Republicans gain seats in Senate

Updated: 2014-11-05 12:01

By Associated Press(China Daily USA)

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Riding a powerful wave of voter discontent, resurgent Republicans captured seats in Arkansas, West Virginia, South Dakota and Montana on Tuesday as they reached for control of the Senate and sought to tighten their grip on the House in elections certain to complicate President Barack Obama's final two years in office.

The Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, dispatched Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky after a $78 million campaign of unrelieved negativity. Voters are "hungry for new leadership. They want a reason to be hopeful," said the man in line to become majority leader and set the Senate agenda.

Two-term incumbent Mark Pryor of Arkansas was the first Democrat to fall, defeated by freshman Rep. Tom Cotton. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito was the GOP winner for a Senate seat in West Virginia, the first since 1956.

Former Gov. Mike Rounds triumphed in South Dakota for still another seat currently in Democratic hands, and Rep. Steve Daines followed suit in Montana.

Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy forced Sen. Mary Landrieu into a Dec. 6 runoff in Louisiana.

The Republicans needed to gain six seats in all to end a Democratic majority in place since 2006.

Obama was at the White House as voters remade Congress for the final two years of his tenure. With lawmakers set to convene next week for a postelection session, he invited leadership to a meeting.

A shift in control of the Senate would likely result in a strong GOP assault on budget deficits, additional pressure on Democrats to accept sweeping changes to the health care law that stands as Obama's signal domestic accomplishment and a bid to reduce federal regulations.

There were 36 gubernatorial elections on the ballot, and several incumbents struggled against challengers. Tom Wolf captured the Pennsylvania statehouse for the Democrats, defeating Republican Gov. Tom Corbett.

House Republicans also picked up a Democratic seat held by a retiring Democrat in North Carolina, and bid for more.

Mike Rogers, a Republican member of the House and also chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Frank Wolf, a Republican member of the House from Virginia. Both were not seeking re-election.

Rogers was the one who co-authored a report in October 2012 accusing Huawei and ZTE of posing a possible national security threat. Wolf was the one who inserted a clause in the 2011 US federal budget prohibiting NASA and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from any joint scientific activity with China.

Chen Weihua in Washington contributed to this story