DEVELOPING … Republicans on Tuesday retained control of the House, Fox News projects.
The GOP keeps control despite losing several seats in Tuesday’s election.
Republicans entered Election Day with a 59-seat House advantage, so Democrats would have had to gain 30 seats to take control of the chamber. They will instead likely pick up 10 to 20 seats, falling short of majority control.
ORIGINAL STORY …
The Senate races that will decide whether Democrats retake control of the chamber remain too close to call as balloting concludes on election night, with Republicans battling to hold their majority.
However, Fox News can project the outcome of several key races that will determine which party will control the Senate, including Republican Sens. Marco Rubio, of Florida, Rob Portman, of Ohio, Richard Burr, of North Carolina, and Ron Johnson, of Wisconsin, all fending off tough challenges to win reelection.
Portman, Burr and Johnson were among a handful of incumbent Republicans whom Democrats had targeted for defeat in their bid to win the Senate majority.
“I don’t need to know who’s in the White House to know what Im going to do in the Senate,” Portman said in his victory speech, with the presidential race still undecided. “Both parties have to work together to find common ground. The best way to do that is to get things done. Ill do everything in my powers to expand opportunity for everybody.
Burr will defeat Democratic challenger Deborah Ross, to serve a third Senate term, and Johnson will defeat former Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold, Fox News projects.
Rubio keeps a Senate seat for Republicans that Democrats had hoped to win after Rubio essentially abandoned the seat for his presidential bid. However, he re-entered the race in June and held off a tough challenge from Democratic Rep. Tim Murphy to win a second term.
In Indiana, Republicans will also retain the seat of a retiring GOP senator Dan Coats, Fox News projects. Rep. Todd Young won by holding off a strong, surprise challenge from former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, who muscled into the race in mid-July.
But in Illinois, incumbent GOP Sen. Mark Kirk will be defeated by Democratic challenger Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Fox News projects. Kirk was considered the most vulnerable Republican senator in the 2016 election cycle. Duckworth is a veteran who lost both of her legs in the Iraq War.
Democrats need to win no more than five seats from Republicans to take back the Senate.
They are in strong position to unseat a Republican in Illinois but how many of the roughly seven still-competitive races they can win remains unclear.
The races — in Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — are all with 3 percentage points, according to the Real Clear Politics polls average.
Republican have 54 senators, compared with 46 for Democrats, including the two independent senators who vote with them.
Republicans are expected to keep control of the 435-seat House, considering Democrats will need to pick up 30 seats to retake the majority.
Democrats liked their chances of retaking the Senate practically within days of losing the majority in 2014 — considering they would have to defend only 10 incumbents, compared with 24 for Republicans.
Among the most vulnerable was first-term GOP Sen. Mark Kirk, having served in Congress for nearly 15 years and seeking reelection in Democrat-leaning Illinois.
Democrats had a top-tier challenger Duckworth, a two-term House member. Kirk, who had a stroke in 2012, dimmed his comeback chances last month by insulting Duckworths Thai ancestry.
Democrats had also set their sights early on winning a seat in Florida, in addition to ousting Portman in Ohio.
But Democrats’ chances of winning an open Senate seat in Florida were hurt when Rubio decided to seek reelection after Trump also dealt him a bruising defeat in the GOP primaries.
Rubio’s path to second term was helped by Democratic challenger Rep. Tim Murphy under performing and his father being tied to real estate deals with Trump.
In Ohio, GOP Gov. John Kasichs refusal to support party presidential nominee Donald Trump made Portmans task of winning a second term even tougher.
But the states older, solidly-white population and a lackluster performance by Democrat challenger and former Gov. Ted Strickland gave Portman the win, after having built a nearly 20-point lead before polls opened Tuesday.
While Portman prevailed amid the Trump controversy, the presidential nominee’s polarizing bid to defeat Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and take on the entire Washington establishment has impacted practically every House and Senate race this election cycle.
Democrats will need to win only four seats if Clinton takes the White House because her vice-presidential nominee, Tim Kaine, would cast Senate tie-breaker votes.
Even if Clinton wins and fellow Democrats take control of the Senate, neither party will have the 60-vote super majority needed to pass most legislation.
And Republicans expected to keep control of the House will creates the likely possibility for more partisan gridlock in Washington for at least the next four years.
Among the other early targets for Democrats were Republicans Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania and Ron Johnson in Wisconsin — all freshmen senators seeking reelection in liberal-leaning states in a presidential year, which tend to send more Democratic voters to the polls.
They’re also getting some unexpected opportunity in Missouri and North Carolina, Republican-leaning states in which GOP incumbents are battling to keep their seats.
Republicans had a very short 2016 wish list — take the seat of arch-political rival Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the retiring top Senate Democrat.
Republicans have a top-tier competitor in Rep. Joe Heck. But all the resources theyve put into the race cannot change the fact that Nevada is a liberal-leaning state anchored by the Las Vegas area, home to a large Hispanic population, which overwhelmingly supports Democratic candidates. The Democratic nominee is Catherine Cortez Masto.
In Wisconsin, Johnson led Democratic challenger Russ Feingold, a former U.S. senator, going into Tuesday, with millions of outside dollars pouring in late to their 2010 rematch.
In Missouri, Republican Sen. Roy Blunt is facing the fight of his political life from an upstart Democrat with military experience who can assemble an AR-15 blindfolded.
Blunt is being forced to defend his political insider status, having been elected to Congress in 1996. His race with Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander is deadlocked, despite Trump now leading Missouri by double digits.
A Blunt loss would be a double-barreled blow to the GOP, considering he is a member of Senate leadership.
In New Hampshire, Democrats liked their odds against GOP incumbent Kelly Ayotte, who’s trying to appeal to the states notoriously independent electorate while staying loyal to her Washington Republican base and supporters like the National Rifle Association and the billionaire, libertarian-minded Koch Brothers.
In her race with also-popular challenger Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan, Ayotte said early that shed support Trump but did not endorse him.
She then called Trump a role model, only to retract the statement after another offensive Trump comment, then totally withdrew her support.
In Indiana, Republicans had a solid candidate in Young, a three-term House member.
But Bayhs surprise decision to enter the race — with a $10 million war chest — made the race much more competive and expensive.
Still, the race remains surprisingly close amid disclosures about Bayhs profitable connections to K Street and Wall Street.
“When I grew up here in Indiana, my dad told me almost every day, ‘If i worked really hard, good things would happen.’ Well dad, this is a good thing,” Young, a former Marine, said after the race. “Tonight was a great victory, not for me, but for the state of Indiana.”
As in Missouri, Republicans didnt expect such a hyper-competitive race in North Carolina. Incumbent Sen. Richard Burrs challenger, Deborah Ross, is a former American Civil Liberties Union lawyer and state representative, which gives her little state-wide name recognition.
However, the national backlash from a Republican-backed bill that essentially requires transgender people to use the bathroom that matches their birth gender has unexpectedly put Burr on the defensive.
The two-term senator is also running amid a federal appeals court ruling in July that struck down state voter ID laws that, according to the decision, suppressed voting among minorities.
Pennsylvania has voted for the Democratic nominee in the past six elections, despite its battleground status.
To defeat Toomey, Washington Democrats handpicked Katie McGinty, a former Clinton administration adviser and chief of staff for Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf. But McGinty is among the handful of Democratic challengers whom political analysts say have run an uninspiring race. Their race remains deadlocked, and has since the start of the election cycle.
In some of the races that Republicans were expected to win Tuesday, Fox News also projects Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul will be elected to a second term.