Nevada Sen. Harry Reid won a tough re-election fight on Tuesday in a race that proved extra-sweet for him and his party, as it enabled Democrats to block a potential Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate and allowed the majority leader to keep his post.
Reid's return to the Senate gives him a fifth term but a diminished majority, as Republicans picked up at least six seats. The only races still undecided were in Alaska, Colorado and Washington.
Without those races, the Senate stood at 49 Democrats, 46 Republicans and 2 independents, both of whom caucus with the Democrats. Nineteen Democrats had sought re-election on Tuesday, compared to 18 Republicans. Of them, Democrats had held on to 11 races; the seats in Colorado and Washington were held by Democrats, and the seat in Alaska was held by a Republican.
Republicans kept 17 seats and picked up six as they awaited results from the Alaska seat that had been held by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was ousted by Joe Miller in the Republican primary. Murkowski was vying for the seat as a write-in candidate in a three-way race that also included Democrat Scott McAdams.
Reid, who watched his son fail in his quest to become Nevada's governor, overcame his own litany of challenges, including a devastated state economy that leads the nation in unemployment, bankruptcies and foreclosures.
Reid promised to return the state to prosperity, and he depicted Angle as a fringe conservative whose policies would hurt Nevada families.