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Republicans to hold the Senate while Democrats make gains in House

Last Updated Nov 6, 2018 11:29 PM EST

Republicans are projected to retain control of the Senate after Tuesday's midterm elections, picking up seats from Democrats in states that President Trump won in 2016. Republican Mike Braun defeated Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly in Indiana, and GOP Rep. Kevin Cramer easily triumphed over Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota. 

With votes still being counted, Republicans will have at least 50 votes when the new Congress convenes in January, with Vice President Mike Pence filling the role of tie-breaker if that number doesn't grow. The GOP had 51 votes heading into Tuesday night. 

Mr. Trump had been barnstorming through states with competitive Senate races in recent weeks, including Missouri, Texas, and Florida. In the Lone Star state, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz successfully fended off a tough challenge from Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke. 

The election results are a victory for Mr. Trump, who will see his party retain control of one chamber of Congress. They are also a win for Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader who has helped pushed through Mr. Trump's judicial nominees. 

The two spoke Tuesday night. "The Leader and the President had a great conversation tonight and he thanked the President for all his help," said McConnell's spokeswoman, Antonia Ferrier.

In his first two years in office, Mr. Trump has nominated two Supreme Court nominees, but the most recent one – Brett Kavanaugh – was only narrowly confirmed after Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski broke ranks and voted against him.  

Confirming judicial appointments is a top concern of the conservative base, and it's possible another Supreme Court vacancy could occur before the end of Mr. Trump's current term. A Republican senate will also make it easier for Mr. Trump to appoint new members of his cabinet should any of its current officials leave.