The Latest on Senate: 3 Senate Races Remain Too Close to Call

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., campaigns at a restaurant, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Smyrna, Tenn. Blackburn is running against former Gov. Phil Bredesen for the U.S. Senate.

By Published on November 6, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S. Senate elections (all times local):

4:20 a.m.

The race for U.S. Senate in Montana between Democratic incumbent Jon Tester and Republican Matt Rosendale is too close to call.

As of 3:45 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Rosendale holds a lead of 6,082 votes out of more than 355,000 cast — a margin of roughly 1.7 percent.

Roughly a third of precincts remain to be counted.

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4:18 a.m.

The race for U.S. Senate in Arizona between Republican Martha McSally and Democrat Kyrsten Sinema is too close to call.

As of 3:45 a.m. EST on Wednesday, McSally holds a lead of 17,240 votes out of more than 1.6 million cast — a margin of roughly 1 percent.

Roughly 25 percent of votes in Arizona are counted after Election Day.

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4:16 a.m.

The race for U.S. Senate in Florida between Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Rick Scott is too close to call.

With all precincts reporting as of 3:45 a.m. EST on Wednesday, Scott holds a lead of 38,717 votes out of more than 8 million cast — a margin of less than one half of 1 percent.

Under state law in Florida, a recount is mandatory if the winning candidate’s margin is less than 0.5 percentage points.

The Associated Press does not call any race that may proceed to a recount.

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3:21 a.m.

Democrat Jacky Rosen has defeated incumbent Republican Dean Heller in a hard-fought battle for a U.S. Senate seat in Nevada, giving Democrats a key pickup in the chamber.

Rosen on Tuesday ousted Heller, who has been in office since he was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2011.

Heller was considered the most vulnerable Republican running for re-election to the U.S. Senate this year as the only one seeking another term in a state that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. He conceded earlier in the night.

Heller was once a critic of President Donald Trump, but the two have become allies. Rosen painted Heller as a rubber stamp for the president and counted on backlash to Trump to help her oust the incumbent.

Rosen’s win puts Nevada with half a dozen other states represented by U.S. senators who are both female. Nevada’s other senator is Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.

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2:39 a.m.

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has won a fifth full term representing California after shaking off a challenge from a fellow Democrat who argued she hasn’t been tough in confronting President Donald Trump.

Feinstein defeated state Sen. Kevin de Leon.

Voters first sent Feinstein to Washington in 1992. At 85, she is the oldest current U.S. senator.

She faced a fellow Democrat because of California’s system that sends the two candidates who win the most primary votes to the general election.

The race failed to generate much excitement, with Democrats more focused on winning seats in the U.S. House than on a safe Senate seat.

Feinstein argued that her experience and tenure in Washington made her the best person to serve California.

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1:40 a.m.

Maine’s independent Sen. Angus King has withstood a challenge from opponents on his ideological right and left to retain his seat.

King, a popular former Maine governor, defeated Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey and Democratic activists Zak Ringelstein to win a second term on Tuesday. King caucuses with the Democrats and was first elected to the Senate in 2012.

Tuesday’s election was the first U.S. Senate race to use Maine’s ranked-choice style of voting.

Brakey or Ringelstein could have forced additional voting rounds under the system if King had fallen short of 50 percent of the popular vote. But King, who has long been popular with Maine voters, had a decisive win.

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11:55 p.m.

Republican Josh Hawley has unseated Missouri’s Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in a national victory for the GOP.

Republicans have long hoped to flip McCaskill’s seat in the increasingly Republican state. Missouri was once considered a bellwether known for picking the successful presidential candidate, but it’s since lost that status and trended right.

President Donald Trump won the state by nearly 19 percentage points. Missouri’s attorney general pinned his campaign to his support for the president.

McCaskill was one of 10 Democratic Senate incumbents up for re-election in states Trump won.

