Senate Republicans Tuesday defied the odds and clung to their majority after a hard-fought election that many predicted would push them back into the minority after a brief two years controlling the gavel.

The victory likely ensures the political survival of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who is expected to seek to maintain his post as majority.

And GOP Senate control will put Republicans in a better position to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat with a conservative, given Donald Trump’s suprised projected victory over Hillary Clinton.

Republicans pulled off what was thought to be an almost impossible task: run in 34 races, and not lose more than a handful of them. But as of early Wednesday morning, Republicans lost just one seat in Illinois, and managed to steal wins in states that many thought they would lose.

That includes Sen. Ron Johnson’s race in Wisconsin, Todd Young’s race in Indiana, Roy Blunt’s in Missouri and Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania.

“Republicans won because we had better candidates, ran better campaigns, invested early, and starting on day one, made every preparation to run in an uncertain and volatile political environment,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Roger Wicker said. “We ran targeted, data-driven campaigns and communicated directly with voters.”

McConnell will almost certainly maintain current Senate filibuster rules that might make it impossible for a nominee chosen by Hillary Clinton to win 60 votes. In contrast, there was speculation that Democrats might have changed the rules to allow a simple majority vote for Supreme Court nominees, if they had won control of the Senate.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who was considering changing the rules to a 50-vote threshold, will be relegated to the position of minority leader in January. He is now the number-three Democrat and is positioned to succeed Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is retiring.

Republicans will hold the Senate after defending 24 seats in the election, ten of them in highly competitive states. Republicans prevailed despite fears their vulnerable incumbents would be hurt by the top of their ticket, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

RNC: Trump gave 'voice to those who have long felt silenced'

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Reince Priebus said Donald Trump is “going to take that enthusiasm to Washington D.C. to work for the American people.”

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A handful of GOP senators, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte, of New Hampshire, revoked their endorsements of Trump after an 11-year old video leaked showing Trump making lewd comments about women.

Democrats had hoped to regain the majority by tying vulnerable Republicans to Trump, who during his unconventional campaign made frequent comments and Twitter posts that offended people. Democrats sought to brand the Senate GOP as a “do-nothing” party for not passing major legislation, including a gun control bill. Democrats worked to block key spending legislation in order to deny the GOP majority an important legislative victory to claim.


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Trump’s election is the culmination of Americans’ dissatisfaction with the established political order.

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