The Republican Party picked up enough seats on Tuesday to retain and solidify its control of the U.S. Senate. It required several "flips" and a hard-fought win for a popular Texas incumbent. Two other Senate races – one in Montana, the other in Arizona – remain in the balance.
Republicans picked up a U.S. Senate seat in Indiana on Tuesday evening when businessman Mike Braun defeated incumbent Joe Donnelly.
Voting returns showed Braun leading Donnelly soon after the polls closed, and that lead continued throughout the evening until ABC News, then Fox News, called the race for Braun with little more than 50 percent of election returns in.
Donnelly's win marked the first GOP "flip" of the evening.
Donnelly is a former Hoosier State congressman who was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. He voted against Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination in a state where Donald Trump won 56-37 percent over Hillary Clinton.
In another "flip," Missouri's attorney general won a U.S. Senate seat in a closely watched race against Sen. Claire McCaskill.
Fox News called the race for Republican Josh Hawley with 63 percent of precincts reporting, giving the GOP its third flipped senate seat of the night after wins in Indiana and North Dakota.
Hawley was leading the incumbent senator 53-43 when he was projected to win.
McCaskill, first elected in 2006, has been running for re-election with Hawley remaining a close challenger: both candidates swapped the lead in polls throughout the year, never leading the other by more than four points.
The senator and her challenger were statistically tied according to RealClearPolitics going into Election Day.
McCaskill voted against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in a state Donald Trump won, and in recent days she suggested she is not a "crazy" Democrat and also criticized the migrant caravan moving north to the U.S.-Mexico border.
Hawley, 38, won election to state attorney general in 2017.
"Ted Cruz's race was way too close. He's a very popular man; he's doing such a wonderful job – not just in our state but also for the nation. So he was the big target by the Democrats, and they knew if they could take down Ted Cruz then they could win the nation in the next presidential campaign ... because if Texas goes Democrat, I don't see how the nation can elect another Republican president."
Cathie Adams, former chairman
Republican Party of Texas
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz fought off a well-financed attempt by Democrats to steal a "red" seat in the Republican stronghold of Texas.
Fox News and The Associated Press called the Senate race for Ted Cruz over challenger Beto O'Rourke, who enjoyed fawning media coverage, a well-funded campaign, and plugged into a long-wished plan for Democrats to win big.
Democratic donors poured in tens of millions of dollars to help O'Rourke in his bid to unseat Cruz, but the incumbent stayed ahead of his challenger in polling throughout the year and pulled out an election night win.
Democrats have publicly stated their wish to turn Texas "blue," eyeing its 38 electoral votes that went to Donald Trump in 2016 and hoping for suburban voters to help defeat the GOP.
O'Rourke, in fact, pulled in $69 million in the race, more than any other Senate candidate, Business Insider reported in a pre-election story. Cruz raised approximately $29 million.
Florida ... a potential 'flip'
Although Republican Rick Scott has claimed victory in his race against Democratic incumbent Senator Bill Nelson, a recount may be in the works. Under Florida law, a recount is mandatory if the winning candidate's margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. With 99 percent of precincts counted, that's exactly the amount separating the two.