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+++Live: US midterm election results+++

November 5, 2014

The Republicans have taken the Senate from President Barack Obama's Democrats in US midterm elections, claiming a majority of at least 52-48 in the upper house of Congress. Re-live the counting stages as they happened.

USA Kongresswahlen 04.11.2014
Image: Reuters/Mark Makela

All times in UTC/GMT, five hours ahead of New York and Washington D.C., seven in front of the clocks on the Pacific coast.

06:55: DW's transatlantic analyst Michael Knigge says a Republican Congress will mean more partisan gridlock in Washington and force President Obama to try to govern by executive orders.

05:29: House Speaker John Boehner has issued a statement saying the Republicans are "humbled" by the midterm results, but also cautioning that "it's not time for celebration." The lower chamber's top politician said it was time for government to start "implementing solutions to the challenges facing our country," and what he called a "still-struggling economy."

Incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said the results showed that US voters were "hungry for new leadership."

05:19: Like George W. Bush before him, President Barack Obama has started his presidency in control of both chambers of Congress, only to finish it with neither. The Republicans will hope to carry this momentum into the presidential elections of 2016 - as the Democrats did at the end of Bush's tenure.

The next time the United States goes to the polls as a nation, around this time in 2016, it will not just be to elect senators, congressional representatives and governors - but also Obama's successor as president.

05:12: In the House of Representatives, controlled by the GOP since 2010, the Republicans appear poised to extend their already sizeable majority. The party's high-water mark of 246 House seats (held between 1947 and 1949 under Democrat President Harry Truman), is even an attainable goal. Reminder: all 435 House seats were up for grabs in Tuesday's vote, unlike in the Senate.

04:55: The Democrats' Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has issued congratulations to his vanquishers in a statement. Right from the outset, Reid appears to be appealing to the GOP to be more cooperative in control than they were when in the minority.

"The message from voters is clear: they want us to work together," Reid said in his statement. "I look forward to working with Senator McConnell to get things done for the middle class."

The joy (misery?) of politics: as the election ends, the politicking restarts.

04:50: Here's a reminder from Richard Walker about our DW TV feature on what a Republican Senate could mean for the already-strained political atmosphere in Washington.

04:41: That's all she wrote, the TV networks and the Associated Press unanimously report: Two results have come in to tip the scales definitively - Iowa and North Carolina. Joni Ernst defeated Democrat Bruce Bailey in Iowa, while in North Carolina, Thom Tillis defeated incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan. With that, the Republicans now hold a minimum of 52 Senate seats, of the 100 available.

04:20: So, the time for such questions has come: What would a Republican-controlled Senate, and House of Representatives, mean for President Barack Obama on the international scene? Catch up on our analysis here:

In brief, Princeton University's Julian Zelizer and fellow scholar Norman Ornstein predict tougher stances against the self proclaimed "Islamic State," as well as in the Ukraine conflict and nuclear talks with Iran. Efforts to clarify NSA espionage, however, might accelerate, the academics predict, fueled by the Republicans' libertarian arm.

04:11: The next one's in, and it's huge: Republican David Perdue has won in Georgia, racing away from Michelle Nunn in what was expected to be a tight vote. Nearly-complete results suggest a landslide victory in what was supposed to be nailbiter of a race ending in a December runoff. So much for predictions. With that, the Republicans hold 50 seats, all six of the undecided races would have to vote Democrat to avoid a change of Senate leadership.

03:53: Our transatlantic expert Michael Knigge sees the writing on the wall at this stage, saying Democrat supporters ought to start crossing fingers - or "pressing thumbs" if they're German.

03:45: The Republicans are currently ahead of schedule on their drive to reclaim the Senate, but in the event of a 50-50 split when the dust settles, do you know who serves as tie-breaker in the upper house? The answer is Vice President Joe Biden, who is also the president of the Senate. However, the Constitution states that the VP has no vote, unless the house is equally divided. The last vice president to break a tie in the Senate? George W. Bush's right-hand-man Dick Cheney, in 2008.

03:42: A lovely catalogue of failure compiled here by NPR: their list of incumbent candidates who have failed to retained their Congressional spots during these midterms.

03:35: That Colorado swing has caught the attention of the commentators here in Germany, too. ARD's Washington correspondent Ingo Zamperoni describes the fifth Republican takeover as an "election bombshell" in this Tweet for the night owls this side of the Atlantic:

03:29: The Associated Press and CNN have called another tight Senate race in Colorado. Unless they are mistaken, which seems highly unlikely given the seven-percent margin with three-quarters of the votes counted, it's a fifth swing in the Republicans' favor. Republican Cory Gardner unseats incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall, meaning the Republicans need to take one more Senate spot while holding their own at-risk post in Kansas.

