Riding an anti-Republican wave generated largely by the unpopularity of President George W Bush, Democrats expanded both majorities.
Democrat gains in Senate and House
WASHINGTON // The US Democrats expanded their US senate majority in Tuesday's election, but aides said they would likely fall just short of one big enough to block Republicans from killing their legislation. However, Democrats expressed hope that if they get close to a 'filibuster-proof majority' of 60 in the 100-member chamber, a few moderate Republicans will join them to approve major measures in the new Congress that convenes in January 2010. "They are going to have to be more co-operative. They have to realise their old way of just blocking everything just doesn't work for them," one aide said. "Heck, they party got its butt kicked tonight and [Senate Republican Leader Mitch] McConnell barely won another term," the aide added. Riding an anti-Republican wave generated largely by the unpopularity of President George W Bush, Democrats expanded their majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives. By picking up four seats with several other Senate contests yet to be decided, Democrats had increased their majority to 55 of the Senate's 100 seats, and figured that they would get at least a few more. "There is no way in hell of getting 60," one aide said after reviewing Senate races, many of them yet to be decided. "But I think we gain at least six seats, maybe seven." Overall 35 Senate seats were up for election, 23 held by Republicans, the others by Democrats. Many of the races involving seats held by Republicans were seen as competitive. All 435 House seats were up for election. Democrats now control the chamber, 235-199 with one vacancy. MSNBC projected that Democrats would increase their majority to 261-174. Two former Democratic governors, Mark Warner of Virginia and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, won seats held by Republicans, retiring Sen John Warner and Sen John Sununu, respectively. In addition, Republican Sen Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, wife of 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole, was unseated by Democratic State Senator Kay Hagan. And Democratic US Rep Tom Udall won the seat being vacated by retiring Sen Pete Domenici of New Mexico. Among the senators who easily won re-election was Democratic Sen Joe Biden of Delaware. But he will have to give up his seat since with an Obama victory, Mr Biden will become the new vice president. * Reuters