Democrats won a narrow majority in the Senate, keeping the control they've held since 2007, by snatching Republican-held seats in Massachusetts and Indiana and turning back challenges in Virginia, Ohio and Connecticut.
Republicans were undone by stumbles in Missouri and Indiana, with candidates' clumsy statements about rape and abortion doing severe damage to their individual chances — and their party's hopes of taking over.
In Massachusetts, Democrat Elizabeth Warren knocked out Republican Sen. Scott Brown, who had stunned the political world in 2010 when he won the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's seat. The strong Democratic tilt in the state and President Barack Obama's easy win over former Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts helped the consumer advocate in her bid.
Heading into this election, with 33 seats up for grabs, Democrats held a 53-47 edge in the Senate, including the two independents who caucus with them. So Republicans needed a net gain of four seats to grab the majority. Shortly after 11 p.m., Democrats gained a lock on 50 seats, enough to keep control once Obama won re-election.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., spoke of conciliation.
"Now that the election is over, it's time to put politics aside and work together to find solutions," Reid said in a statement. "The strategy of obstruction, gridlock and delay was soundly rejected by the American people. Now they are looking to us for solutions."
— Donna Cassata — Twitter http://twitter.com/donnacassataAP
EDITOR'S NOTE — Election Watch shows you Election Day 2012 through the eyes of Associated Press journalists. Follow them on Twitter where available with the handles listed after each item.