The insurance industry is facing a whole new world in Washington.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the Republican presidential nominee, tonight has conceded the presidential election to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
Current tallies show Obama will have a 252-173 Democratic majority in the House.
It appears to be unlikely that the Democrats will emerge with a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate.
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At this point, the Democrats seem to have won at least 54 seats in the Senate.
Independents who have caucused with Democrats in the past – Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont – hold 2 other seats.
The 4 Senate races without clear-cut winners are in Alaska, Georgia, Minnesota and Oregon.
In Alaska, Sen. Ted Stevens, R, is leading 48-46.5% over Mark Begich.
In Georgia, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R, is ahead of Jim Martin. Chambliss has 49.9% of the vote, Martin has 46.7% of the vote, and Libertarian Allen Buckley has 3.4% of the vote.
Although Chambliss is leading, he may be headed for a December run-off if he fails to get 50% of the total vote.
In Minnesota, Sen. Norm Coleman, R, and comedian Al Franken, D, appear to be on the path to a recount. Coleman now has 1,211,616, or 42%, of the votes cast; Franken has 1,210,895, or 41.97%, of the votes cast; Dean Barkley, an Independence party candidate, has 437,373 votes, or 15.16% of the votes cast; and Charles Aldrich, a Libertarian candidate, has 13,915 votes, or 0.48% of the votes cast, according to Minnesota election officials.
In Oregon, Sen. Gordon Smith, R, has 586,499 votes, or 47.57% of the votes cast; Jeff Merkley, D, has 574,865 votes, or 46.63% of the votes cast; and Dave Brownlow, a Constitution party candidate, has 68,086 votes, or 5.52% of the votes cast.
One senator of importance to the insurance industry who was reelected today is Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D
Some speculate that Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., could succeed Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the vice president-elect, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Johnson then might succeed Dodd as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.
But Joel Wood, a senior vice president at the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Washington, has written members a note predicting that Dodd will stay at the Senate Banking Committee to help oversee a comprehensive overhaul of federal financial services efforts.
Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., a member of the Senate Banking Committee, was defeated for reelection.
Also defeated was Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., who joined with Johnson to sponsor a bill that could create a federal charter option for insurers. He left the banking panel earlier this year to become a member of the Senate Finance Committee.
Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., chairman of the Capital Markets Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, another lawmaker of interest to insurers, has been facing a strong challenge from Lou Barletta.