Republicans scored several early Senate victories Tuesday night as polls started to close, with candidates in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana winning open seats as the party aims to build a majority for the first time since 2004.
Republican Rob Portman, an ex-congressman and former White House budget director, has beaten Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in Ohio, Fox News projects. Both he and Tea Party-backed Rand Paul in Kentucky will fill seats left by retiring Republicans.
But former Sen. Dan Coats in Indiana scored the first GOP Senate pick-up of the night, beating Democratic Rep. Brad Ellsworth for the seat left by retiring Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh. He was leading 55-39 in early returns.
Paul beat Kentucky state Attorney General Jack Conway after a bitter contest that delved into Paul's religion and made for some tense debates. Paul, who is leading 55-45 percent in early returns, won despite a last-minute visit by former President Bill Clinton for Conway.
The Kentucky Senate seat is currently held by a Republican, retiring Sen. Jim Bunning.
Elsewhere, Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy easily won his reelection race, as did South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint, who faced off against Democrat Alvin Greene, an unemployed unknown who won his party's primary without campaigning.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
Republicans Score Early Victories in Key Senate Races
Republicans Score Early Victories in Key Senate Races; FOXNews.com