Republicans solidified their razor-thin Senate majority Tuesday night, knocking off several Democratic senators in traditionally red states.
In Indiana, Republican Mike Braun beat Democratic incumbent Senator Joe Donnelly.
Republican Kevin Cramer ousted one-term Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp.
Two unexpectedly difficult races in deep-red states went to Republicans. In Tennessee, Representative Marsha Blackburn kept recently retired GOP senator Bob Corker’s seat for Republicans, beating out former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen. Senator Ted Cruz also retained control of his Texas seat after a nail-biter race in which Democratic rising star Beto O’Rourke whipped up a unexpected level of enthusiasm.
Historically, the party of the president loses seats in Congress after a presidential election, a dressing-down of the chief executive from voters. However, President Trump has gone to bat for Republican candidates this cycle, holding eleven campaign rallies in just the week leading up to Election Day.
Democrats were projected to win control of the House and had gained twelve seats before West coast polls had closed.
Republicans were expected to retain their Senate majority and possibly expand it. Ten Democratic incumbents ran in states Trump won in 2016.
The GOP’s grasp of the Senate will allow Trump to easily appoint more federal judges. It also paves an easier path for another Supreme Court confirmation process should the president have an opportunity to nominate a third justice.
“Anybody that was anticipating a blue wave tonight’s not going to get it. Maybe you get a ripple but I certainty don’t think that there’s a blue wave,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.