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Democrats battle for Senate majority
Democrats battle for Senate majority 02:05

CBS News on Tuesday projected that Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan had won reelection, bringing the Republican Senate seat total to 50. This Democrats' path to a majority in the Senate looks increasingly unlikely, with two runoff elections in Georgia in January set to determine the partisan balance of the chamber.

In Georgia's special election for incumbent Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler's seat, she advanced to a runoff along with Democrat Raphael Warnock. In Georgia, incumbent Republican Senator David Perdue's vote share dipped below 50%, meaning that he will face Democratic challenger in the upcoming runoff election. The runoff will be on January 5.

Democrats have picked up two seats held by Republicans, in Colorado and Arizona, but Republicans had picked up one Democratic-held seat in Alabama.

In many high-profile races, Democrats had significantly outraised Republicans, especially in Maine, Arizona and South Carolina, where all three challengers had shattered the previous fundraising record for a three-month period. 

Republicans held onto seats in Maine, Montana, Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina and Iowa that Democrats had hoped to flip.

The balance of the next Senate so far is 50 to 48. Democrats would need to win both the Georgia races to reach a 50-50 split, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would break any tie.

Democrats had also hoped to expand their House majority as well, but they had not gained seats they had aggressively targeted.

 

Republican Senator Dan Sullivan wins reelection in Alaska

Incumbent Republican Senator Dan Sullivan has won the Senate race in Alaska, bringing the Republican Senate seat total to 50. Republicans need 51 seats to control the Senate, since the Democratic vice president will hold the tie-breaking vote.

By Grace Segers
 

Cal Cunningham concedes North Carolina Senate race

Democrat Cal Cunningham conceded in the North Carolina Senate race on Tuesday, saying in a statement that he had called Republican incumbent Senator Thom Tillis to congratulate him on his victory.

"I just called Senator Tillis to congratulate him on winning re-election to a second term in the U.S. Senate and wished him and his family the best in their continued service in the months and years ahead," Cunningham said. "The voters have spoken and I respect their decision."

CBS News projects that Tillis has won the race, after Cunningham's concession. Tillis led Cunningham by nearly 100,000 votes as of Tuesday. The presidential race in North Carolina is still too close to call, although President Trump is currently in the lead. The full results of the election in North Carolina are unlikely to be known until later this week, as the deadline in the state to receive absentee ballots postmarked by Election Day is November 12.

By Grace Segers
 

CBS News projects Mark Kelly will win Senate race in Arizona

CBS News is projecting that Democrat Mark Kelly will win the Senate race in Arizona, defeating incumbent Republican Senator Martha McSally. This is the second Republican-held seat that Democratic candidates have flipped this year, with Democrat John Hickenlooper also defeating GOP Senator Cory Gardner in Georgia.

As of midday Friday, Kelly was leading McSally by 3 percentage points with 91% of votes counted. Kelly, a former astronaut, is the husband of gun control activist Gabby Giffords, who was shot while serving as a congresswoman in 2011.

This leaves Democrats and Republicans deadlocked with 48 Senate seats each. The Senate race in North Carolina between incumbent GOP Senator Thom Tillis and Democrat Cal Cunningham is still too close to call. The two Senate races in Georgia are both likely to advance to runoff elections, meaning that the final partisan balance of the Senate may not be known until January.

By Grace Segers
 

CBS News projects Gary Peters will win Senate seat in Michigan

Senator Gary Peters will win reelection in Michigan, CBS News projects. Peters, one of only two Democrats up for reelection in a state that President Trump won in 2016, survived an unexpectedly tough reelection bid against Republican challenger John James. The seat was a must-win for Democrats hoping to take control of the Senate. 

Mr. Trump, who had campaigned with James, tweeted earlier about the race. He falsely claimed Michigan "has now found the ballots necessary to keep a wonderful young man, John James, out of the U.S. Senate. What a terrible thing is happening!"

CBS News projected earlier Wednesday that Joe Biden will win Michigan. 

Acting CBP Commissioner Morgan Testifies Before Senate Homeland Security Committee
Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat from Michigan and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, wears a protective mask during a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 25, 2020.  Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Bloomberg via Getty Images
By Caroline Linton
 

Pelosi says "American people have made their choice clear" in voting for Biden

 In a letter to her Democratic colleagues in the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed confidence that Biden would be elected president, even though several states have yet to be called.

"The American people have made their choice clear at the ballot box, and are sending Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to the White House," Pelosi said.

She also praised House Democrats for keeping their majority, saying that the House will "now have the opportunity to deliver extraordinary progress." However, she only obliquely referenced the heavy losses by several freshmen Democrats who had flipped red seats.