Voters first elected McCaskill to the Senate in 2006. She won re-election in 2012 after Republican candidate Todd Akin said women’s bodies can prevent pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape.”

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11:40 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell has won re-election in Washington, beating Republican challenger Susan Hutchison.

Cantwell easily outdistanced Hutchison, a former Seattle TV anchor and state GOP chairwoman.

Cantwell is a former tech executive who previously served one term in the U.S. House and six years as a state representative in the state Legislature. She will be serving her fourth term.

It’s been nearly a quarter century since the GOP has captured a major statewide race in Washington.

The last time voters sent a Republican to the U.S. Senate was 1994, when Sen. Slade Gorton was re-elected to his final term before being ousted by Cantwell in 2000.

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11:25 p.m.

Democrat Debbie Stabenow of Michigan has won a fourth term in the Senate, defeating Republican challenger John James.

Stabenow campaigned as a pragmatic lawmaker who forges bipartisan agreement despite the partisan rancor in Washington. She cited her work shaping farm legislation and pushing a new law that allows pharmacists to tell consumers when they can save on prescriptions by paying cash instead of using insurance.

The 68-year-old Stabenow criticized President Trump’s attempt to slash federal funding for the Great Lakes. She said James would have been an unabashed enthusiast of Trump with no governing experience.

James is a black combat veteran and business executive. Trump won Michigan in 2016. He called James “a star” candidate.

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11:15 p.m.

Mississippi’s U.S. Senate special election is headed to a runoff, and the state’s voters will either elect a woman to the office for the first time ever or a black man for the first time since Reconstruction.

Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy advanced Tuesday from a field of four. They compete in a Nov. 27 runoff, and the winner will serve the final two years of a term started by Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who retired in April.

Republican Gov. Phil Bryant appointed Hyde-Smith, who was state agriculture commissioner, to temporarily succeed Cochran until the special election is decided. She is the first woman to represent Mississippi in Congress, but no woman has been elected to the job from the state. She is endorsed by President Donald Trump.

Espy is a former congressman and former U.S. agriculture secretary.

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11:10 p.m.

Democrats have held on to governors’ offices in Minnesota and Hawaii.

Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz defeated Republican Jeff Johnson on Tuesday to mark the first time since the 1950s that one of Minnesota’s political parties has held on to the office for at least three terms. He will replace Gov. Mark Dayton, who chose not to seek re-election.

In Hawaii, Gov. David Ige (EE’-gay) won re-election by defeating Republican state Rep. Andria Tupola. Hawaii is a heavily Democratic state.

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11:05 p.m.

Democrats are chipping away at Republican leadership in state capitols by flipping control of at least three gubernatorial offices.

Democrats J.B. Pritzker in Illinois, Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan and Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico won elections Tuesday for seats previously held by Republicans.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates also were putting up strong challenges in the previously Republican-held states of Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin and South Dakota.

Heading into Tuesday’s elections, Republicans controlled 33 governor’s office and two-thirds of all state legislative chambers. That included 25 states where they held a trifecta of power, compared with just eight for Democrats.

Whitmer’s victory breaks that Republican trifecta in Michigan. The Democratic gubernatorial victories in Illinois and New Mexico could give them trifectas there.

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11 p.m.

Democrats have taken a firm grip on power in New Mexico by flipping the governor’s office, previously held by a Republican.

Democratic Michelle Lujan Grisham won the governor’s race Tuesday by defeating Republican Steve Pearce in an election that featured two sitting members of Congress.

Heading into Tuesday, Democrats already held majorities in both chambers of the state Legislature. But term-limited Gov. Susana Martinez had held the chief executive’s office for Republicans for the past eight years.

The victory by Lujan Grisham could position Democrats to have full control over the redistricting of congressional and state legislative seats after the 2020 Census.

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10:50 p.m.

A woman who during the 2016 presidential election accused Donald Trump of sexually harassing her a decade earlier has lost her bid for a seat in Ohio’s legislature.

