Washington (AFP) – Republicans stormed to victory in US midterm elections, thumping rival Democrats to clinch control of both houses of Congress and assuring a fractious final two years of Barack Obama’s presidency.
Riding a wave of voter frustration with Washington incumbents and the unpopular policies of the Obama administration, Republicans seized at least seven seats from Senate Democrats to claim total congressional control for the first time since 2006.
“The American people have put their trust in the Republican Party,” Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said shortly after the Democratic implosion.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, brushed aside the toughest challenge to his Kentucky seat in 30 years and was slated to replace Harry Reid as Senate majority leader.
“This experiment in big government has lasted long enough. It’s time to go in a new direction,” McConnell boomed to supporters in his victory speech.
But he sounded a conciliatory note as well, adding that while he and the president rarely see eye to eye, “we do have an obligation to work together on issues where we can agree.”
Reid, stung by losing his powerful leadership role, congratulated McConnell but also called for cooperation.
“The message from voters is clear: they want us to work together,” Reid said.
Republicans have held the 435-seat House of Representatives since 2010, and they kept it safely in hand Tuesday.