VAN LEAR, Ky. — Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell made huge gains in eastern Kentucky's coal country on Election Day.
The incoming Senate majority leader won the region by 64,000 votes. In 2008, McConnell won eastern Kentucky by about 8,000 votes.
McConnell campaigned heavily on coal issues and used them to connect his Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes with President Barack Obama. Eastern Kentucky leaders blamed the results on the declining coal industry coupled with Obama's unpopularity.
While McConnell won 110 of 120 counties in his landslide victory, Republicans were unable to wrest control of the state House of Representatives from Democrats. Republicans already control the state Senate but have not had a majority in the lower chamber since 1920.