WORLD-A GOP Senate?
Elections could rattle Obama’s control
Washington –– At publishing time, Republicans were moving closer to winning the Senate by picking up Democratic-held seats in West Virginia and Arkansas, according to CNN projections.
They GOP now needs a net gain of four seats to claim the Senate for the first time since the administration of George W. Bush. A GOP win would mark a rebuke for President Barack Obama and could set the ideological battle lines for the 2016 presidential election.
In an early ominous sign for Democrats, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, swiftly dispatched challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes in his re-election race. CNN projected the result as soon as polls were closed in Kentucky, in a dramatic early start to what could be a long Election Night.
Meanwhile in Florida, tension was building around the tightly contested governor’s race. A judge denied a request from Democrat Charlie Crist to extend voting in Broward County by two hours because of several breakdowns in voting systems according to a spokesperson for the Florida Secretary of State.
Crist is seeking to unseat Republican Governor Rick Scott in one of the most competitive gubernatorial races in the country.
In Georgia, exit polls show that the race is on a knife edge between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn, who is looking to complicate the GOP’s path to a Senate victory by turning a red state blue.
In Virginia, meanwhile, incumbent Democrat Senator Mark Warner was having a tougher ride than expected against Republican challenger Ed Gillispie in a state Democrats had thought was reliably theirs after Obama won it twice.
No one had believed going into the election that the state would be in play.
In North Carolina, according to exit polls, Democratic Senator Kay Hagan had a slim lead over Republican challenger Thom Tillis. A Hagan win, after the most expensive Senate race in history, would boost Democrats in a state shaping up as a genuine battleground in 2016.
The first wave of exit polls analyzed by CNN this evening showed dissatisfaction with the president’s administration. Roughly six in ten voters were either angry or dissatisfied with Obama, though about the same proportion felt the same way about Republican leaders in Congress. And most voters have an unfavourable view of both parties.
The data also reveals a fearful electorate. Seven in ten voters are somewhat or very worried about a terrorist attack on American soil while 50 per cent disapprove of the federal government’s response to the Ebola crisis. Exit poll data also showed fierce contests in two of the closest Senate battles in North Carolina and Georgia. In North Carolina, according to exit polls, Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan has a slim lead over Republican challenger Thom Tillis.
There were some hiccups across the country as Americans went to the polls. Some people in Alaska were voting by flashlight after a power outage and those in Maine had to cope with a winter storm that prompted a state of emergency. In Georgia, home to a competitive Senate and governor’s race, a state website listing polling locations went down though the secretary of state said there weren’t any voter irregularities there. Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy sought to extend voting hours after problems were reported at Hartford polling stations.