Two Ag Committee Losses Key to Republican Senate Gains

Two key losses by members of the Senate Agriculture Committee opened the door for Republicans to hold control of the upper chamber in Tuesday’s midterm election.

Democrats Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donelly of Indiana lost their contentious reelection bids. Both had voted against confirmation for judge Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court, and both represented largely red states.

Heitkamp was defeated by North Dakota’s at-large Congressman, Kevin Cramer, a Republican who had focused in the campaign on Heitkamp’s Kavanaugh vote and her vote against the Republican tax cut package.

Donnelly of Indiana and his opponent, business owner Mike Braun, both campaigned on their ties to President Donald Trump and traded accusations over outsourcing of jobs overseas.

Those two Democratic losses were key to Republicans winning a Senate majority of at least 51 seats.

Other key Democrats on the Senate Ag Committee won reelection, including ranking member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.