Now that the polls have closed and so many hard-fought campaigns have been won and lost, we can pick through the myriad results to find out what happened in the most contentious races of the year. So, did Kelly Ayotte win her Senate seat? For a while, no one knew. The results were tied, but on Wednesday afternoon, the race was called for her Democratic challenger, Gov. Maggie Hassan.
Ayotte has represented New Hampshire in the U.S. Senate since 2011, one of just 20 women in that legislative body. Before serving in the Senate, Ayotte was the Attorney General of New Hampshire from 2004 to 2009. Running to keep her U.S. Senate seat, Ayotte faced off against Hassan, the state's Democratic governor since 2012, who is not seeking re-election in 2016. Also on the ballot was Libertarian challenger Brian Chabot.
In the 2016 election cycle, Hassan tied Ayotte's positions and party affiliation to those of GOP nominee Donald Trump. In the blue-leaning state of New Hampshire, Ayotte was forced to distance herself from Trump's bigotry, and to position herself as a moderate option for her constituents. Ayotte pulled her support from Trump's campaign after the now-infamous Access Hollywood recording of his conversation with Billy Bush surfaced. She announced that she would write in Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's name instead.
Should a recount occur, New Hampshire natives (and interested parties everywhere) may have to wait a while before finding out who the next senator will be. Recounts can be long, involved, and are usually controversial.
A week before the election, Democrats were favored to take back control of the Senate. But as results came in on the night of the election, with Trump outperforming expectations, it became clear that Republicans would hold onto their senatorial power. Of the eight competitive races, Republicans won six. And with a Trump win, the tying vote goes to vice-president-elect, Mike Pence.