Republicans are now almost certain to hold the Senate, with Sen. Ron Johnson winning re-election in Wisconsin in a rematch with his previous Democratic rival, former Sen. Russ Feingold.
With 57 percent of precincts reporting, Johnson has 52 percent of the vote over Feingold's 45 percent. Johnson has been projected the winner by NBC News and Fox News.
With this result, the absolute best case Democrats could possibly hope for is a tied 50-50 Senate, depending on close races in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Missouri. And even this might not be a good scenario for them — as Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia is reportedly not ruling out a change in parties in the event of a split chamber.
Johnson was first elected in the 2010 midterm Republican wave, after a career as a manufacturing executive, over the longtime liberal champion Feingold. When Feingold ran again this year, he led in polls for much of the race — but Johnson caught up in the home stretch, as he continued to hammer home the same themes as he had used in his 2010 victory, touting his own business experience against Feingold as a career politician. Eric Kleefeld