Republicans were able to obtain a majority after this year's midterm elections, unseating at least eight Democratic senators, with a runoff in Louisiana this December making Sen. Mary Landrieu a likely ninth and giving the new majority party 54 of the 100 seats. Democrats have held on to their majority in the Senate for the last eight years, while Republicans have held control of the House of Representatives since 2011. McConnell has served as minority leader since 2007.
As majority leader, McConnell will set the agenda for the Senate, scheduling when bills are brought to the floor and voters are taken. During his campaign, McConnell often spoke of his presumed position to leader if he were reelected, and his experience and position were often mentioned by voters on Election Day and afterward.
Lexington accountant Patrick Cox, 48, said in an interview after voting that he initially considered voting for Grimes, but ultimately chose McConnell. "His experience, probably, and his experience in the Senate, that's was probably what made me stick with him," Cox said.
McConnell's Democratic counterpart in the Senate and the current majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, was also re-elected by his party and will serve as minority leader in the next Congress.