In a major triumph for Democrats’ fight to hold the Senate majority, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) has defeated Republican businessman John Raese.
Manchin is a popular governor, but he struggled given President Barack Obama’s low popularity. Because he will replace the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Manchin will be seated right away. This is a special election, so Manchin would face voters again in 2012.
The Democratic victory makes it much more difficult for Republicans to win the needed seats to take control of the Senate.
Meanwhile, Sen. Jim DeMint (R) easily defeated Democratic challenger Alvin Greene.
Minutes after polls closed, the Associated Press deemed DeMint the winner, even before any precincts had reported.
Greene was one of the more unusual storylines of the year. An unemployed military veteran who lives with his father, Greene shocked political observers when he won the Democratic primary, but he was never expected to make the general election competitive.