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Republicans Sweep the Senate (Updated)

McConnell won re-election. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Updated Nov. 5, 7:23 a.m. | Republicans swept the Senate races Tuesday night, and come January, they will control the chamber for the first time in eight years.  

Democratic incumbents fell right and left, even in seats that they had originally been favored to win. President Barack Obama's poor approval rating — 42 percent in the last nationwide Gallup poll — dragged down candidates across the country in the face of a Republican wave.  

Why Senate Control May Not Be Known by Wednesday

Landrieu rallies supporters Nov. 2 in Shreveport, La. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

There are enough Democratic seats in play for Republicans to secure the Senate majority Tuesday, but there is also a chance the outcome won't be known for days, weeks or even a couple months.  

Needing to net six seats to win back control for the first time since George W. Bush’s second midterm in 2006, Republicans have taken advantage of a Democratic president in a similarly weak political position and have carved a path through 10 states . That means Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may be celebrating more than his own re-election in Louisville, Ky., on Tuesday night.  

Final Rankings: The 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

Pryor, right, canvasses Saturday with an aide in the Little Rock, Arkansas, suburbs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call Photo)

Roll Call's final ranking of the most vulnerable senators doesn't vary much from previous versions — the result of an unfavorable national climate for Democrats that has failed to improve.  

On the eve of the midterm elections, Senate Democrats are staring down a hole dug by President Barack Obama’s disapproval ratings and an unforgiving map packed with red states. Retirements by a quartet of senators in Republican-leaning or swing states didn’t help, but the seats of at least four incumbents seeking re-election aren’t on much stronger ground.  

Where GOP White House Hopefuls Stumped in 2014 (Chart)

Roberts, left, campaigned with Cruz, right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When the myriad Republican presidential contenders start campaigning for 2016, their journeys might not look much different from this cycle.  

From Iowa to New Hampshire, every Republican who is even remotely considering a 2016 bid hit the trail this year to help Senate contenders. What's more, several competitive Senate races are this year conveniently in states that play host to early nominating contests in 2016.  

3 Senate Endgame Scenarios

The winner of the race between Roberts, left, and Orman, right, will play a major role in deciding the Senate majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

So much for a predictable midterm cycle. The past month has left multiple possible outcomes for control of the Senate.  

Republican groups are barraging Kansas with resources and advertising to save a three-term incumbent being challenged by an independent in a solidly GOP state. Democrats, lacking much hope for months of holding an open seat in South Dakota, are all of a sudden dropping $1 million in advertising there — and being matched by Republicans — in a last-second Hail Mary that could possibly save its majority.  

The 9 Biggest Candidate Flameouts

Walsh will not run for re-election to a full term. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Meet the cycle’s biggest candidate disappointments.  

They are the congressional hopefuls who just didn't live up to their hype. Once touted as top recruits, these House and Senate candidates are headed for defeat on Election Day in all likelihood. Some of these candidates tanked so early in the cycle, their races never got off the ground.  

Montana Democrats Nominate John Walsh's Replacement

Montana Democrats replaced Walsh on the ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Montana Democratic Party nominated state Rep. Amanda Curtis on Saturday to replace retiring Sen. John Walsh on the ballot in November.  

Curtis, a 34-year-old, first-term state legislator and high school math teacher from Butte , enters the contest a heavy underdog against Republican Rep. Steve Daines — as was Walsh. The race is rated Favored Republican by the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.  

John Walsh Drops Senate Bid in Montana

Walsh was sworn in on Feb. 11. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Montana Sen. John Walsh said Thursday he won't be coming back to the Senate next year, confirming what was already the most likely conclusion to his campaign.  

Walsh announced he is ending his bid to retain the seat he was appointed to in February, a decision reached less than three months before the election and days before a critical state deadline to remove his name from the ballot.  

Top 10 Most Vulnerable Senators

In 2014 Senate races, Pryor is one of the most vulnerable Democrats. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Three months before Election Day, it's clear some senators may not return to Congress after the midterms — and that's mostly good news for Republicans.  

The GOP’s path to the Senate majority includes a mix of open seats and targeted Democratic incumbents. The two most vulnerable seats are in South Dakota and West Virginia, where Democratic senators are retiring. Republicans also have opportunities in open seats in Iowa and, to a lesser degree, Michigan.  

6 Reasons Senate Republicans Should Be Optimistic — and Concerned About Election Day

In 2014 Senate races, Republicans are optimistic they can defeat Braley, above, and pick up a seat in Iowa. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

With 100 days to go until Election Day, Senate Republicans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic about winning the majority — but they also have grounds for concern.  

After coming up short in 2010 and 2012, the GOP is unquestionably well positioned to finish the job this time. Republicans need to match their November 2010 score of six seats to take the majority, and the party has multiple paths to the finish line.