"Though it was a challenging election, all of our candidates – both Frontline and Red to Blue – made us proud," Pelosi said.

By Grace Segers
 

Cori Bush becomes Missouri's first Black congresswoman, CBS News projects

Cori Bush, a progressive Democrat and activist, has become Missouri's first Black congresswoman, according to CBS News projections. With 88% of votes reported, Bush is leading Republican Anthony Rogers 78.9% to 19% to represent the state's first congressional district, which includes St. Louis and Ferguson.

Bush, 44, claimed victory on Tuesday, promising to bring change to the district. "As the first Black woman and also the first nurse and single mother to have the honor to represent Missouri in the United States Congress, let me say this: To the Black women, the Black girls, the nurses, the essential workers, the single mothers, this is our moment," she told supporters in St. Louis.

Read more here

Cori Bush Missouri
Congresswoman-elect Cori Bush speaks during her election night watch party on November 3, 2020, in St. Louis, Missouri.  Michael B. Thomas / Getty


By Zoe Christen Jones
 

Collins says Gideon called to concede

Senator Susan Collins of Maine told supporters on Wednesday that her Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon, had called her to concede the race. Without taking Collins' seat, Democrats have little change of claiming the Senate majority. 

"I have news for everyone. I just received a very gracious call from Sara Gideon conceding the race," Collins told supporters on Wednesday afternoon.

Collins, one of the more moderate members of Senate, was considered particularly vulnerable this year. If she had received under 50% of the vote, the race would have proceeded to a runoff, under Maine's system of ranked-choice voting.

Gideon significantly outraised Collins, and hit the senator repeatedly for voting to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. 

By Grace Segers
 

McConnell "not troubled at all" by Trump's suggestion of Supreme Court challenge

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended Mr. Trump for falsely claiming that he won reelection, although he acknowledged that the presidential race had not yet been decided.

"It's not unusual for people to claim they have won the election. I can think of that happening on numerous occasions," McConnell told reporters in Kentucky. "But, claiming to win the election is different from finishing the counting."

He also said he was "not troubled at all" by the president suggesting that the outcome of the election might be determined by the Supreme Court. The president cannot unilaterally bring a case to the Supreme Court, what it's unclear what case the Trump campaign would have if it challenged the counting of legally cast absentee ballots.

McConnell, who won his own closely watched reelection race on Tuesday evening, expressed measured confidence about Republicans maintaining their majority in the Senate. He said he believed there is a "chance we will know by the end of the day" if Republicans won races in states like Georgia and North Carolina.

"I don't know whether I'm going to be the defensive coordinator or the offensive coordinator," McConnell said, meaning he wasn't sure if he would be Senate majority or minority leader come January.

By Grace Segers
 

Arizona Senate race is likely Democratic, CBS News estimates

CBS News estimates that the Arizona Senate race is leaning toward Democrat Mark Kelly, indicating Democrats could pick up their second Senate seat of the night.

Incumbent Republican Senator Martha McSally was appointed to her position months after losing to Senator Kyrsten Sinema by under 3 points in the race for the state's other Senate seat in 2018. 

Kelly is the husband of gun control activist Gabby Giffords, a former congresswoman who was shot in 2011.

By Grace Segers
 

How Maine and Nebraska's split electoral votes could affect the election

As the race drags into Wednesday, it appears two congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska could prove pivotal in deciding the outcome of the election.

Maine and Nebraska are the only states in the nation that split their electoral votes. Maine awards two of its four electoral votes to the statewide winner, but also allocates an electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each of its two congressional districts. Nebraska gives two of its five electoral votes to the statewide winner, with the remaining three going to the popular vote winner in each of its three congressional districts.

Read more here.

By Grace Segers
 

CBS News projects Daines wins reelection in Montana

CBS News is projecting that Republican Senator Steve Daines has won reelection in Montana, defeating former two-term Democratic Governor Steve Bullock. Bullock's loss means that Democrats' path to reclaiming the Senate majority is continuing to narrow.

By Grace Segers
 

Theresa Greenfield concedes in closely-watched Iowa Senate race

Democrat Theresa Greenfield has conceded in Iowa to incumbent Republican Senator Joni Ernst, writing on Twitter that "unfortunately we came up short."

"Folks, it's been a long night and unfortunately we came up short. I couldn't be more proud of the work we all put in. This race was never about me -- it's about creating a future that works for all Iowans. And that fight doesn't stop tonight. Thank you," Greenfield wrote.

CBS News has also projected that Mr. Trump has won Iowa.

