(NEXSTAR) — A massive fundraising advantage and a series of narrow polling advantages do not appear to have translated into Democratic control of the United States Senate.
A major blow to Democrats’ chances came Wednesday when Republican incumbent Susan Collins declared victory in Maine after a concession from her challenger, according to multiple published reports. The race had not been called by major media outlets.
The race had been viewed as one of the most likely to tip the balance toward Democrats. Collins was viewed as vulnerable in the blue-leaning state due to her voting record in support of GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump’s policy agenda.
The announcement was matched by an apparent Twitter concession by her Democratic challenger, Sara Gideon.
Gideon had been trailing in the vote tabulation since the polls closed Tuesday. The likely loss adds to a disappointing showing in both the House of Representatives and Senate for Democrats.
Key races in North Carolina and Michigan remained undecided Wednesday, and at least one in Georgia was headed to a January runoff.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said earlier in the day that Trump’s campaign helped his GOP allies, but it’s still too soon to declare victory as state election officials count ballots.
“We’re waiting — whether I’m going to be the majority leader or not,” McConnell said at a press conference in his home state of Kentucky.
In a delicate pushback against Trump’s own premature claims of victory over Joe Biden in the presidential race, McConnell said: “Claiming you’ve won the election is different from finishing the counting.”
McConnell said he felt “pretty good” about the remaining contests. He secured a seventh term in a costly campaign, fending off Democrat Amy McGrath, a former fighter pilot.
Election Night delivered a jarring outcome for Democrats who had devised an expanded political map, eager to counter Trump and his party’s grip on the Senate.
While Democrats picked up must-win seats in Colorado and Arizona, they suffered a setback in Alabama, and Republicans held their own in one race after another — in South Carolina, Iowa, Texas, Kansas and Montana, dramatically limiting Democrats’ hopes to make inroads.
The races attracted an unprecedented outpouring of small-dollar donations for Democrats from Americans apparently voting with their pocketbooks to propel long-shot campaigns.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.