Skip to main content
Home World U.S. Weather Business Sports Analysis Politics Law Tech Science Health Entertainment Offbeat Travel Education Specials Autos I-Reports
Inside Politics

Dems take House as GOP clings to Senate, CNN projects

Story Highlights

NEW: Republican Jim Talent concedes tight Missouri Senate race
• Democrats must win both undecided races to control Senate, CNN projects
• Democrats will win control of House of Representatives, CNN projects
• Rep. Nancy Pelosi, set to be House speaker, challenges President Bush over Iraq
Adjust font size:
Decrease fontDecrease font
Enlarge fontEnlarge font

(CNN) -- Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives for the first time since the 1994 Republican revolution, while control of the Senate hangs in the balance, CNN projects.

Democratic challengers have picked up four seats in the Senate, CNN projects. Republicans would need to take just one of the two remaining competitive races to keep control of the chamber. Results are still too close to call in Montana and Virginia.

Republican Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri conceded defeat to Democrat Claire McCaskill early Wednesday after a hard-fought race, telling supporters that "the headwind was just very, very strong this year."

With all polls now closed after Tuesday's midterm elections, CNN projects that Democrats will pick up 22 seats, more than the 15 they needed to capture a majority in the House. (Latest House news)

"Tonight is a great victory for the American people," said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is poised to become the first female speaker of the House. "The American people voted for a new direction."

She vowed "civility and bipartisanship" but confronted the president over his Iraq policy: "Mr. President, we need a new direction in Iraq." (Watch Pelosi challenge the president -- 4:43 Video)

The projected result means that President Bush for the first time faces the prospect of working with a Democratic-controlled House.

Bush, whose anemic approval ratings proved a drag on Republican prospects, was described as "disappointed" with the House results. However, spokesman Tony Fratto said the president was "still optimistic about the Senate."

White House spokesman Tony Snow said the president would telephone Pelosi on Wednesday to offer congratulations.

"We're going to get a lot done," Snow said. "On energy, education, those are clearly things we can work on."

The Democratic pickups in the House included three seats vacated by Republicans amid controversy: Mark Foley's in Florida, Bob Ney's in Ohio and Tom DeLay's in Texas.

With more voters than ever using electronic voting machines, scattered glitches reported across the country prompted officials to extend voting hours in some areas. (Full story)

'Biting our nails'

Thirty-three Senate seats were at stake, but only nine races were considered competitive.

In Virginia, embattled Republican Sen. George Allen and his Democratic challenger, Jim Webb, were locked in a virtual tie, separated by fewer than 3,000 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

"We are right now biting our nails about Virginia, which is neck and neck," Sen. Chuck Schumer, the chairman of the Democrats' Senate campaign effort, told supporters.

Webb declared victory early Wednesday, saying, "The votes are in, and we won."

But a recount appeared likely.

"The election continues," Allen vowed. "I know the counting will continue through the night."

Republican candidate Bob Corker will win the Tennessee Senate race, defeating Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr., CNN projects. He'll fill the open seat now held by retiring Republican Bill Frist, the Senate majority leader.

If the parties split the Virginia and Montana races, that would create a 50-50 breakdown in the Senate. In that event, Vice President Dick Cheney would break tie votes.

Democratic senator-turned-independent candidate Joe Lieberman will win the Connecticut Senate race, CNN projects. Both he and newly elected independent Bernie Sanders in Vermont have said they will caucus with the Democrats. (Watch Joe Lieberman become a "comeback kid" -- 1:58 Video)

Democratic challenger Sheldon Whitehouse will win the Rhode Island Senate race, defeating Republican incumbent Lincoln Chafee, CNN projects. (Full Senate news)

Two-term Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, the chamber's third-ranking Republican, has conceded to Bob Casey Jr. And Democrat Sherrod Brown will defeat GOP Sen. Mike DeWine in Ohio, CNN projects.

"This just was a little too steep of a mountain to climb," said Santorum, an outspoken opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage.

And DeWine, also a two-term senator, told supporters: "It just was not to be. This was not the year."

Democrats have retained two of their Senate seats that were considered competitive, with incumbent Bob Menendez winning in New Jersey and Ben Cardin taking Maryland, CNN projects.

Defying the traditional political maxim that "all politics is local," 62 percent of voters said in exit polls that national issues mattered more than local issues.

The exit polls showed that 42 percent of voters called corruption an extremely important issue in their choices at the polls, followed by terrorism at 40 percent, the economy at 39 percent and the war in Iraq at 37 percent.

Other developments:

  • Six governorships changed from Republican to Democratic hands in Tuesday's election, giving Democrats control of a majority of the top state posts for the first time in 12 years. Among those lost by Republicans were New York, Ohio and Massachusetts, all of which they had held for more than a decade. Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won re-election in California. (Governors races)
  • Also appearing on state ballots are a string of referendums, some controversial. In two of them, CNN projects that state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage will pass in Virginia and Tennessee. CNN also projects that Arizona voters will approve a measure making English the official language of the state, and that South Dakota voters will reject a proposed law that would ban nearly all abortions. (Ballot initiatives)
  • Follow Related Topics

    Search TopicE-mail Alerts

    Supporters of the Democratic Party cheer incoming results at a party in Washington, D.C.


    SENATE Updated: 11:43 a.m. ET
    33 at stake, 0 undecided
    51 Dem, 50 GOP needed for majority
    HOUSE Updated: 11:43 a.m. ET
    435 at stake, 0 undecided
    218 needed for majority
    * Total for Senate Democrats includes two independents
    Election Results Main Page


    Quick Job Search
      More Options
    International Edition
    CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise with Us About Us Contact Us
    © 2007 Cable News Network.
    A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
    Terms under which this service is provided to you.
    Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
    SERVICES » E-mails RSSRSS Feed PodcastsRadio News Icon CNNtoGo CNN Pipeline
    Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
    Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more