Nevada Sen. Harry Reid won a tough re-election fight on Tuesday in a race that proved an extra-sweet victory for him and his party as it enabled Democrats to block a potential GOP takeover and allowed the Senate majority leader to keep his post at the top of Senate leadership.

Reid was winning with 51 percent of the vote against Tea Party favorite Sharron Angle, who had 44 percent of the vote.

Reid's return to the Senate gives him a fifth term, but a diminished majority as Republicans picked up at least six seats before counting Alaska, Colorado and Washington, the last three outstanding races of the night.

Without those races, the Senate stood at 49 Democrats, 46 Republicans and 2 independents. Nineteen Democrats had sought re-election on Tuesday compared to 18 Republicans. Of them, Democrats had held on to 11 races with the Democratically held Colorado and Washington seats left to be decided.

Republicans kept 17 seats and picked up six as the GOP awaited results from the Alaska seat that had been held by Republican 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 the three-way race with Democrat Scott McAdams.

Reid, who watched his son fail in his quest to become the state's next 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.