The Republican Party has won control of the Senate in the US mid-term elections, increasing its power in the final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.
The party won in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.
And it is expected to post more gains as votes are counted in other states.
The party is also set to strengthen its majority in the lower House of Representatives.
Throughout the campaign, Republicans focused on voter dissatisfaction with Mr Obama, a Democrat, describing the vote as a referendum on his presidency.
As the first results came in late on Tuesday, it became clear they had made convincing gains in the roughly one-third of the 100 Senate seats up for election.
With the votes still being counted in many states, the Republican Party appears easily to have won the six seats it needed to win control of the Senate.
In addition to seats the party won from the Democrats, the Republicans retained seats in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.
In Louisiana, neither of the top two candidates gained 50% of the vote, forcing a run-off election in early December.
In Virginia, Democrat Mark Warner was expected to retain his Senate seat amid a much tighter than expected race with Republican ex-lobbyist Ed Gillespie.
One of the key early results came in Kentucky, where Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell fended off Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.
Mr McConnell will now become the Senate majority leader, giving him control over the chamber’s legislative agenda and floor proceedings.
“It wasn’t about me or my opponent,” he told supporters as he declared victory, “it was about a government that people can no longer trust.”
Current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid congratulated Mr McConnell in a short statement.
“The message from voters is clear: they want us to work together,” said Mr Reid of Nevada, whose role in the soon-to-be Democratic minority remains uncertain. “I look forward to working with Senator McConnell to get things done for the middle class.”
As well as taking the Senate, the Republicans are projected to increase their majority in the House of Representatives, where all 435 members were up for re-election.
They also made gains among the thirty-six governorships up for re-election.
Republican governors survived tough re-election battles in Florida, Maine and Wisconsin.
In two results that illustrate the breadth of the Republican sweep, the party’s candidates won in Maryland and Massachusetts, two of the most Democratic-friendly states in the nation. Republican Bruce Rauner also won in Illinois – Mr Obama’s home state – against incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn.
They will now have the power to complicate, if not block completely, Mr Obama’s agenda in the last two years of his term.
With control of the Senate, the Republicans can also stymie his ability to name new federal judges, cabinet members and senior government officials.
Political gridlock in Congress has already reached historic levels and was a major concern among voters, with many expressing their frustration with the lack of progress on the key issues facing the nation.
Analysts say the Republicans’ victory could make the situation even worse before the president poll in 2016.
Republican leaders have already pledged to move forward on their key policy priorities, pressing Mr Obama to negotiate on their terms
“It’s time for government to start getting results and implementing solutions to the challenges facing our country, starting with our still-struggling economy,” said Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor