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Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Democrats Hold Onto Senate and White House

(CN) - President Barack Obama won a second term on Tuesday and Democrats kept control of the Senate, winning 21 of 28 Senate contests. They are expected to pick up a few seats in the House, though not the 25 they need to gain control of it.

With only Florida too close to call early today, Obama led Mitt Romney by 303 to 206 electoral votes; 270 are needed to win.

Obama won nearly every battleground state - Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado and Iowa - and was leading by a slim margin in Florida at 3:30 a.m. With 99 percent of the votes counted in Florida, Obama was leading by 49.8 percent to 49.3 percent. If he holds on, the final electoral college vote would be 332 to 206.

Democrats had a big day in the Senate races, winning both contests where Republican candidates' insensitive comments on abortion cost them. In Indiana, Joe Donnelly defeated Richard Mourdock, whose statement that a rape might be the will of God made national headlines.

And in Missouri, Republican Todd Akin, who said women seldom get pregnant from "legitimate rape," was defeated by Democrat Claire McCaskill.

Elizabeth Warren defeated incumbent Scott Brown in Massachusetts, picking up another Senate seat for Democrats.

In Wisconsin, where Republican Gov. Scott Walker's anti-union bill 2 years ago spurred copycat legislation around the country, Democrat Tammy Baldwin defeated former Gov. Tommy Thompson, becoming the nation's first openly gay U.S. senator.

Paul Ryan lost his run for vice president but held onto his congressional seat in Wisconsin.

And Republican Linda McMahon, the wrestling magnate, lost her run for the Senate seat in Connecticut to Chris Murphy.

The only good news for Republicans in the Senate was Nebraska, where Deb Fischer defeated Bob Kerry, to take the seat of retiring Democrat Ben Whitehorse Nelson.

Some House races were still up in the air early Wednesday. It looked like Democrats would pick up a few seats, but not nearly enough to take control of the lower house.

In Massachusetts, Joe Kennedy III, a grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, won the race for the seat of Democrat Barney Frank, who is retiring.

In Illinois, Tea Party favorite Joe Walsh lost the House seat he won in 2010 to Tammy Duckworth, a double amputee veteran of the Iraq war. Walsh attacked Duckworth during the campaign for speaking "too much" about her military service, and implied that she wasn't a "true hero."

Uncertain, as well as the makeup of the House, was what effect the returns would have on the two major parties.

Democrats are sure to start looking for someone to succeed their second two-term president since World War II. Liberals will surely watch to see if Obama will continue trying to accommodate Republicans, or become more confrontational.

Republicans already have begun debating whether they lost because Romney tried to appeal to their right wing, or whether it was because he tried to tack back to the center in the campaign's final weeks.

Democrats might be excused for looking forward to a civil war between the right wing in the GOP and more centrist elements who have an eye on national control.

With 88 percent of the national returns counted at 3:45 a.m. today, Obama had 55.8 million votes, or 49.8 percent, to Romney's 54.5 million or 48.6 percent.

Obama lost only two states that he won in 2008, Indiana and North Carolina.

Major TV networks called the election for Obama at about 11:20 p.m. Romney did not concede until 90 minutes later.

European political leaders congratulated the president on his re-election before Romney did.

"We have the pleasure of extending our warm congratulations to President Obama on his re-election as president of the United States of America," European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso said in a joint statement Tuesday night.

"The United States is a key strategic partner of the European Union and we look forward to continuing the close cooperation established with President Obama over these last four years,"

Acknowledging the worldwide economic malaise that continues to grip the world-hitting the EU especially hard-Van Rompuy and Barroso touted the creation of growth and jobs through the "potential of the transatlantic market." Continued political unrest in the Middle East, a bloody civil war in Syria and the growing nuclear threat from Iran demand a "further strengthening of our bilateral ties," according to their statement.

"We are also ready to continue our intense cooperation in foreign policy issues and in the promotion of our common values. We look forward to meeting President Obama at an early date in order to reconfirm our priorities and provide renewed impetus to our joint action," Van Rompuy and Barroso said.

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