Republicans retain House but Democrats tighten Senate grip

 
Ben Southwood
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REPUBLICANS retained their hold on the House of Representatives yesterday, while Democrats held onto the Senate, maintaining the partisan status quo of the past two years.

Republicans guaranteed themselves a majority in the 435-member lower chamber, even before the last results came in through the night. But Democrats increased their majority in the upper chamber to 10, gaining in Massachusetts and Indiana.

Republican chances of gaining four seats and taking over the Senate – initially evens, according to the party – were dented by controversial comments on rape and abortion by the extreme social conservative wing of their party.

Both Todd Akin, who notoriously said that women had a means of shutting down pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape” and Richard Mourdock, who said pregnancies were a gift from God even in cases of rape, lost their races for Senate seats.

Democratic candidate Tammy Baldwin won her Wisconsin race to become not only the first female senator from the state, but also the first openly gay senator in the US, as part of a race that saw a record number of women elected to Congress. Another of these women was law professor Elizabeth Warren, who unseated Scott Brown in Massachussets.