November 5th, 2008
01:46 AM ET
9 years ago

Dems hope for 'Magic 60'

(CNN) - Updated - Even as Democrats increase their control of the Senate, their eyes are on four crucial Senate races in their increasingly uphill battle to reach a filibuster-proof Senate majority of 60 seats. At this point, the Democrats must win seats in Alaska - where Republican Ted Stevens is running for re-election after being convicted on seven federal corruption charges last month - Georgia, Minnesota and Oregon to get to that crucial number. Georgia requires the winner to get 51 percent of the vote or there will be a runoff.

At this point, the Democrats have increased their majority to at least 56 seats by picking up five seats in Tuesday's elections. In a hotly contested fight in North Carolina, Democrat Kay Hagan, a state senator, ousted Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole, a Cabinet secretary in the Reagan administration. Rep. Mark Udall captured a seat held by retiring Republican Sen. Wayne Allard of Colorado. In New Hampshire, former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen defeated incumbent Sen. John Sununu. That was a rematch of the 2002 race, when Sununu defeated Shaheen.

In New Mexico, Rep. Tom Udall won the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Pete Domenici, a Republican. The projected winner of Virginia's open Senate seat, Democratic former Gov. Mark Warner, will fill the seat of retiring Sen. John Warner, a Republican. The two Warners are not related.

According to CNN's projections, 12 Democrats have kept their seats. They are Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana - who faced a tough re-election bid - Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia. Delaware's Democratic governor will appoint a replacement for Biden, who was elected vice president.

Republicans have retained 14 seats, and Democratic hopes to reach the crucial 60 seats first faced a setback when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky won re-election to a fifth term after a fierce challenge. His spokesman said he plans to seek another term as the Republican leader.

The other Republicans returning to the Senate are Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi, Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina - John McCain's chief ally in the Senate - Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming and Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming.

Idaho's open Senate seat will remain Republican with the election of Lt. Gov. Jim Risch to replace retiring Sen. Larry Craig, who was arrested last year in a police sting operation in an airport bathroom. Nebraska's open Senate seat will remain in Republican hands with the election of former Gov. Mike Johanns to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Chuck Hagel.

While Barack Obama's Senate seat from Illinois wasn't up for re-election, under state law the governor, who's currently a Democrat, will appoint a replacement to fill the vacancy left by the president-elect.

Filed under: 2008 Election • Senate
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Bill

    We don't need 60...we just need to Republicans to work WITH us to get things done. I think the balance is good...we just need to work together.

    November 4, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  2. Capn Al

    Arthur – Your present "prez" and his cabal have already tromped the constitution, the military, the judiciary, the environment, the economy and the U.S.'s reputation into the dirt. That's why they are getting their walking papers tonight. And America watched and shrugged as it happened. With Rush and Sean and Fox to watch guard over the dems it will only be a matter of weeks until somebody starts the movement to get rid of them. Maybe that will keep them honest! Ya think?

    November 4, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  3. From TX

    Now there is no Social program we can't put through!
    Viva La Cuba

    November 4, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  4. Lee in Mississippi

    I voted for John McCain and I consider myself an independant. However it is my hope that President-Elect Obama does govern from the center since this is where the majority of Americans are. I do believe however that we do need a checks and balance system. It will be my intent in 2010 to vote all INCUMBENT congressmen and women, regardless of party out of office. THEY are who have failed the American people. How can your president have term limits but not your congressman. We have given them too much power. They all are in it for themselves and until we the people of the United States
    vote these yahoos out there can be NO REAL CHANGE. Though I disagree with Mr. Obama's stance on a number of issues, I will still proudly serve like I am now as an Officer in the United States Air Force. Good Luck President-Elect Obama, you are going to need it. Please govern from the middle- we are counting on you.

    November 4, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  5. From TX

    Dear sweet Farrell. We're divided just now the dems get to be in office. You see red or blue we are divided one way or the other. You Democrats are so da_ned arrogant.