03:15: Our transatlantic analyst Michael Knigge has turned his eye to Virginia in the early hours of the morning here in Bonn:

"A surprise is still possible for Republicans in the Senate race in Virginia. Incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Warner was scheduled to retake his seat, but polls now show a virtual dead heat with Republican challenger Ed Gillespie. But votes from Fairfax County, a traditionally Democratic stronghold outside Washington D.C., are still outstanding; they could eek out a win for Warner."

At this stage, the last thing the Democrats need is another battleground to worry about.

03:02: DW's Richard Walker can talk you through this one:

Montana, seemingly the fourth swing state in the Republicans' favor. Steve Daines has claimed the Senatorial spot at the expense of Democrat John Walsh. Four down, two to go in the Republican hunt.

02:51: One result will NOT come in tonight. It's now confirmed on multiple outlets that the Senate race in Louisiana will go to a runoff on December 6.

Of today's Senate battlegrounds, only Louisiana and Georgia demand that a candidate claim an absolute majority. Most Senate races are simply "first past the post." It's not yet clear whether Georgia will be decided at the first round, or a January 6 runoff.

Also, if voting proves tight in the remote state of Alaska, where complete counting can take several days, that spot might also remain undecided.

02:40: Tired of partial counts, projected swings, battleground states and numerical analysis? Voters around the US have been asked to address all manner of proposed policies for their specific states or districts. As US broadcaster NPR notes, the ever-progressive capital Washington D.C. is in the process of upsetting a possible Republican-controlled Congress before it even arrives: saying "yes please" to the legalization of marijuana for personal use.

02:33: It's not all doom and gloom for the Democrat donkey; broadcasters NBC and ABC concur that incumbent Senator Jeanne Shaheen has fended off a tough challenge from Republican Scott Brown in New Hampshire. This was considered one of the Democrats' shaky seats in the Senate. However, this is the silver lining to quite an ominous cloud based on the results so far. The number of at-risk Democratic Senate spots now outstretches the three-seat advantage currently held.

02:11: Here's an overview of the Senate race as it stands. In the 100-seat chamber, the Democrats now hold 40 seats to the Republicans' 43, with 17 spots yet to be decided. Reminder: Only 36 Senate seats were up for grabs this evening, because Senators serve six-year terms, as opposed to the two-year stints in the lower house. The Republicans started the night with 30 safe senatorial spots, the Democrats with 34.

02:08: And then there were three. Republican Mike Rounds has won the Democratic-held Senate seat in South Dakota, at the expense of Democrat Rick Weiland and two independent candidates. Should three more spots swing the same way, the Republicans would have the 51 Senate seats required to control the upper house.

01:57: Media forecasts from multiple US broadcasters now confirm what was almost a certainty prior to Tuesday's vote. The Republicans will hold the lower chamber of Congress, the House of Representatives. Already enjoying a majority of more than 30 House seats, the GOP is even expected to extend its margin as the results for all 435 congressional races roll in.

01:44: Arkansas becomes the second state to oust a Democrat Senator. Republican Tom Cotton has defeated two-term Democratic Senator Mark Pryor, following a heated race. The 37-year-old's victory has DW TV's Washington correspondent Richard Walker counting his birthdays.

01:38: The first Republican Senate swings are in the books. In West Virginia, Republican Shelley Moore Capito has picked up the open seat vacated by longstanding and retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller. Democrat Natalie Tennant lost out.

01:33: In an early election win for the Republicans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reclaimed his spot in Kentucky, beating back Democrat challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. The longstanding Republican faced one of his toughest Kentucky tests in 30 years, but pulled clear in the latter stages of the election race. Should the Republicans claim Senate control, McConnell would unseat Democrat Harry Reid at the head of the chamber.

McConnell said in his victory speech that the campaign was "all about ... a government that people no longer trust to do its most basic duties." McConnell cited border protection, ensuring safety and providing care for veterans as such basic duties, saying these were neglected because Washington "is too busy focusing on things that it shouldn't be focused on at all."

01:31: Polls have now closed in several states across the US, with projected results flooding in from around the East coast. Analysts concur that the Republican party is set to gain seats in both houses of Congress, with the burning question being whether the "Grand Old Party" could muster a net gain of six Senate seats, thus wresting control of the upper house from the Democrats.

msh/lw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)