Sen. Barack Obama swept to victory Tuesday as Democrats added to their majorities in Congress, but the Democrats continue to lack a “filibuster-proof” 60-vote majority in the Senate.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the Republican presidential nominee, conceded the presidential election Tuesday to Obama, D-Ill.
Current tallies show Obama will have a 252-173 Democratic majority in the House.
At this point, the Democrats have 54 seats in the Senate. They can count on votes from Sen. Bernard Sanders, an independent from Vermont, and a second independent, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, has caucused with Democrats in the past.
But, at this point, moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats continue to have the ability to keep legislation from reaching the Senate floor.
The 4 Senate races where the outcomes are still in doubt are in Alaska, Georgia, Minnesota and Oregon.
In Alaska, Sen. Ted Stevens, R, is leading 48-46.5% over Mark Begich. Alaska reportedly may take as long as 10 days to tally 40,000 absentee ballots that have not yet been counted.
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.
Because Chambliss has won less than 50% of the vote, Georgia law will require him to face off with Martin in a December run-off.
In Minnesota, Sen. Norm Coleman, R, and comedian Al Franken, D, are on the path to a recount. Coleman now has 1,211,642, or 41.99%, of the votes cast; Franken has 1,211,167, or 41.98%, of the votes cast; Dean Barkley, an Independence party candidate, has 437,381 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.
Sen. Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., a member of the Senate Banking Committee, lost her bid for reelection.
Also defeated was Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H. Sununu left the banking panel earlier this year to become a member of the Senate Finance Committee.
One senator of importance to the insurance industry, who clearly was reelected Tuesday, is Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D
Some speculate that Johnson could succeed Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee if Dodd gives up that post to succeed Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., the vice president-elect, as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Joel Wood, a senior vice president at the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Washington, has written CIAB members a note predicting that Dodd will stay at the Senate Banking Committee to help oversee a comprehensive overhaul of federal financial services efforts.
Over in the House, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Pa., chairman of the Capital Markets Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee, another lawmaker of interest to insurers, has fended off a challenge from Lou Barletta. Kanjorski received 52% of the vote.
Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., another member of the House Financial Services Committee and the Capital Markets Subcommittee, lost to James Himes, D, a Rhodes scholar who has worked for Goldman Sachs Group Inc., New York, as an investment banker handling Latin American clients and telecommunications technology clients.