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After election, McConnell promises end to gridlock and dysfunction

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    On this day after the elections of 2014, the nation's capital city was beginning to take stock of the changes wrought by what the voters said who showed up at the polls yesterday.

    Sunrise found the U.S. Capitol looking much the same in its scaffolding, but many of the people who will fill the building changed overnight.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    The big story of the night: Republicans are closing in on their goal of taking control of the U.S. Senate.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    A Republican wave rolled across the land, handing the GOP control of the Senate and a beefed-up majority in the House. Iowa's Joni Ernst was one of seven Republicans to win a Democratic Senate seat.

    SEN.-ELECT JONI ERNST, (R) Iowa: People ask me all the time what my favorite part of the campaign has been. Well, I think tonight.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • JONI ERNST:

    Nothing is going to beat tonight.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Thom Tillis scored another takeaway in North Carolina. And, today, he said he'd make good on his pledge about Obamacare.

    Sen.-Elect THOM TILLIS, (R) North Carolina: I suspect that there will be a repeal bill that will be sent to the president. I also suspect he will veto it. So then what we will need to do is take a look at things that we can delay, like the employer mandates, a number of the things. If we can delay them and replace them with something more sustainable, that's — that's what we will ultimately need to focus on.

    But I made a promise that I would vote for a repeal bill. I intend to follow up on that promise.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    In Louisville today, the man who is likely to be the new Senate majority leader, Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, focused more on possible cooperation with the White House.

  • SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, Minority Leader:

    The American people have spoken. They have given us divided government. The question for both the president and for the speaker and myself and our members is, what are you going to do with it? And I have already said, I want to first look for areas that we can agree on. And there probably are some. And that's what we're going to be talking about in the next — in the next few weeks.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    McConnell said he had just spoken by phone with President Obama. He warned against unilateral action on immigration, but vowed there will be no government shutdowns or default on the national debt and raised trade and tax reform as areas of potential agreement.

  • SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL:

    We're going to pass legislation. Some of it, he may not like, but we're going to function. This — this gridlock and dysfunction can be ended. It can be ended by having a Senate that actually — excuse me — that actually works.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    To that end, there will be at least 52 Republicans to work with, a net gain of seven. Democrats will have at least 43. There are two independents, and three seats are still up in the air.

    In Louisiana, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu was forced into a December runoff against Republican Bill Cassidy. In Virginia, Democratic incumbent Mark Warner has declared victory over Ed Gillespie, but may yet face a recount. And in Alaska, Republican Dan Sullivan leads incumbent Mark Begich, but votes are still being counted.

    As for the House, not since the days of President Harry Truman has it been so Republican as it will be come January, with nearly 250 seats in GOP hands.

    Voters also delivered stunning verdicts in a number of governor's races. Maryland Republican Larry Hogan claimed a surprise victory in the heavily Democratic state and recapped his win today.

    GOV.-ELECT LARRY HOGAN, (R) Maryland: Even though we were hopeful and optimistic and confident last night, it still — it still was kind of a shock when state troopers showed up at our hotel room and said, we're here to protect you, Governor.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Republicans reclaimed the governor's mansion in Illinois as well, as Bruce Rauner ousted incumbent Pat Quinn. Combined, the two campaigns spent close to $100 million.

    And Republican governors in Wisconsin, Florida and Kansas fended off stiff challenges, giving the party at least 32 statehouses. Along with electing more governors, Republicans made headway in state legislatures. They picked up at least three chambers, the Nevada Senate, the Minnesota House and the West Virginia House.

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