Republicans will keep control of the U.S. Senatefollowing midterm elections on Tuesday.
The GOP made good on a favorable map in the Senate and increased its majority after an acerbic midterm election that enshrined America's deep political divides and shaped a highly contentious battleground for the stirring 2020 presidential race.
Republicans moved to close off the Democratic path to a Senate majority when challenger Mike Braun beat Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, and Marsha Blackburn won in Tennessee, according to CNN projections. Republicans later picked up their second Democratic Senate seat of the night when Kevin Cramer beat one Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, CNN projected.
There was a blow for Democratic morale as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz held off a stronger than expected challenge from Beto O'Rourke to win a second term, CNN projected. In one result that did not come as a surprise, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won a Senate seat in Utah.
Below is a timeline of how more races unfolded Tuesday evening:
11 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
Sen. Ted Cruz will defeat Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke in the race for Senate in Texas, holding off the progressive online fundraising sensation and leaving Democrats who hoped to snap a 24-year statewide losing streak disappointed again.
Cruz made his name in Washington as a right-wing crusader against Obamacare. That elevated him with the GOP's base during his failed 2016 bid for the party's presidential nomination -—but also made him a top Democratic target.
PHOTOS: Election Day across the U.S.
Another reason progressive activists were deeply invested in the race: As more Latinos register to vote, Democrats believe the state that hasn't elected a member of their party in 24 years will move leftward and eventually become competitive. It's part of a Sun Belt shift that the left hopes could also remake the political landscapes of Georgia and Arizona and eventually lock in Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada as solidly Democratic.
The Texas Senate race's flashpoints were often over cultural issues, particularly the National Anthem.
10:15 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
Mitt Romney (R) has won the Utah Senate seat over Jenny Wilson (D), Craig Bowden (L), Tim Aalders (C) and Reed McCandless (I).
The Democrats' path to a Senate majority is rapidly closing after Republicans took a Democratic-held seat in Indiana and easily fended off a Democratic challenge in Tennessee.
With Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson narrowly trailing in Florida, the party's opportunities to net the two seats they need to take Senate control are evaporating.
Arizona and Nevada are two GOP-held seats Democrats could win — but they might need those just to make up for earlier losses.
9:45 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
Rep. Marsha Blackburn will win the race to represent Tennessee in the US Senate, CNN can project, outlasting a challenge from former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat who looked to run against his party to win in a state President Donald Trump won by 26 percentage points in 2016.
Blackburn, a conservative lawmaker closely tied to the President, looked to nationalize the Senate race as much as possible, hoping to tap into the same conservatism that elected Trump in order to blunt some goodwill Bredesen had built up during his two terms as governor. Trump visited the state three times. Blackburn will be the first female senator to represent her state.
Democrats had hoped to pick up Tennessee as part of a narrow path to retaking the Senate.
9:20 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
Republicans are looking well-positioned to keep the Senate with key races still tight.
Marsha Blackburn (R) is the winner over Phil Bredesen (D) in Tennessee.
9:10 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
Joe Manchin (D) is the projected winner in Virginia, defeating Patrick Morrisey (D) and Rusty Hollen (L).
Manchin keeps in Democratic hands a seat in a state that voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump. West Virginia was long seen as a top Republican target for one reason: Trump won there by 42 percentage points in 2016.
The state, once a Democratic stronghold, has become so heavily Republican that the sitting governor, Jim Justice, switched to the GOP last year.
Manchin, though, built a reputation as one of the Senate's most conservative Democrats. He broke with the rest of the party to vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, though he waited to announce his position until Kavanaugh's confirmation was already guaranteed.
9 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
Mike Braun (R) is the winner over Joe Donnelly (D) for the open US Senate seat in Indiana, according to WRTV television station in Indianapolis. Braun was heavily supported by President Donald Trump. He is businessman and former legislator.
Democrats will keep Senate seats in Minnesota, New Mexico, New York and Pennsylvania.
Marsha Blackburn (R) is projected to win over Phil Bredesen (D) in Tennessee.
In Pennsylvania, Bob Casey (D) is the projected winner over Lou Barletta (R).
8:50 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
With 95% of precincts reporting, Rick Scott (R) has 50.5% of the vote in Florida, and BIll Nelson (D) has 49.5%.
Some polling places in Texas and Georgia will stay open longer, per a judge's rule.
8:25 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
In Texas, Beto O'Rourke (D) continues to hold his lead over Ted Cruz (R) with 32% of precincts reporting. He's leading with 1.58% of the vote.
Georgia's early results show Brian Kemp (R) leading over Stacey Abrams (D).
Florida's Senate race of Rick Scott (R) and Bill Nelson (D) remains too close to call with 85% of precincts reporting.
8:10 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
The Democrats have taken an early lead in key Senate races. They are projected to keep Senate seats in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Rhode Island.
In Texas, Beto O'Rourke (D) was ahead 58.5% and Ted Cruz (R) was at 40.9% with 13% of precincts reporting.
The Florida Senate race has been very tight as the results have come in throughout the evening and the race is too close to call.
7:55 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
In Ohio, Sherrod Brown (D) is the projected winner over Jim Renacci (R).
7:45 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
In very early results, Patrick Morrisey (R) has 49.5% of the vote in West Virginia, over Joe Manchin (D) with 47.1% and Rusty Hollen (L) with 3.4%. More
With more than half the vote in for Florida, Bill Nelson (D) leads over Rick Scott (R), 51.4% to 48.6%.
In the House of Representative races, the Dems took their first House seat from Republicans as Jennifer Wexton was projected as the winner over Barbara Comstock in the Virginia-10 race.
7:15 PM EASTERN — UPDATE:
Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine will win re-election.
In Florida, Rick Scott (R) is leading over Bill Nelson (D). In Indiana, Mike Braun (R) leads over Joe Donnelly (D) and Lucy Brenton (L).
The first polls closed at 6 p.m. on the East Coast.
PHOTOS: Voter turnout across the nation