Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders was swept to a third term in the Senate by a 71-25 margin in the state of Vermont over Republican John MacGovern.
Maine also elected an independent. Former Governor Angus King took 54% of the vote in Maine while Republican Charlie Summers took 29% and Democratic Cynthia Dill took 14%. Last night King said will negotiate with both parties to determine who he will caucus with. He is looking for a party that will
- allow him to vote independently according to his conscience,
- give him committee assignments where he can advance the interests of Maine, and
- change the filibuster rule so that a single Senator cannot put a hold on a nomination and a 60-40 majority is required to pass any legislation.
Most Democrats supported King instead of the actual Democratic nominee Dill so it is suspected that King will ultimately decide to caucus with the Democrats. If he does, this would increase the Democratic margin in the Senate to 55-45.
Earlier this year most pundits had thought that the Republicans would take control of the Senate but that did not come to be. Instead Republicans lost two seats:
- Populist Attorney General Elizabeth Warren defeated Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown 54% to 46%.
- Indiana Senator Richard Lugar lost his primary to Richard Mourdock whose campaign self-destructed after an abortion related gaffe giving the victory to Democratic underdog Joe Donnelly (50% to 44% to 6% for independent Andrew Horning).
Meanwhile the Republicans gained only one seat (Deb Fischer defeated incumbent Bob Kerrey 58% to 42%) while vulnerable Democratic incumbents sailed to reelection including Missouri’s Claire McCaskill who defeat tea-party favorite Todd Akin 55% to 39% after his “legitimate abortion” remark.