WASHINGTON (AP) — Five things to look for the morning after Election Day:
OBAMA HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO
What word will President Barack Obama use to describe this election?
Four years ago he called his party's loss of the House a "shellacking." Now he's got to find words to cope with the loss of the Senate.
Look to see if Obama follows the presidential tradition of holding a press conference the day after a midterm election. Midterms tend to go against the party that occupies the White House, so it's not usually a comfortable moment for presidents.
GRIDLOCK OR ACTION?
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered a victory speech vowing to turn the country around.
But then McConnell added: "I don't expect the president to wake up tomorrow and view the world any differently than he did this morning. He knows I won't either."
Obama kicks off the new era by inviting congressional leaders to the White House Friday. Can they find ways to work together?
KICK OFF TO 2016
Look for Republicans in pursuit of the White House to hold up their party's gains as a sign of things to come.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, head of the Republican Governors Association, will likely take credit for extending the party's political map into Democratic-leaning states like Maryland and Obama's home state of Illinois.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is elevated to the top tier among potential 2016 contenders with a re-election following a divisive recall attempt in 2012.
And Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul already is saying that the election was a referendum on the most prominent Democrat in the impending presidential race. "I think it's a repudiation basically of the president's policies but also Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton have been all over the place," Paul said on Fox News.
SENATE RACES TO WATCH
After cinching the Senate, Republicans are looking to build on their majority. Louisiana is heading to a Dec. 6 runoff between Republican Bill Cassidy and Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. Groups on either side were rushing a new round of attack ads onto the airwaves, extending a negative campaign for a few more weeks.
REPUBLICANS ON TRACK TO BUILD ON THEIR HOUSE MAJORITY
Look to see whether the GOP was able to build their biggest House majority in the post-World War II era. Republicans are widely expected to grow their 234-seats beyond the 2010 tea party wave that led to 242 GOP representatives. If they can win more than 246 seats, they would exceed their numbers from 1947-49 Congress during the Truman administration.
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