GOP anxious to use control of Senate
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republicans plan to move quickly now that they have gained a majority in the Senate after ousting Democratic incumbents in Georgia and Missouri and winning key contests in several other states.
Still undecided races in South Dakota and Louisiana could add to the GOP's strength, but even if they lose those races, Republicans will still hold 51 Senate seats in the next Congress.
Sen. Trent Lott, who is likely to replace South Dakota Democrat Sen. Tom Daschle as majority leader, said Wednesday there is an "obvious" list of legislation that he hopes to quickly address.
"We need to have a budget, to begin with. We need pension reform, welfare reform. We need to do more in education," he said. "Let's quit talking about doing something for low-income elderly that need prescription drugs. Let's look at what we can do to target some tax cuts that would help the economy. Let's have fiscal restraint."
In South Dakota Wednesday, Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson claimed victory amid speculation that his lead of about 500 votes would prompt a recount in his race with GOP Rep. John Thune.
In Louisiana, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu will face a runoff December 7 with state Elections Commissioner Suzanne Haik Terrell because Landrieu failed to win the majority she needed to avoid a runoff under that state's unique election laws.
Republicans will now have another month to try to capture her seat -- a race expected to capture a lot of attention and money from both sides.
President Bush campaigned extensively for Senate hopefuls such as Georgia's three-term GOP Congressman Saxby Chambliss and former Rep. Jim Talent, who beat incumbent Democrat Jean Carnahan in Missouri.
Chambliss defeated Democratic incumbent Max Cleland in an upset win Tuesday. Chambliss came from behind in the campaign's final days to oust Cleland, a veteran who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam. (More on Georgia race)
Wednesday morning Democratic candidate and former Vice President Walter Mondale conceded a close race to GOP opponent Norm Coleman.
Mondale said he had called the former St. Paul mayor and "wished him the best." Mondale said he told Coleman "what I really believe -- that the U.S. Senate is the best job in America and I think he will love it."
Coleman told his supporters, "I am so humbled by the love and outpouring of support."
Mondale entered the race just a week ago to replace Sen. Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash on October 25. (More on Minnesota race)
In Missouri, Carnahan conceded to Talent late Tuesday.
"We are all the better for the battle. We proclaimed our hopes and visions for the future, and we did it with energy and compassion," said Carnahan, who was appointed two years ago to the seat won posthumously by her late husband, Gov. Mel Carnahan, who died in a plane crash. (More on Missouri race)
In New Hampshire, GOP Rep. John Sununu defeated Democratic Gov. Jean Shaheen for the seat now held by Republican Sen. Bob Smith, who was defeated by Sununu in the primary.
"What a night, what a victory," said Sununu, son of a White House chief of staff for the first President Bush. "We were outspent in this election, but we weren't outworked."
Four Republicans successfully defended seats that opened up when GOP senators retired -- John Cornyn in Texas, Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina, Lindsey Graham in South Carolina and Lamar Alexander in Tennessee.
Dole, a former Republican Cabinet secretary and American Red Cross president, claimed victory over former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles with her husband, Bob, the former Senate majority leader and 1996 presidential nominee, by her side. (More on N.C. race)
In Texas, Cornyn, the Republican attorney general, defeated former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, who was trying to become the first black senator in Texas history.
In South Carolina, Graham -- a leader of the House impeachment forces against former President Clinton -- defeated Democrat Alex Sanders for a seat that opened up when 99-year-old GOP Sen. Strom Thurmond, an institution in the Palmetto State, decided to retire. (More on S.C. race)
In Tennessee, Alexander, a former governor and 1996 GOP presidential candidate, defeated Democratic Rep. Bob Clement.
In New Jersey, former Sen. Frank Lautenberg, 78, who took the Democratic spot on the ballot in the last month of the campaign after Sen. Robert Torricelli withdrew, defeated Republican Doug Forrester.
Democrats took a GOP seat in Arkansas, where Democratic Attorney General Mark Pryor defeated incumbent Republican Tim Hutchinson. (More on Arkansas race)
Among the other victors Tuesday were:
•Incumbent Republicans Wayne Allard of Colorado, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, John Warner of Virginia, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Pat Roberts of Kansas, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Pete Domenici of New Mexico, Susan Collins of Maine, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Larry Craig of Idaho, Ted Stevens of Alaska and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska. ( More on Alabama race) (More on Maine race) (More on Colorado race)
•Democratic Sens. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Richard Durbin of Illinois, Joe Biden of Delaware, Carl Levin of Michigan, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Max Baucus of Montana, Tom Harkin of Iowa and John Kerry of Massachusetts. (More on Iowa race)