The results ensure plenty of new faces in the Senate, many of them familiar from the House. Republican Rep. Jeff Flake won in Arizona and will join Democratic Reps. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. In Wisconsin, Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin defeated former four-term Gov. Tommy Thompson and will be the first openly gay senator. .
The caustic campaign for control of the Senate in a divided Congress was marked by endless negative ads and more than $1 billion in spending by outside groups on races from Virginia and Florida to Montana and New Mexico. The outcome in Ohio and Virginia was closely linked to the presidential race.
In Maine, independent Angus King prevailed over Republican Charlie Summers and Democrat Cynthia Dill in the race to replace Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, who blamed partisan gridlock in Washington for her unexpected decision to retire after 18 years in the Senate.
King has resolutely refused to say which party he'd side with if elected. But members of both parties have indicated that they expect the former Democratic governor and Obama supporter to align with Democrats. Reid reached out to him Tuesday night, according to a Senate aide.
In Ohio, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown survived an onslaught of outside spending, some $30 million, to defeat state treasurer Josh Mandel. In Pennsylvania, Democratic Sen. Bob Casey survived a late scare from businessman Tom Smith, who invested more than $17 million of his own money in the race.
Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy won the Connecticut Senate seat held by Sen. Joe Lieberman, the independent who was the Democratic Party's vice presidential nominee in 2000. Murphy's win marked the second straight defeat for former wrestling executive Linda McMahon, who spent $50 million of her own wealth in a failed effort against Sen. Richard Blumenthal in 2010 and more than $42 million this election cycle.
In Texas, Republican Cruz won the seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Cruz will become the third Hispanic in the Senate, joining Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
In Florida, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson triumphed in his bid for a third term, holding off a challenge from Republican Rep. Connie Mack. Republican groups had spent heavily against Nelson early in the race, but the moderate Democrat was a prolific fundraiser with wide appeal among Democrats and some Republicans in the Panhandle.
Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders won a second term in Vermont. Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse in Rhode Island, Ben Cardin in Maryland and Tom Carper in Delaware were all re-elected. Also cruising to another term were Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, Kirsten Gillibrand in New York, Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota, Dianne Feinstein in California, Maria Cantwell in Washington state and Menendez in New Jersey.
In West Virginia, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin won a full term even though his state went heavily for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Tennesseans gave Republican Sen. Bob Corker a second term. Wyoming voters did the same for GOP Sen. John Barrasso, and Republican Roger Wicker captured another term in Mississippi. In Utah, Sen. Orrin Hatch won a seventh term and will be the most senior GOP senator.
Democrats and Republicans in a dozen states faced an onslaught of outside money that financed endless negative commercials and ugly mailings that left voters exasperated. The record independent spending — $50 million in Virginia and $40 million in Wisconsin in addition to $33 million in Ohio — reflected the high-stakes fight for the Senate.
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