Update 2:09 p.m. ET: With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the New Hampshire Sec. of State's office has certified a lead by Hassan of 1,023 votes. A recount is still possible. Our original post appears below.
In the final undeclared Senate race of the 2016 election, Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan is claiming victory over incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire.
— Paul Steinhauser (@steinhauserNH1) November 9, 2016
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Hassan has a slender margin of just 640 votes over Ayotte at time of writing, out of more than 700,000 votes cast in the race. With the margin so tight, it's likely this election will undergo a recount process; if Hassan indeed wins the race, Democrats will have netted just two seats in the Senate this year, for an overall Republican majority of 52 seats against 48 for the Democrats. Eric Kleefeld
Last weekend, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told a rally in Mooresville, North Carolina, that when he walked into a gun shop recently, "nothing made me feel better" than seeing a magazine about rifles "with a picture of Hillary Clinton on the front," CNN reported Monday. Burr, in a tight re-election fight against Democratic challenger Deborah Ross, added, "I was a little bit shocked at that — it didn't have a bullseye on it." The crowd laughed and Burr added that the magazine did list candidates gun advocates should vote for, "so let me assure you, there's an army of support out there right now for our candidates."
When confronted with audio of the rally, Burr told CNN on Monday that "the comment I made was inappropriate, and I apologize for it." A Burr spokesman clarified that Burr was not suggesting that gun owners should want to shoot Clinton, but rather that he felt "better" that gun-rights groups were supporting Republican candidates.
Burr also said at the rally that President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Judge Merrick Garland, will not be confirmed during a lame-duck session, "period," and that "if Hillary Clinton becomes president, I am going to do everything I can do to make sure four years from now, we still got an opening on the Supreme Court." He also bragged about being responsible for the "longest judicial vacancy in history" by blocking an Obama nominee to fill a vacant federal judgeship in eastern North Carolina from getting a vote. Burr did not apologize for those remarks. Peter Weber
Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who suffered a stroke in January 2012, now remains firmly committed to running for re-election in 2016.
"No frickin' way am I retiring," Kirk told CQ Roll Call. "With all this rehab, for me just to walk was a huge effort. I had to re-learn how to walk again after the stroke. And all the rehab and all the effort shows the mental determination times 10 to keep serving."
Kirk was away from the Senate for a full year, before he returned to work in January 2013, and since then he has continued as an active member of the chamber. For his part, Kirk says that any speculation about whether he would be able to run again is only happening because Democrats are afraid they can't beat him.
"It's the only way that Democrats can win in Illinois, is to say, 'Ohhhh Kirk has health problems, he's going to retire,'" Kirk said. "For Democrats looking at a minority life and seeing that they cannot win in Illinois is so frustrating that they will just assume away any issue. They'll just say to willing reporters, 'I think Kirk is going to retire.'" Eric Kleefeld