Lieberman left this seat open for contention. Democrat Chris Murphy, however, has now been projected to defeat Republican Linda McMahon, resulting in no change.
Indiana – Incumbent Republican Richard Lugar was defeated in the primary, setting up a fight to keep the seat within the party. Democrat Joe Donnelly has now been projected to defeat Republican Richard Mourdock, resulting in a net gain for Democrats.
Florida – Incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson has been considered vulnerable, but is now projected to defeat Republican Connie Mack, resulting in no change.
Massachusetts – Incumbent Republican Scott Brown has been considered vulnerable, and indeed, Democrat Elizabeth Warren has now been projected to defeat Brown, resulting in a net gain for Democrats.
Montana – Incumbent Democrat Jon Tester narrowly won election in 2006 and has been considered vulnerable.
Maine – The retirement of Republican incumbent Olympia Snow has left this seat open for contention. Former Democrat Gov. Angus King, running as an independent, has been projected the winner. Assuming he caucuses with the Democrats, this race represents a gain for the Democrats.
Nebraska – The retirement of Democrat Ben Nelson has left this seat up for contention. Republican Deb Fischer apparently capitalized on the opportunity, as she is now projected to defeat Democrat Bob Kerrey, for a net gain for Republicans.
Nevada – Republican gubernatorial appointee Dean Heller is seeking his first full term after assuming office last year.
North Dakota – The retirement of incumbent Democrat Kent Conrad has left this seat open for contention.
Ohio – Incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown had been considered vulnerable, but has now been projected to retain his seat, resulting in no change.
Pennsylvania – Republican Tom Smith has closed hard on Incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Casey Jr., but Sen. Casey has now been projected to survive the charge, resulting in no change.
Virginia – Incumbent Democrat Jim Webb opted not to run for reelection, but Democrat Timothy Kaine has now been projected to win the seat, resulting in no change.
Wisconsin – Incumbent Democrat Herb Kohl retired, leaving this seat up for contention. Democrat Tammy Baldwin, however, has now been projected to defeat Republican former Gov. Tommy Thompson, resulting in no change.
The map below marks states in which Republicans have reportedly taken a seat from Democrats or independents in blue and states in which a Democrat or independent has reportedly taken a seat formerly held by a Republican in red: