The Latest: Republicans retain control of US Senate

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Posted: Nov 09, 2016 2:16 AM
The Latest: Republicans retain control of US Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on congressional races on Election Day 2016 (all times EST):

2:08 a.m.

Republicans have officially retained control of the U.S. Senate.

It comes as Missouri Republican Roy Blunt and Alaska's Lisa Murkowski won their two races in Tuesday's election.

Republicans have a 51-47 edge in the Senate. Two races remain outstanding: In Louisiana, the seat will head to a runoff election next month. And in New Hampshire, Democrat Maggie Hassan and Republican Kelly Ayotte were locked in a too-close-to-call race.

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2:07 a.m.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski has won re-election to a fourth term in a race that served as a rematch with Joe Miller. He had upset Murkowski in the 2010 GOP primary only to lose the general election to Murkowski in a historic write-in campaign.

This time Miller ran as a Libertarian. Democrat Ray Metcalfe and independent Margaret Stock also were in the race.

Murkowski crisscrossed Alaska, playing up her seniority and reputation as a moderate and running issues-focused ads.

Murkowski irked some Republicans in denouncing Donald Trump after a 2005 video of him making lewd comments about women surfaced.

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1:49 a.m.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt has won a second term in Missouri as Democratic challenger Jason Kander conceded early Wednesday.

The contest between Blunt, a 20-year congressional veteran, and Kander, Missouri's secretary of state, did not start out high on either party's list of competitive Senate races in a state Donald Trump won easily. But Kander, a 35-year-old Afghanistan veteran, proved to be a smart and aggressive campaigner, challenging Blunt's attempts to brand him a liberal by running an ad in which he assembles an AR-15 rifle blindfolded and describes his combat service.

Kander also sought, unapologetically, to exploit the outsider mood that's propelled Trump to the fore, criticizing the 66-year-old Blunt as a Washington insider who is part of a failed system. Blunt's wife and his two sons are lobbyists, including former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt.

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1:40 a.m.

Republicans will retain their Senate majority as GOP incumbents hang onto key seats in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Indiana and Florida.

Four states remain to be decided. In Alaska, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is favored to win a new term, while races in Missouri and New Hampshire were too close to call early Wednesday. A race in Louisiana is headed for a runoff next month, where the Republican is favored.

Republicans were defending a slim 54-46 majority.

Democrats grabbed a Republican-held seat in Illinois, but the outcome in Wisconsin was a surprise as both parties had expected it to flip for the Democrats.

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1:14 a.m.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania has narrowly defeated Democrat Katie McGinty in the most expensive political race in Senate history.

Toomey's victory will keep Republicans in control of the Senate if GOP candidates in Alaska and Louisiana hold onto those seats, as expected.

Toomey, a former three-term congressman, was considered one of the most vulnerable Senate incumbents. A fiscal hawk, he was seeking a second term after compiling one of the most conservative voting records in Congress. Toomey tried to distance himself from Donald Trump as he appealed to moderate Democrats and independent voters willing to split their tickets, particularly in Philadelphia's heavily populated suburbs.

McGinty, who has never held public office, was trying to become Pennsylvania's first female senator. The 53-year-old worked in Bill Clinton's White House and was recruited by top Washington Democrats to challenge Toomey.

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12:38 p.m.

Another familiar last name is heading to Washington.

Democrat Jimmy Panetta has won an open seat in California representing the same region once served by his father. Leon Panetta had a long career in Washington as congressman, budget director, White House chief of staff, CIA director and defense secretary.

Earlier Tuesday, Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming won her father's old House seat. She's the eldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The 47-year-old Panetta is a county prosecutor.

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12:22 a.m.

Republicans have clinched continued House control for the new Congress.

They'll likely lose seats from their current historic high, but they won enough seats to extend their six-year streak of commanding the chamber.

With results still being counted early Wednesday, Republicans have won at least 218 House seats. That exceeds the number needed to control the chamber.

Democrats started the year hoping Donald Trump's divisive presidential candidacy would cost Republicans bushels of House seats. His impact on down-ballot candidates proved spotty.

Republicans now control 247 seats in the House. With a smaller GOP majority, dissident hard-right conservatives could have added leverage to press House Speaker Paul Ryan and other party leaders on the budget and other issues.

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12:09 a.m.

The Nevada Senate seat remains in Democratic hands as Catherine Cortez Masto becomes the state's first Latina senator.

Nevada was home to one of the most expensive Senate races in the country, featuring lots of TV ads as the candidates vied to succeed retiring Democratic leader Harry Reid in Tuesday's election.

Reid had held onto the seat for three decades and this was viewed as one of the few Senate seats held by a Democrat that Republicans felt they could flip into their column.

Reid threw his support behind Cortez Masto, a former state attorney general. Immigration emerged as a key issue in the race against Republican Rep. Joe Heck.

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12:02 a.m.

Foster Campbell has secured a spot in the runoff election for Louisiana's Senate seat.

He's vying to succeed incumbent Republican David Vitter.

The Public Services commissioner will face Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy in the December runoff.

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11:42 p.m.

Republican State Treasurer John Kennedy has advanced to a December runoff election for the Louisiana Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Republican David Vitter.

Two Republican congressmen were among two dozen candidates vying for the Senate seat: Reps. Charles Boustany and John Fleming. White supremacist David Duke was also running but was not among the top-tier candidates in polling.

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11:22 p.m.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson has again defeated Democrat Russ Feingold in a rematch of Wisconsin's 2010 Senate race. This time, Johnson was the incumbent and Feingold, a former senator, the challenger in a race that could determine which party controls the Senate.

Johnson argued that Feingold did not deserve to be sent back to Washington. But Feingold said Johnson has not led on the issues Wisconsin voters care about and should not be given a second term.

The race grew personal in the waning weeks, with Johnson calling Feingold a liar and a phony. Feingold, who was counting on high Democratic turnout for the presidential race, made his pitch to middle- and working-class voters, saying they would have no chance with Johnson in office.

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11:19 p.m.

Republican Liz Cheney of Wyoming has won her father's old House seat.

She's the eldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney.

The 50-year-old Cheney succeeds Cynthia Lummis who decided not to seek re-election to Wyoming's lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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11 p.m.

Attorney General Kamala Harris wins the open Senate seat to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in race that featured two Democrats in California. Thanks to California's unusual primary system, in which the two top finishers from the June primary advance to the general election, voters were deciding between Harris and Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

The victory for 51-year-old Harris makes her the first Indian-American senator. Harris was backed by President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other top Democrats.

Sanchez, a 10-term congresswoman, tried to consolidate support from Republicans and Latinos, but with little success.

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11 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray won a fifth term in the Senate, becoming one of the longest-serving senators in Washington state history.

Murray defeated Republican Chris Vance in the Democratic-leaning state on Tuesday.

Murray dismissed Vance's criticism that she is responsible for congressional gridlock and the failure to address deficit spending and shore up Social Security and Medicare. She pointed to her work with Republicans on the budget and on education. In 2013, Murray teamed with GOP Rep. Paul Ryan, now the House speaker, to craft a national budget deal and worked with Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander on education reform.

She has steadily risen in power and is now part of the Senate's Democratic leadership, with a chance to become the party's No. 2 or 3 official next year. If Democrats take control of the Senate, Murray could chair the Appropriations Committee or health, education and labor.

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11 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon has won a fourth full term.

Wyden has been in Congress since 1981, and has served in the Senate since 1996. He faced little-known Republican Mark Callahan, a former Democrat.

Wyden is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee and would become chairman if his party regains control of the chamber. Wyden briefly served as chairman in 2014. He also has served as chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

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11 p.m.

Republican Sen. Mike Crapo cruised to a fourth term in the ruby-red state of Idaho.

He was among Republicans whose support for Trump began to crumble after a recording emerged of Trump using vulgar terms to describe women and talking about how his fame allowed him to force himself on women.

Crapo first called on Trump to step down after that recording was disclosed but then reversed course and said he would vote for the GOP's presidential nominee.

Crapo was opposed by Democrat Jerry Sturgill, a lawyer and managing director of a financial firm.

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11 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz won re-election in Hawaii, defeating Republican John Carroll in heavily Democratic Hawaii to earn his first full term in the Senate.

Schatz was appointed to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye in December 2012 and won election to the remainder of his term in 2014.

Schatz is one of the most liberal members of the Senate, pushing legislation to reduce use of fossil fuels blamed for global warming and helping lead an all-night Senate "talkathon" on the dangers of climate change.

Schatz has said he wants to make clean energy the same priority in Washington as it is in Hawaii. The state leads the nation in initiatives to become energy independent by 2045