REPUBLICANS have seized control of the US Senate in a result that will cause major headaches for President Barack Obama. Within hours of the first polls closing for the US midterms, Republicans won three of the six seats needed to take over the Senate majority: South Dakota, Arkansas and West Virginia.
It went on to pick up a total of seven Democratic-held seats including North Carolina, Montana, Iowa and Colorado. While Democrats failed to pick up a single Republican seat. Both AP and CNN declared a Republican victory in the Senate about 11.30pm (eastern standard time). CNN celebrated its prediction by lighting up the Empire State Building.
Republicans were also expected to increase their majority in the House of Representatives.
According to NBC, it is the first time in eight years that Republicans will rule both the House and Senate.
The latest count from CNN has the Republicans on at least 53 seats, and the Democrats with 45 seats.
In a bad omen for Mr Obama, early results projected Republican senator Mitch McConnell would win the seat of Kentucky.
The seat was expected to be one of several crucial Senate positions up for grabs, but the Republican leader managed to hold on to his seat. Contests remain undecided in Alaska and Virginia. Louisiana will go to a run-off as none of the candidates were able to get more than 50 per cent of the vote. This means voters will have to wait at least a month for a result.
There is a surprisingly close race in Virginia, which was expected to be retained by Democrat, Senator Mark Warner, but where Republican strategist Ed Gillespie was briefly leading. Warner now only holds a lead of almost 13,000 votes with 99.5 per cent of the vote counted… see more