Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte concedes to Democrat in New Hampshire, narrowing GOP majority in Senate
MANCHESTER, N.H. — Republican Kelly Ayotte has conceded the race for her U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire to Democratic challenger Maggie Hassan, according to a statement from Ayotte’s campaign, giving Democrats their second pic-up in the chamber this election cycle.
“I just spoke with Governor Hassan to congratulate her on her election to serve in the U.S. Senate,” Ayotte said in the statement. “I wish Governor Hassan, her husband Tom, and their children Ben and Meg the very best.”
Hassan’s victory makes the count for senators that caucus with Democrats 48 seats, short of the majority they were aiming for before Election Day. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois was the only other Democratic pickup of the night, which saw Republicans retain their control over their conference and Donald Trump win his bid for the presidency.
Republicans are expected to hold the Senate seat in Louisiana in next month’s contest after a Republican and Democrat advanced to the runoff. If so, then Republicans will have a 52-seat majority in the 100-seat Senate in January.
On Tuesday, Democrats also won a competitive race in Nevada, where Catherine Cortez Masto held off Republican Rep. Joe Heck to retain the seat being vacated by retiring Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid.
Those were Democrats’ only three victories in a night that saw Republicans win nearly every close race, retaining their House and Senate majorities and guaranteeing the party has full control of Congress when President-elect Donald Trump is sworn in on January 20.
Ayotte’s loss comes with Hillary Clinton maintaining a narrow lead of less than 1,500 votes over Trump in the tightly contested battleground state. Hassan’s lead was even smaller than that.
The loss shows that Republicans who attempted to run away from Trump largely failed to convince voters to split their tickets.
Kirk in Illinois said he wrote down David Petraeus for president, but he was easily ousted. Heck had ducked questions about Trump. And Ayotte had said he is no role model and withdrew her support for the GOP nominee after the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape became public. Clinton, like the Democratic Senate contenders, won all three states.
Other Republicans who ran closer to Trump — including Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr and Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt — each won, aided by Trump’s victories in their states.