Democrat Rachel Crooks lost on Tuesday to incumbent Republican state Rep. Bill Reineke (RY’-nuh-kee) in her first attempt at a public office.

The former Trump Tower receptionist said she met Trump in 2006 when she was 22 and he kissed her “directly on the mouth” against her will. Trump denied the accusations when they first surfaced a month before the 2016 election.

Crooks says she decided to run in Ohio’s Republican-leaning 88th House District partly because she thinks Trump escaped consequences for harassment alleged by her and others.

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10:40 p.m.

Republican Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has won re-election to another term by defeating Democratic state Sen. Bob Krist.

Ricketts’ victory on Tuesday will extend a 20-year run of Republican governors in the conservative state.

Ricketts has pledged to keep pushing for lower taxes and limits on state spending. He will be paired with a state legislative chamber that is officially nonpartisan but also has a majority of Republicans.

Krist was previously a Republican but changed his affiliation after announcing his run for governor.

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10:35 p.m.

Rep. Jared Polis has won Colorado’s open gubernatorial seat to keep it under Democratic control.

Polis defeated Republican state Treasurer Walker Stapleton on Tuesday to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper. Polis will become Colorado’s first openly gay governor.

He campaigned on universal health, renewable energy standards and publicly funded early childhood education. He also vowed to stand up to President Donald Trump’s efforts to dismantle the federal health care law.

Although often a swing state, Colorado has not had a Republican governor since 2007.

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10:20 p.m.

The Kentucky clerk who went to jail in 2015 for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has lost her bid for a second term.

Republican incumbent Kim Davis was defeated by Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr. in Tuesday’s election for clerk of Rowan County in northeastern Kentucky.

Caudill is well known in the county. He lost to Davis by just 23 votes in the 2014 Democratic primary. Davis later switched to the GOP.

Davis went from obscure local official to a national figure when she stopped issuing marriage licenses days after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry. Davis cited her religious beliefs for her action, saying she was acting under “God’s authority.”

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10:10 p.m.

Democrat Gretchen Whitmer has won the Michigan governor’s race to break a Republican power bloc that had been a top target for Democrats.

Whitmer is a former state legislative leader and defeated Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette (SHOO’-tee) in Tuesday’s election. She will succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

Republicans had controlled the governor’s office and both chambers of the Michigan Legislature since racking up big victories in the 2010 midterm elections during Democratic President Barack Obama’s tenure. The GOP used that trifecta of power to enact congressional and state legislative maps that favored Republicans.

That made Michigan a top target for national Democrats.

Whitmer’s victory continues a trend of party changes in Michigan. Voters have not elected back-to-back governors of the same party since the 1960s.

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10:05 p.m.

Republican businessman Kevin Stitt has won Oklahoma’s open gubernatorial seat.

Stitt defeated former Democratic attorney general Drew Edmondson in Tuesday’s election to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

Stitt will be paired with Republican majorities in the Oklahoma House and Senate in the traditionally conservative state.

He won election by casting himself as a businessman who is a political outsider in the mold of President Donald Trump.

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9:55 p.m.

Voters in Alabama and South Carolina have chosen to give full terms to a pair of Republican governors who rose to power because of political circumstances.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster defeated Democratic state Rep. James Smith on Tuesday to win a four-year term.

McMaster had been elevated from lieutenant governor in 2017 when Gov. Nikki Haley left office to become President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey defeated Democrat Walt Maddox to win a four-year term. Ivey was elevated from lieutenant governor in 2017 when Gov. Robert Bentley resigned amid the fallout from allegations of a relationship with a top aide.

Both Republican governors are paired with Republican majorities in their state legislatures.

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9:40 p.m.

A Democrat will be back in charge of Illinois now that billionaire J.B. Pritzker has defeated Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in one of the nation’s most expensive gubernatorial races ever.

Pritzker put more than $150 million of his own money into the race against Rauner, who also spent tens of millions of dollars of his own wealth.

