NEW YORK (CBS 2) – Republican candidates, riding a Tea Party wave, have taken control of the House of Representatives. It is a bitter pill for Democrats to swallow, but in the Senate, as CBS 2HD’s Kathryn Brown reports, it’s a somewhat different story.
Democrats were hanging on to a very slim Senate majority Wednesday.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid managed to hang on to his seat, besting challenger Sharron Angle, the Tea Party-backed candidate who gave him a much tighter-than-expected race and sent Democrats into a frenzy.
Republicans racked up dozens of victories. As of Wednesday morning they gained six seats in the Senate and 58 seats in the House, more than enough to give the GOP control of the lower house.
Ohio Republican John Boehner will now take over as House Speaker.
Tuesday night President Obama called him and several other GOP leaders to talk about some of the challenges that lie ahead.
Republicans said their victories sent a clear message to Democrats. “I’m going to listen to the American people, listen to my constituents and obey the Constitution,” Boehner said.
The Tea Party movement spurred many Republicans to victory while delivering defeats for several Republican incumbents in the primaries. Tea Party-backed candidates took more than a dozen seats in the House, three in the Senate, and won the governor’s race in South Carolina.
“We must believe in ourselves and not believe that some benevolent leader in some far away capitol will take care of us, will save us from ourselves,” said Senator-Elect Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
A rare bright spot for Democrats was California, where GOP candidates Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman both lost their bids for office.
Voters there also chose not to legalize marijuana. The ballot issue would have made California the first state to legalize the drug for recreational use.