Republican candidates won enough U.S. Senate seats Tuesday night to take over the majority there, but in an even more stunning victory, Republicans took over the governor’s office in three strongly Democratic states –Illinois, Maryland, and, apparently Massachusetts.
The results in the U.S. Senate stall any chance for advancing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act for at least two years, maybe more.
The Senate’s new Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has scored a consistent zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecards. There is almost no likelihood that McConnell would allow a vote on ENDA.
While ENDA co-sponsor Jeff Merkely (D-Ore.) was re-elected, as was pro-gay Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and several other Democrats, at least three pro-ENDA Democratic senators lost: Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Mark Udall of Colorado.
At deadline, another ENDA supporter, Virginia U.S. Senator Mark Warner, held only a one point lead over a conservative Republican challenger. Warner, who just a month ago appeared to be an easy win, was hit late in the campaign with an accusation that he promised a judgeship for the daughter of a Democratic state senator who had threatened to switch to Republican.
Results of Democratic Senator Mark Begich’s bid for re-election from Alaska were not available at deadline, and incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana must face her Republican opponent in a run-off December 6 because neither earned more than 50 percent of the vote.
The current make-up of the overall Senate is 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and 2 independents. As of midnight, Republicans had secured 52 seats, Democrats 44 (if Warner wins), and independents two. The two independents have been caucusing with the Democrats but have hinted they might switch to the GOP if the Republicans took over the majority.
In the U.S. House, where Republicans held 233 seats to the Democrats’ 199, Tuesday’s elections increased the Republicans seats by nine, at deadline.