    November 4, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  6. Peter (CA)

    Nice TJ, he hasn't even officially won and you are already calling Obama a "powerless President".
    Actually this puts the onus on the Republicans. If they are just going to obstruct Obama and the Democrats, expect to lose some more seats in 2010.

    November 4, 2008 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  7. monado

    The checks and balances have been almost completely eroded with emergency executive powers. Bush defies subpoenas and has put the foxes in charge of the henhouse in regulatory and conservation functions.

    November 4, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  8. Jim in the south

    Secession boys, rally around the flag! it is obvious we southern states have hugely different philosophical ideas about this country and our futures. Lets go our way and let the blues go theirs. There really is no medium ground on the issues that divide us. So, let the blues choose to live how they want and allow the reds to do the same.

    November 4, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |

    It's going to be a great 4 years. maybe 8!

    November 4, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  10. Scott L

    This would be the end of America if this happens.

    November 4, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  11. Scott L




    November 4, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  12. Sheila


    President BO!

    November 4, 2008 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  13. GOPMAN

    Looks like they won't get 60. Saving grace – it's not the end of the world. Hang in there fellow GOPers...use tax sheltered income, hunker down and fight them fiercely the next four years. Senate has to filibuster and slow down the carnage. We'll make it through......

    November 4, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  14. Erika, KS

    You people are idiots. It is this democrat Congress that allowed Bush to spend your tax money like a drunken sailor!. To have a liberal democrat president and this do nothing but everything Bush wanted Congress. We will NOT be united under Obama. You are all idiots. Obama is nothing more than a smooth talking used car sales man. One timer. This is the worst thing than could have happened in this country. A democratic president and a democratic controlled Congress. Hold on your wallets you idiots. It's your fault.

    November 4, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  15. billy

    Hugo Chavez is getting his moneys worth

    November 4, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  16. Ralph

    welcome to Moscow

    November 4, 2008 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  17. Jason

    No Andrew, there were NO conservatives... social or fiscal. The downfall started with prescription drugs (fiscal) and culminated with immigration (social). But I truly believe that the runaway spending killed the party. Guess we'll see if Obama is any better.

    November 4, 2008 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  18. Erika, KS

    I realize that what these Obama fanatics are wanting is a freebie in the form of 'spreading the wealth' around. Not going to happen. Idiots, idiots, idiots. Get off your butts and work for it if you want it.

    Racism is alive and well in the states. And it's the black people who are racist. Shameful. Stupid.

    November 4, 2008 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  19. john

    This country is in big trouble. If you want to see the future of this country simply look south of the border. The best way to get elected is to tell the people you will get something for doing nothing. How much of my stuff are you entitiled to?

    November 4, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  20. 1460 Days

    We've a strong country...hopefully strong enough to survive the next 1460 days when we correct the huge mistake the country made.

    November 4, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  21. Mary

    The World is not coming to an end, cheer up! There is hope and tonite belongs to Obama!

    I was very sad when Bush won not once but twice. But I never said the world was coming to an end, even after 8 years of his administration destroying so much of our country. Not just destruction of the constitution, but the morals and optimism of it's citizens. It is a joyous moment that we are seeing right this moment and we will need to look back on it over the next 4 years because it is going to be tough yes, but regardless of who won it would have been that way. But, we have HOPE now for CHANGE and that is something to be joyous about.

    November 4, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  22. Ana

    God Bless America...... and God Bless Obama and his family.....

    November 4, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  23. Worried

    Congratulations to our Next Pres. Sen Obama. My only hope is that he does everything he has talked about the past 17 months. I did not vote for Mr. Obama, but I pray that he is a man of his words and guide our country for change that is good and not bad.

    November 4, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  24. Jack

    Obama will never be my president! I wish his mother aborted him. Better say this now, because ill be thrown in jail for hate speech when he is president

    November 4, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  25. Leudy

    We will never be united under terrorist leader obama. This country is heading into scary time. I will fight obama and his socialist regime every step of the way.

    November 4, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
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