By Grace Segers
 

Lindsey Graham wins reelection in South Carolina Senate race, CBS News projects

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham won reelection, CBS News projects, after a contentious race. Although Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison outraised Graham by a significant amount, it was not enough to flip a Senate seat in the deep-red state.

Graham led the high-profile confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and Harrison hit him for his reversal on confirming a Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year.

Lindsey Graham speaks after Senate victory 15:31

Meanwhile, Republican Roger Marshall has also won the Senate race in Kansas, defeating Democrat Barbara Bollier.

By Grace Segers
 

Doug Collins concedes to Kelly Loeffler in Georgia Senate race

Republican Congressman Doug Collins has conceded to Senator Kelly Loeffler, who has advanced to a runoff election in the Georgia Senate race along with Democrat Raphael Warnock. The runoff election will be held in early January.

"I just called @kloeffler and congratulated her on making the runoff. She has my support and endorsement. I look forward to all Republicans coming together. Raphael Warnock would be a disaster for Georgia and America," Collins tweeted.

By Grace Segers
 

Democrats lose Senate seat in Alabama

Democratic Senator Doug Jones has lost his race in Alabama, CBS News projects. Jones' loss is expected, but it means the Democrats need another seat to take back control of the Senate. Democrats have picked up one seat so far, in Colorado. 

Many consider Jones' tenure as a senator from ruby-red Alabama to be a fluke. He won the seat in a 2017 special election to fill the vacancy left by Jeff Sessions, who became Mr. Trump's first attorney general. Jones narrowly defeated Republican candidate Roy Moore, who faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls. This year, Jones was less fortunate with his opponent. He was defeated by Tommy Tuberville, the well-known, beloved former coach of the Auburn University football team. 

Meanwhile, CBS News projects Republican Senator John Cornyn won his reelection race in Texas, defeating Democrat MJ Hegar.

By Grace Segers
 

2 New Yorkers become first Black and openly gay members of Congress

 Tuesday night will be historic in part because of the diversity of candidates elected to the House. Democrats Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones, both of New York, are the first Black and openly gay members of Congress.

Meanwhile, Republican Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina is leading in North Carolina's 11th district, a safe Republican seat. Cawthorn, 25, won the June primary against a Trump-backed candidate for the seat vacated by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows . He has come under fire for visiting Hitler's retreat and for his campaign launching a website which included a racist broadside against his Democratic opponent.

By Grace Segers
 

Trump's former physician wins House seat

Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician who served under both Presidents Trump and Obama, has won his race in Texas' 13th Congressional District. Jackson rose to prominence in 2018 when he gave a glowing press conference about Mr. Trump's health.

Mr. Trump nominated Jackson to be Veterans Affairs secretary last year, but Jackson withdrew amid allegations that he drank on the job and over-prescribed medications. In his House race, Jackson has closely aligned himself with Mr. Trump. He has downplayed the coronavirus pandemic and criticized mask-wearing requirements. He has also promoted baseless claims about Biden's mental health.

Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw also won reelection. Crenshaw is a conservative firebrand and a rising GOP star in the House.

By Grace Segers
 

Iowa and Montana Senate races toss-up

With polls closing at 10 p.m. ET, CBS News estimates the closely-watched Iowa and Montana Senate races are both toss-ups. If the Democratic candidates defeated the Republican incumbents, it would bring Democrats closer to gaining the majority in the Senate.

In Iowa, Republican Senator Joni Ernst is being challenged by Democrat Theresa Greenfield in an unexpectedly close race. Mr. Trump won Iowa by 10 percentage points in 2016, raising concerns among Republicans about the tightness of a race Ernst was initially expected to win. Greenfield has raised far more than Ernst — $28.7 million in the third quarter — and she could end up outspending Ernst by more than $25 million by Election Day.  

In Montana, first-term Republican Senator Steve Daines faces a challenge from the two-term governor of his state, Steve Bullock. Like Hickenlooper, Bullock briefly ran for president before ending his bid and entering the Senate race in March 2020. Bullock won reelection in Montana as a Democrat in 2016 even as Donald Trump won the state by about 20 points.

Meanwhile, the South Carolina Senate race has gone from a "toss-up" to "likely Republican."

By Grace Segers
 

CBS News projects Hickenlooper wins Colorado Senate seat, Democrats' first pickup

Democrats picked up their first Senate seat of the night, with CBS News projecting former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has defeated incumbent GOP Senator Cory Gardner. Hickenlooper decided to run for Senate after running briefly in the Democratic presidential primary.

Gardner was considered one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection this year, especially since he's the only major statewide elected GOP official. Gardner has also been trailing Hickenlooper in polls leading up to Election Day.

