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

Dems hope for 'Magic 60'

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(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. USMC Aircrew

    awesome job America =]
    lets put in some years of work to sweep up our mess =]

    November 4, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  2. Epott

    America will neither stand nor fall on who lives within the White House, but will stand or fall on the average American's ability to reason, to think, and to participate in goverment wisely rather than judging truth by image. May our country turn to truth rather than promise, to reason rather than rhetoric, and to faith in God rather than faith in any Man or Party.

    November 4, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  3. Jill

    Wait – why do they keep saying first Black president? I thought he was African American. We have worked so hard to not have it be about color, and now it is back to color. What a shame. Obama is our President, not a "black man." Why is this ok?

    November 4, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  4. Jack

    I take that back. i apologize

    November 4, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  5. doug marcus

    i'm a republican who would not want unchecked power. even if your intentions are good, group think can lead to disastrous decisions.

    November 4, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  6. Terrified

    You wanted change and you got it...welcome to a new socialist America that will no longer rule the world.

    November 4, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  7. PJ

    Second paragraph:
    Then why did you vote for Obama?

    November 4, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  8. CJ

    I am praying that the Republicans hold on to at least 40 seats in the senate. A super majority in a Senate run by Harry Reid and a totally Democratic House of Representatives is even more scary to me than a totally inexperienced less than single term Senator in the White House. The ability to filibuster in the Senate will be the only check on the power of the democrats... no matter what your affiliation you have to agree that checks and balances are important. One thing that seems to have been lost in the election cycle is the fact that the approval rating of Congress is even lower than President Bush's.

    November 4, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  9. Beckyac

    I find it amazing that it is so difficult almost impossible for either side to look objectively to what is happening to this country. History Speaks -we should listen

    November 4, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  10. Dave

    Republicans did this to themselves. The party of reason lost to the party of emotion. I hope I'm wrong about a President Obama, but I don't think so. A split Senate is our only defense now against socialism.

    November 4, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  11. Bob Bucy

    If Obama and the democrats want the republicans to work with them, then the trash talk has got to stop. The democrats have spent almost 2 years trashing republicans, and it is the most hateful campaign that i have ever seen. Every McCain sign that I placed in my front yard was stolen, and I have heard this reported by others as a common event. While many would view this as harmless, I view it as tasteless.

    Those of you gushing over the possibility of an Obama presidency and a filibuster proof senate should think back to the last time that happened under Jimmy Carter between 1976 and 1980. The result by the time Jimmy Carter left office was 10.2% unemployment, 12% inflation, and a prime rate of 21%. As a registered republican, I agree that George Bush and his party have governed miserably, but that does not lead me to support the socialist platform of the Democratic party. I fear that America has just responded to George Bush by throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

    November 4, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  12. rscotty

    Great four years if you like the Russia style of life.

    November 4, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  13. Rick

    God Bless America!

    November 4, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  14. Crash

    Barack Obama has the political experience equivalant to a school board member. And promises change? Change for the worse. I think smooth talking and lying won it for the Democrats, but I also think a racism towards white people played an effect. Now we can dig ourselves into a bigger and deeper hole.

    November 4, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  15. Bennie M

    Let it be said that we, not only as Americans, but as members of the human race have crossed over the line that once divided the great nation of America. America holds a gravitational influence on mankind and if one should right an epitaph of this moment in time, this historic election, let it be written:

    Here was where America, a nation of power, a nation of hope brought back true light to the world in a new millennium, facing new challenges, not out of fear, and not only winning by power alone but by the fuel that has brought man from the dark, Hope. Hope and Live long America keep up the good fight and always hold up the light so that we the rest of humanity may always know that there is someone guiding us to that promised land that all mankind despite affiliation wish for.

    November 4, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  16. just me;


    November 4, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  17. peter

    Welcome to the United States of socialism... Absolutely discusting where headed for 4 years of more damage then we could ever imagine.. the past 8 years will look like paradise when he is done with us...

    November 4, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  18. Mike

    Anyone who thinks that liberals respect the constitution and uphold it is only deceiving themselves. Liberals appoint activist judges who legislate their personal agendas from the bench in violation of their sworn oaths. Liberals distort history and the whole basis of this Republic. Liberals take positions on issues which are mutually exclusive and make no logical or rational sense together and call themselves the educated elite. Was everything GWB did right. No. But in 7 years, we have not been attacked and have been safe. If Mr. Obama and the Democratic Congress try to push through extreme liberal agendas and dont govern from the center, they will experience the same thing they did in 1994 and the Republicans did this year. The country wants a moderate, centrist government, not either extreme. Only time will tell if the liberals are smart enough to figure this out or are so drunk on their success, that they forget the lessons of the last 16 years.

    November 4, 2008 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  19. Texas Trail Kitty

    Finally, morning in America again. Yes we did!

    November 4, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  20. berkshire brian

    Let the joyous news be spread, the wicked old witch at last is dead!

    November 4, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  21. larry

    I wouldn't be to worried or hopeful about a the filibuster-proof Senate majority of 60 seats. This is the Democratic party after all! ( I am a democratic). We are not the get in line, lock-step, party the Republicans have been in the last few years. We are more diverse, feisty, and independent ( generally) as party and it will be hard to get everyone on board.
    I do hope that with this election we can stop the payback politics of the last and that everyone in congress can work together on the serious problems we face as a nation.

    November 4, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
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