Pritzker’s victory could restore a solid grip on government for Democrats, who already controlled both chambers of the state Legislature heading into Tuesday’s election. Rauner’s four-year term as governor had interrupted a Democratic trifecta that began in 2003.

If Democrats retain a trifecta after the 2020 elections, they would be in a position to control how boundaries are redrawn for Illinois congressional and state legislative districts after the 2020 Census.

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9:35 p.m.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has won re-election in what amounts to a pretty historic feat.

Hogan defeated Democrat Ben Jealous on Tuesday to become the first Republican governor to win re-election since 1954 and only the second to do so in the state’s history.

Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-1 ratio in Maryland.

But Hogan’s victory ensures Republicans will have a say in the next round of congressional redistricting after the 2020 Census. That’s important for the GOP, because Democrats used their power in the Legislature and governor’s office to draw districts to their advantage after the 2010 Census.

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9:30 p.m.

Republicans have held on to governor’s offices in Texas and Wyoming.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott won a second term by defeating Democrat Lupe Valdez in a race whose outcome was seldom in doubt.

In Wyoming, Republican state Treasurer Mark Gordon won election as governor over Democrat Mary Throne. Gordon will succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Matt Mead, who has held the office since 2011.

Republicans also control the legislative chambers in Texas and Wyoming, though Democrats have been trying to chip away at the GOP advantage in Texas.

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9:25 p.m.

Democratic Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser has won a second term in office.

Bowser had been favored in the overwhelmingly Democratic District of Columbia. She defeated three challengers.

Bowser has presided over a period of relative prosperity and demographic shifts thanks to rapid gentrification. But her tenure has also been marked by a series of controversies inside the public school system over fraudulent graduation rates. Still Bowser won the Democratic primary in June with no serious opposition.

In another key race, Democratic incumbent Council Chairman Phil Mendelson was re-elected, defeating Libertarian candidate Ethan Bishop-Henchman.

Washington’s non-voting delegate in Congress, Democrat Eleanor Holmes Norton, also secured a 15th term in office.

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9:15 p.m.

Republican U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker has been re-elected in Mississippi and Republican John Barrasso has won a second full term in Wyoming.

Wicker defeated Democratic state Rep. David Baria and two others Tuesday, keeping the seat he has held since 2007.

After Republican Sen. Trent Lott resigned in late 2007, then-Gov. Haley Barbour appointed Wicker to temporarily fill the seat. Wicker won a special election in 2008 to complete Lott’s term, and was re-elected in 2012.

Barrasso defeated Gary Trauner in a race that was a referendum on President Donald Trump in the state. Barrasso argued that less federal regulation and federal income tax cuts enacted under Trump have helped Wyoming’s economy.

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9:05 p.m.

Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has defeated Republican challenger Chele Farley to win re-election to the U.S. Senate.

Gillibrand was heavily favored in Tuesday’s election and has been talked about as a potential presidential candidate in 2020.

At a recent debate, Gillibrand pledged to serve her entire six-year Senate term.

Gillibrand was appointed in 2009 to the Senate seat vacated when Hillary Clinton was nominated as secretary of state.

She rose to prominence in the #MeToo movement last year as the first Democratic senator to call publicly for fellow Democratic Sen. Al Franken to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations.

She has also focused on sexual assault in the military and on college campuses.

Farley works in the financial services industry. She’s never held elected office.

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8:55 p.m.

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez has fended off his wealthy Republican challenger to win re-election despite a barrage of ads about corruption charges he beat in court.

Menendez, 64, wins a third term Tuesday after a grueling campaign against Republican Bob Hugin.

Polls showed Hugin, 64, and Menendez much closer than expected in overwhelmingly Democratic New Jersey.

Hugin tapped his deep pockets for at least $27.5 million and spent on TV ads attacking Menendez over the 2017 trial on charges that he helped a friend with Medicare billing in exchange for lavish gifts.

