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Republicans Expand Majorities in Both Chambers

Congressional Republicans scored across-the-board victories Tuesday, picking up at four seats in the Senate and two in the House.

In the marquee race of the cycle, former Rep. John Thune (R-S.D.) ousted Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D), the first time since 1952 that a Senate leader lost a bid for re-election.

Aside from South Dakota, Republicans picked up what had been Democratic-held open Senate seats in Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisiana and Florida

Rep. David Vitter’s (R-La.) 51 percent victory over three Democrats in the Bayou State’s all-party primary was perhaps the most shocking result outside of South Dakota. Vitter’s win marks the first time since Reconstruction that a Republican has been elected to the Senate in Louisiana.

Democrats were able to turn over two Republican Senate open seats — in Illinois and Colorado — but failed to defeat endangered Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) or Jim Bunning (R-Ky.).

The picture was no less glum for Democrats on the House side as Republicans gained two seats, bringing their majority in the House to 231 seats. With a few seats still undecided, Democrats so far control 202 seats in the 109th Congress.

It is the first time in history that House Republicans have picked up seats in two straight elections.

“Simply put, I’m thrilled,” National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) said in a statement this morning.

Two Louisiana House seats — the 3rd and 7th districts — will feature runoffs on Dec. 4 between a Republican and Democratic candidate, as no one was able to secure the 50 percent of the vote necessary to avoid a runoff.

As expected, the Republican-led re-redistricting in Texas proved too much for four of the five Democratic incumbents endangered by the plans.

Democratic Reps. Max Sandlin, Nick Lampson, Charlie Stenholm and Martin Frost were all defeated Tuesday. Rep. Chet Edwards was the only one of the “Texas Five” to survive as he narrowly bested state Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth (R).

Outside of Texas, Rep. Baron Hill (Ind.) was the only Democratic incumbent to lose.

Republicans lost two incumbents of their own: Rep. Max Burns (Ga.) in the strongly Democratic 12th district and Rep. Phil Crane (Ill.), who fell despite representing the most Republican district in the state.

Democrats were unable to take full advantage of their open-seat edge as the two parties essentially split the most competitive races.

Republicans scored victories in Kentucky’s 4th district and Washington’s 8th, while Democrats won in Colorado’s 3rd and New York’s 27th.

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