By Nadin Abbott
November 8, 2012 (San Diego)-- The Democratic Party was expected to lose control of the Senate back in the Summer. Yet, they were able to maintain control, and this was due to a few important victories.
Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin became the first openly gay woman to be elected to the Senate. Her victory over Republican Tommy Thomson helped the Democrats maintain control. John Tester, a moderate Democrat from Montana, won re-election as well.
The hotly contested Massachusetts race between Elizabeth Warren (D) and Senator Scott Brown (R ), elected to finish Ted Kennedy’s term after the Senator passed, was won by Warren.
The races between Republican Todd Akin and Senator Claire McCaskill, as well as Republican Richard Murdoch and Joe Donnelly came down to comments both Republicans made on rape, notably Akin’s now infamous “legitimate rape” remarks. According to analysts, both seats should have been an easy Republican pick, but those comments cost them untold numbers of votes, particularly with women voters.
In the end Democrats have kept 51 seats, however the two independents, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who won re-election, and newly elected Senator Angus King of Maine replacing retiring Republican Senator Olympia Snow are likely to caucus with the Democrats. This gives Democrats an effective 53-47 majority—though not the 60% needed to block a Republican filibuster.