The writing was on the wall even before the polls opened on Tuesday—the Republican Party was poised to snatch the six seats it needed back from Democrats in order to take control of the Senate. Nate Silver and his data-drenched disciples knew—statistically, of course—where election night 2014 was headed, but as always, the Republican candidates needed to win it on the field.
The GOP left little room for second-guessing its midterm game plan, as the wins piled up Tuesday evening, and when the networks called Iowa for Republican Joni Ernst, the takeover was complete. Ernst’s victory marked the sixth of the night for the Republicans.
Elsewhere, Republican challengers successfully knocked off Democratic incumbents to set the stage for the party’s takeover. Republican Thom Tillis defeated Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina. And in Arkansas and Colorado, where Republican challengers ran campaigns that did their best to tether their opponents’ records to President Obama and his flagging poll numbers—both were successful. In Colorado, Rep. Cory Gardner picked off Sen. Mark Udall, and Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton defeated Sen. Mark Pryor. Elsewhere, battleground victories were easier to come by for the Republicans as they picked up Democratic seats in West Virginia, South Dakota, and Montana.