By mid-day Thursday, Nov. 9, most major news organizations
were reporting that the Democrats had taken control of the U.S. Senate as
ballot totals from Virginia showed incumbent Republican Sen. George Allen
trailing Democratic challenger Jim Webb by 7,000 to 8,000 votes.
Allen conceded the loss at about
3 p.m. Thursday at a press conference. Aides said before the press conference
that they did not believe Allen would demand a recount.
The 54-year-old son of a Hall of
Fame coach of the Washington Redskins, Allen is a former governor who was once
popular with some voters for abolishing parole. Had he been re-elected this
week for a second term, some expected him to begin warming up for a 2008 run
for the White House, according to Bloomberg News.
Webb is a 60-year-old Naval Academy graduate, novelist and Vietnam War veteran. He served as Navy Secretary for
President Reagan. Webb's opposition to the war in Iraq spurred him to switch to
the Democratic Party.
With Webb apparently winning the
Virginia Senate seat, news organizations and political analysts are saying that
the Democrats have a 51 to 49 majority in the U.S. Senate. However, there were
actually only 49 Democrats elected Tuesday.
Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut won re-election, but he did so as an Independent, not as a Democrat, though he
formerly was a Democrat. Senator-elect Bernie Sanders of Vermont ran on the
Socialist Party ticket to win his seat in the chamber.
Media and analysts have been
automatically including both Lieberman and Sanders on the Democrats side of the
aisle, and both said during their campaigns that they would caucus with the
Democrats, but only time will tell how they will vote when it comes to party-line
Of the 100 seats in the Senate, 33 were up for election.
The 109th Congress is expected to wrap up its work by year's
end, and existing committee assignments and chairmanships will remain unchanged
until then. But, with the Democrats now in control in both the House and
Senate, powerful committee positions are expected to change when the 110th
Congress convenes in 2007.