Senate Democrats edged closer to a supermajority by ousting Republicans in North Carolina and New Hampshire and adding three seats held by retiring GOP incumbents to a fragile 51-49 majority in the Senate. Four other races involving Republican incumbents were too close to call early Wednesday.
In the House, Democrats captured GOP-held seats in the Northeast, South and West, adding at least 15 seats to the 30 they took from Republicans in 2006. With fewer than a dozen races still undecided, they were on a path to pick up as many as 20 seats. Going into Tuesday’s election, Democrats controlled the House 235-199 with one vacancy.
“Tonight, the American people have called for a new direction. They have called for change in America,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada credited the excitement and record turnout that helped propel president-elect Barack Obama to victory.
“Obama ran a terrific campaign, he inspired millions of people,” Reid said in a telephone interview. “It’s been a really good night.”