Republicans made big gains in the U.S. mid-term election Tuesday, winning more than 50 additional seats and securing a majority in the House of Representatives. Republicans also made gains in the Senate, but failed to win the 10 additional seats that they needed to dominate the Senate.
Republican Rand Paul, the son of former presidential candidate Ron Paul, defeated Democrat Jack Conway in the Kentucky Senate race, and told supporters that the election sends a message. "A message, a message that is loud and clear and does not mince words. We've come to take our government back," he said.
Campaigning on a platform of lower taxes and smaller government, Republicans picked up House seats around the country. They promised to work to slash spending and reverse President Obama's health care plan.
Republicans also made wins in Senate races, including one in Illinois, where Republican Mark Kirk captured President Barack Obama's former seat.
But Democrats prevailed in a number of close races. Three-term California Senator Barbara Boxer is projected to win re-election, withstanding a challenge from Republican Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard. And Democrat Jerry Brown will return to the California governor's office after nearly 30 years, defeating the former eBay chief executive, Republican Meg Whitman. But Republicans captured at least 10 Democratic governors' seats, including in Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Mexico.
In Nevada, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid withstood a challenge from Republican Sharron Angle, a favorite of the grassroots conservative Tea Party movement. Reid, a former amateur boxer, says he has been in some tough fights.
"They've been in the street, been in a boxing ring, and they've been in the United States Senate. But, I have to admit, this has been one of the toughest. But, it's nothing compared to the fight families are facing all over Nevada right now," Reid said.
Nevada's unemployment rate, at more than 14 percent, is the highest in the country.
In Delaware, Tea Party favorite Christine O'Donnell failed in her bid to claim the former Senate seat of Vice President Joe Biden. Democrat Chris Coons won that seat.
Republican Congressman John Boehner is expected to become the new majority leader in the House of Representatives, replacing Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Boehner says he is making a pledge to the country.
"While our new majority will serve as your voice in our people's house, we must remember, it's the president who sets the agenda for our government. The American people have sent an unmistakable message to him tonight, and that message is, 'change course,'" he said.
President Obama telephoned Boehner early Wednesday to congratulate him on Republican wins, and Mr. Obama promised to try to find common ground.
The party of sitting presidents often sees losses in mid-term elections, and with the poor economy, many Democrats had expected losses.
Marco Rubio, who won a three-way race in Florida for a Senate seat, warned his fellow Republicans against overconfidence.
"And we make a great mistake, if we believe that, tonight, these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party. What they are is a second chance, a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago," Rubio said.
He says the country has taken a wrong direction, and both parties are to blame.
Note: Vertical line represents number needed for majority (218).
Note: Vertical line represents number needed for majority (51).