While this is a victory for Democrats, they will have to pick up several other seats to gain a majority in the Senate.

By Grace Segers
 

Arizona and Colorado lean Democratic in closely-watched Senate races

As polls close at 9 p.m. in several states, CBS News estimates that Arizona and Colorado are both leaning Democratic. Both seats are currently held by Republican senators. The Senate races in Michigan and Minnesota also lean Democratic, while the race in New Mexico is likely Democratic.

Meanwhile, the Senate race in Kansas leans Republican, and the races in Louisiana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming are likely Republican.

By Grace Segers
 

CBS News projects Mitch McConnell wins Senate race in Kentucky

 CBS News projects that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has won his reelection race. McConnell was challenged by Democrat Amy McGrath, who ran unsuccessfully for a House seat two years ago.

McGrath had won national attention — and significant fundraising — when she entered the race, but she had to withstand a bruising primary challenge from the left. After defeating Charles Booker in the primary, McGrath sustained a fundraising advantage over McConnell in the closing months of the race, but was unable to translate those funds into in-person support.

CBS News also projects that New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, has won reelection.

By Grace Segers
 

Maine Senate race a toss-up as polls close

 With polls closing at 8 p.m., the hotly contested Maine Senate race remains a toss-up. Senator Susan Collins, running for her fifth term, is considered one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate, but she is facing considerable skepticism from Democrats and independents who previously supported her. State Speaker of the House Sara Gideon is the Democratic candidate, and has posted record fundraising.

CBS News projects that Democratic Senator Chris Coons of Delaware and Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts have both won reelection. Republican Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma also won reelection.

The Alabama Senate race is leaning toward Republican Tommy Tuberville, who is taking on incumbent Senator Doug Jones, the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate. 

The Tennessee Senate race is also leaning Republican. The Mississippi Senate race is likely Republican. The Senate races in New Hampshire, Illinois, and Rhode Island are lean Democratic, and New Jersey is likely Democratic.

By Grace Segers
 

House candidate in Georgia who promoted QAnon conspiracy theories likely to win

Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene, a QAnon supporter who has promoted conspiracy theories, is likely to win her Georgia House race. The QAnon mindset purports that President Trump is fighting against a deep state cabal of satanists who abuse children.

Greene has referred to the election of Muslim members to the House as "an Islamic invasion of our government," and spread conspiracy theories about 9/11 and the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.

Mr. Trump has expressed his support for Taylor and called her a "future Republican star." Senator Kelly Loeffler of Georgia, who is locked in a tight reelection race, campaigned with Taylor last month.

The House passed a bipartisan resolution condemning QAnon in early October.

By Grace Segers
 

CBS News estimates North Carolina Senate race a toss-up

With polls closing at 7:30 p.m., CBS News estimates the North Carolina race remains a "toss-up." The West Virginia Senate race leans Republican.

The closely- watched North Carolina Senate race has seen a couple of October surprises. Incumbent Senator Thom Tillis, a Republican, tested positive for COVID-19. Democrat Cal Cunningham became embroiled in a sex scandal. Neither development upended the race, which remains extremely close. 

By Grace Segers
 

Georgia, South Carolina toss-ups as of 7 p.m. ET

As of 7:00 pm ET when polls closed, CBS News estimates the Georgia and South Carolina Senate races are still toss-ups.

CBS News estimates the Kentucky Senate race as "lean Republican," while the race in Virginia is "lean Democrat."

By Grace Segers
 

Key races that could determine the Senate majority

To take the majority, Democrats would have to net three seats, should Biden win the presidency, or four seats, if Mr. Trump wins reelection, because it's the vice president who breaks ties in the Senate. The current balance of the Republican-controlled Senate is 53 to 47.

Here is a rundown of the key Senate races in this year's election:

  • Alabama: Many consider Democrat Doug Jones' tenure as a senator from ruby-red Alabama to be a fluke. He won the seat in a 2017 special election to fill the vacancy left by Jeff Sessions, who became Mr. Trump's first attorney general. Jones narrowly defeated Republican candidate Roy Moore, who faced multiple allegations of sexual misconduct with underage girls. This year, Jones is less fortunate in his opponent — he's been challenged by Tommy Tuberville, the well-known, beloved former coach of the Auburn University football team. 

  • Arizona: Republican Senator Martha McSally was appointed to her position months after losing to Senator Kyrsten Sinema by under 3 points in the race for the state's other Senate seat in 2018. This year's election is another test of whether she can win the state. This time she's facing Democrat Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, a gun control activist who was shot in 2011. 