Prosecutors decided not to retry the case after a mistrial.

The race was particularly significant because Democrats are defending 26 seats, including 10 incumbents running in states that President Donald Trump won in 2016.

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8:15 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown has been elected to a third term.

Brown handily defeated fourth-term Rep. Jim Renacci (ruh-NAY’-see), who dropped a governor’s bid to run for Senate at Trump’s urging.

Brown is in his fifth decade of Ohio politics. He won his first election to the state’s House in 1974 and unseated Republican Sen. Mike DeWine in 2006. With a history of blue-collar appeal and union support, Brown has backed Trump moves on steel tariffs and renegotiating trade agreements.

Renacci is a businessman who called Brown a liberal out of touch with Ohio values.

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8 p.m.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a potential 2020 White House contender, is among a group of five Democratic lawmakers who have easily won re-election to the Senate.

Sens. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Tom Carper of Delaware and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island also won. They were heavy favorites in their races.

Warren has generated considerable speculation about a possible run for the White House in 2020, recently saying she’d take a “hard look” at a presidential bid after the Senate race was over.

Murphy won a second term after amassing a fundraising war chest that was 100 times larger than his opponent’s.

Meanwhile, Carper won his fourth term. He has never lost an election during four decades in politics.

Cardin and Whitehouse both won third terms.

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7:55 p.m.

Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine has dispatched a die-hard supporter of President Donald Trump to win re-election to the U.S. Senate.

Kaine defeated Republican Corey Stewart on Tuesday.

The victory was widely expected as Kaine enjoyed large leads in most public polls and had a huge cash advantage.

Kaine is a former governor who was first elected to the Senate in 2012. He was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016.

Stewart is a conservative provocateur best known for his outspoken support of Confederate imagery and hard-line views on immigration. He struggled to raise money and was ignored by national GOP groups.

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7:00 p.m.

Vermont’s Bernie Sanders has cruised to re-election for his third term in the Senate, easily outpacing eight candidates.

Sanders, the independent who has long been one of the state’s most popular politicians, spent little time campaigning ahead of Tuesday’s election.

Sanders has faced few serious opponents since he was first elected to the state’s lone seat in the House in 1990. He moved up to the Senate in 2006.

The Republican candidate, Lawrence Zupan, a Manchester real estate broker with experience in international trade, campaigned against what he felt was big government and social welfare programs. But his candidacy never gained traction and his campaign drew little attention.

Rather than focusing on his re-election, Sanders traveled the country to support Democratic candidates and an array of policy issues.

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6:30 p.m.

Beyonce has endorsed Texas Democratic Senate hopeful Beto O’Rourke over Republican incumbent Ted Cruz in the final hours before her home state’s polls close.

The native Houstonian released a series of Instagram posts with a black and white “Beto” cap partially covering her face on Tuesday afternoon.

O’Rourke himself then retweeted one of the pictures under the caption “Thank you, Beyonce.”

An El Paso congressman, O’Rourke is trying to become the first Democrat to win statewide office in Texas since 1994. He’s drawn the admiration of many celebrities, including Texas country music icon Willie Nelson.

Cruz dismisses his opponent’s upset-minded campaign as too liberal for Texas since O’Rourke supports universal health care and impeaching President Donald Trump.

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2 p.m.

Republicans are aiming to retain Senate control in Tuesday’s voting.

Democrats’ longshot prospects for capturing a Senate majority are pinned on hopes of their supporters surging to the polls. Democrats and some independents have been motivated by Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric and policies and his efforts to dismantle health care protections enacted under President Barack Obama.

The Democrats have history on their side: 2002 was the only midterm election in the past three decades when the party holding the White House gained Senate seats.

Republicans have a narrow 51-49 majority. Democrats need to gain two Senate seats to win a majority. But they and their two independent allies are defending 26 of the 35 seats in play. Those 26 seats include 10 in states that Trump won in 2016.

 

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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