While the race between Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain was definitely THE race last night, there were other issues drawing voters to the ballot.
Overall, the Democrats won five more seats in the Senate, bringing their representation to 56. Republicans now have 40 seats. In the House, there will now be 252 Democrats and 173 Republicans.
In other closely watched races, Virginia’s former Democratic governor, Mark Warner, was victorious last night in his bid for the Senate, winning a seat longheld by Republicans. His showing is fueling expectations that Democrats could get the majority of Senate seats to solidify their leadership grip over the chamber. Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden won another six-year term representing Delaware in the Senate.
North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole lost her re-election bid to Democratic state Sen. Kay Hagan. Hagan, a former banker, got a big boost from a highly negative advertisement paid for by the Dole campaign that sought to link her to a group called “Godless America.” The ad was criticized as being extremely dirty for its inaccuracies.
In California, a measure to again ban gay marriage led Tuesday, throwing into doubt the unions of an estimated 18,000 same-sex couples who wed since the gay marriage became law 4 1/2 months ago. Prosition 8, which “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry” was ahead 52.2% to 47.8%, according to the California secretary of state’s Web site.
Of the four gay rights measures on statewide ballots, the battle in California was most notable in the amount of money raised. Proposition 8 was the most expensive proposition on any ballot in the nation this year, with more than $74 million spent by both sides.
In Minnesota, the race for U.S. senator between incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman and former Saturday Night Live writer Al Franken was still too close to call. Coleman led Franken by 571 votes out of nearly 2.9 million cast, according to the Associated Press. Coleman had 1,210,942 votes, or 42%, to Franken’s 1,210,371 votes, or 42%.