  • Colorado: Incumbent first-term Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican, is locked in a tight race with former Governor John Hickenlooper. After a brief primary presidential bid, Hickenlooper decided to run for Senate. Gardner is considered one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection this year — he's the only major statewide elected GOP official. Gardner has been trailing Hickenlooper in polls leading up to Election Day, and Cook Political Report rates this race as "Lean Democratic." 

  • Georgia: Georgia has two high-profile Senate races this year, thanks to a contentious special election. GOP Senator David Perdue is defending his seat from Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, who ran for the House unsuccessfully a few years ago. Meanwhile, Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler is running to hang on to the seat that she was appointed to fill in December 2019 when Senator Johnny Isakson retired early. This special election has 21 candidates, but her main competition comes from GOP Congressman Doug Collins. The leading Democratic candidate is Reverend Raphael Warnock.

  • Iowa: Republican Senator Joni Ernst is being challenged by Democrat Theresa Greenfield in an unexpectedly close race. Mr. Trump won Iowa by 10 percentage points in 2016, raising concerns among Republicans about the tightness of a race Ernst was initially expected to win. Greenfield has raised far more than Ernst — $28.7 million in the third quarter — and she could end up outspending Ernst by more than $25 million by Election Day.  

  • Maine: Senator Susan Collins, running for her fifth term, is considered one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate, but she is facing considerable skepticism from Democrats and independents who previously supported her. State Speaker of the House Sara Gideon is the Democratic candidate, and has posted record fundraising. 

  • Michigan: Michigan is a key battleground state in the presidential election as well as in the Senate, as Mr. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by an incredibly narrow margin in 2016. First-term Democratic Senator Gary Peters is up for reelection and is running against Republican John James, who unsuccessfully ran for Senate in 2018. 

  • Montana: First-term Republican Senator Steve Daines faces a challenge from the two-term governor of his state, Steve Bullock. Like Hickenlooper, Bullock briefly ran for president before ending his bid and entering the Senate race in March 2020. Bullock won reelection in Montana as a Democrat in 2016 even as Donald Trump won the state by about 20 points.

  • North Carolina: The closely- watched North Carolina Senate race has seen a couple of October surprises. Incumbent Senator Thom Tillis, a Republican, tested positive for COVID-19. Democrat Cal Cunningham became embroiled in a sex scandal. Neither development upended the race, which remains extremely close. 

  • South Carolina: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham is facing a closer than expected reelection race. Graham led the high-profile confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, and Democrat Jaime Harrison is hitting him for his reversal on confirming a Supreme Court nominee in a presidential election year. Harrison is the former state Democratic Party chair, and an African American candidate in a state where 30% of the population is African American. The race has received a lot of national attention, giving Harrison a financial boost. 

By Grace Segers
 

Lindsey Graham votes in South Carolina

 Senator Lindsey Graham cast his ballot in Seneca, South Carolina, around 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning, CBS Spartanburg, South Carolina affiliate WSPA-TV reports.

Graham, a close ally of President Trump, is locked in a tougher-than-expected reelection battle against Jaime Harrison in a race that has captured national attention. Harris raised $57 million between July and September alone, shattering the $38 million previous record for the most money raised in a Senate race in that three-month period.

By Caroline Linton
 

Control of the Senate could be decided by Georgia races

 There are two races up in Georgia this election, a regular Senate race and special election. The rules in Georgia for both the regular Senate election and the Senate special election require a candidate to win a majority, and if none of the candidates clear the 50% threshold, the race goes to a runoff in January. 

Recent polling in the race between incumbent GOP Senator David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff has been tight, and the presence of a libertarian candidate on the ballot could prevent either Perdue or Ossoff from clearing the majority. In the special election, 21 candidates have qualified to be on the ballot, including Democrat Raphael Warnock, who has led in recent polls. GOP candidates Senator Kelly Loeffer, who was appointed to the seat last year, and Congressman Doug Collins are also on the ballot. If no candidate clears the majority, that race will also go to a runoff in January.

By Eleanor Watson
 

Pelosi says "it doesn't matter right now" if she'll seek another term as speaker beyond 2022

 In a press call, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot down a question about whether this upcoming term would be her last as speaker, calling it the "least important question you could ask today." She added that "the fate of our nation, the soul of the nation" is at stake in the election.

"Elections are about the future," Pelosi said. "One of these days I'll let you know what my plans are, when it is appropriate and when it matters. It doesn't matter right now."

After the 2018 election, Pelosi agreed to term limits on Democratic leaders that would prevent her from serving as speaker beyond 2022.

By Caroline Linton
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