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Republicans have consolidated their power on Capitol Hill, picking up more seats than they needed to gain control of the Senate – and leaving President Obama a lame duck for the last two years of his presidency. The Senate will now be shaped by 52 Republican seats to 45 Democrats after the former gained seven states, one more than they needed to take control. Republican triumphs included key wins in Arkansas, West Virginia, Montana, South Dakota, Colorado, North Carolina and Iowa, all seats controlled by Democrats when the day began. Outstanding races, Alaska and Louisiana among them on Wednesday morning, held further possibilities for the GOP.  They also strengthened their grip on the House of Representatives and when the new Congress takes power in January, will be in charge of both chambers of Congress for the first time since elections in 2006.

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