In the American mid-term elections, the Democrats have maintained control of the Senate – which may be some comfort for President Obama as his party lost control of the House of Representatives.
In the Senate, 50 seats are needed for a majority and, based on exit polls, so far the Democrats have 51 and the Republicans 46.
Tea-Party favourite Paul Rand, who is an eye doctor, saw his way to victory in Kentucky, beating Democrat Jack Conway whose nasty-ad attack backfired alienating voters and apparently handed his opponent victory on a plate.
In Indiana, the Republicans’ Dan Coats, an establishment figure, won in the Senate race beating the sitting Democrat Brad Ellsworth.
In Vermont, Patrick Leahy kept his seat in the Senate for the Democrats, beating Republican Leonard Britton.
In South Carolina, the Republican Senate candidate Jim DeMint beat Democrat Alvin Greene. Greene was perhaps the most unlikely participant in this election. An ex-soldier with no previous political experience, his Youtube video went viral and many thought he had a chance of winning.
In Georgia, incumbent Republican Johnny Isakson held on to his seat against Democrat Michael Thurmond.
In North Carolina the Senate seat was held by Republican candidate Richard Burr, who beat Democrat Elaine Marshall.
In Ohio, as expected, Republican Rob Portman (previously a Bush administration trade director) beat Democrat Lee Fisher for a seat in the Senate.
West Virginia, a highly-prized seat, was won by Democratic Governor Joe Manchin, beating Republican John Raese, who was seen as something of a showman. That may not be good news for President Obama however, as Manchin tends to plough his own furrow, often speaking out against White House policies.
In Florida, much to the dismay of the Democrats, Republican Marco Rubio won a seat in the Senate against Democrat Kendrick Meek. The 38-year-old, who has four children, is the son of Cuban immigrants. Rubio is very much a rising star of the Tea Party and the Republican Party.
In the Senate race in Alabama, Republican Richard Shelby beat Democrat William Barnes. Republican candidate Tom Coburn beat Democrat Jim Rogers in Oklahoma while in Missouri Republican Roy Blunt held the Senate seat against Robin Carnahan.
In Illinois, after an incredibly close race, Republican Mark Kirk took Barack Obama’s old Senate seat. The contest against Democrat Alexi Giannoulias was an extraordinarily ill-natured one – voters being offered the choice between “a thief and a liar”.
In the Senate contest in Pennsylvania after an incredibly tight race, Republican Pat Toomey beat Democrat Joe Sestak, while in Maryland the Democrat candidate Barbara Mikulski won out over Eric Wargotz.
In Delaware, Democrat Christopher Coons is heading back to the Senate after beating Republican and Tea Party favourite Christine O’Donnell – pundits said O’Donnell, who was forced to deny being a witch during her campaign, was just too extreme.
In Connecticut the Democrats have held onto their Senate seat, with Dick Blumenthal beating Linda McMahon for the Republicans. McMahon spent $42 million of her own money
In New Hampshire, the Republican candidate Kelly Ayotte won the Senate seat, beating Democrat Paul Hodes while in Arkansas, Republican John Boozman defeated Democrat Blanche Lincoln.
New York voted overwhelmingly Democrat with Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand holding their seats.
In Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson beat Democrat Russ Feingold in the Senate race. That was a huge blow for the Democrats. Ron Johnson’s first experience of politics was when he went to a Tea Party meeting a year ago. While campaigning he blamed global warming on sunspots.
In North Dakota the Republican John Hoeven beat Democrat Tracy Potter for a Senate seat, while in South Dakota the Republican candidate John Thune had an easy victory as he ran unopposed.
In Kansas, Republican Jerry Moran beat Democrat Lisa Johnston and the winner in Louisiana was Republican David Vitter over Democrat Charlie Melancon. In Iowa, Republican Chuck Grassley beat Roxanne Conlin.
In Colorado the contest is so close that a result has yet to be called between Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican Ken Buck.
Nevada was one of the most extreme and bizarre campaigns in these mid-term elections, and Democrat Harry Reid retained his seat in the Senate defeating high profile Republican Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle. In one of her many foot-in-mouth remarks Angle said a group of ‘Latinos’ looked ‘a little Asian’ to her.
In Utah, Republican candidate Mike Lee beat Democrat Mike Ganato to a seat in the Senate.
In Arizona, it was no surprise that former presidential candidate Republican John McCain beat Rodney Glassman to hang onto his seat in the Senate.
In Idaho, the Republican candidate Mike Crapo held on to his Senate seat against Democratic Republic Tom Sullivan.
In Washington results are still being counted in the race between Democrat Patty Murray and Republican Dino Rossi.
Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden kept his Senate seat against a challenge by Republican Jim Huffman.
In California, Democratic candidate Barbara Boxer beat former Hewlett Packard boss and millionaire Carly Fiorina to retain her seat at the Senate despite Fiorina having spent million of her own money.
In Alaska the race has been untidy and in some ways dependent on voters’ ability to spell candidate Lisa Murkowski’s name. She was the incumbent Republican, but her name was not on the ballot papers as the Republicans preferred a Tea Party candidate Joe Miller. People who wanted to vote for Murkowski had to write her name on the ballot. Exit polls have her in the lead over Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams.
In Hawaii, Democrat Daniel Inouye, who has represented the State in the Senate for 48 years, hung on to his seat, leaving hopeful Republican Cam Cavasso out in the cold.