After months of fretting about a tough electoral map, Republicans kept control of the House and Senate as they successfully defended a number of vulnerable seats Tuesday night.
The GOP held its ground in Ohio, Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, Indiana, Missouri and Pennsylvania.
Democrats netted a seat in Illinois, and one race was still too close to call — but the GOP ensured it would keep a majority with the projection just before 1:30 a.m. that Sen. Pat Toomey would win re-election in Pennsylvania.
In the House, Democrats did gain ground, but nowhere near the number of seats needed to overcome the GOP’s massive advantage.
Heading into the election, the GOP was on defense in so many states that prognosticators had predicted the Senate would flip.
GOP strategist Ford O’Connell said in a tight finish, the unsung hero of the night is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who orchestrated the firewall even as his candidates struggled to campaign in the shadow of presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“McConnell, ironically, had far better instincts when it came to dealing with Trump than, say, Paul Ryan,” he said.