Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas coasted to a second term in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
The Associated Press called the race for Moran a little after 9 p.m. Eastern time.
Moran supporters were excitedly passing out stickers for the candidate just minutes after polls in Kansas closed.
Moran’s Democratic challenger, Lawrence attorney Patrick Wiesner, never posed much of a threat. He raised only $35,000 compared with Moran’s $6.6 million and struggled to top 30 percent in pre-election polls.
Moran, a 62-year-old lawmaker from Plainville, may return to a different Congress. As he celebrated his win at the Overland Park Marriott in Johnson County, Kansas, on Tuesday, it still was not clear whether his party would keep its majority in the U.S. Senate. The outcome of the presidential race also hung in the balance.
Speaking to a group of reporters, Moran said he thought national election results may not be clear until late into the night.
“I think there’s just a tremendous amount of dissatisfaction with the way things are in Washington, D.C.,” Moran said. “Particularity for incumbents, people who’ve been in office, there’s skepticism when you have a conversation with Kansans. And I think they want to make certain that you’re something different than what the problem is in Washington, D.C.”
Two years ago, Moran played an instrumental role in wresting control of the U.S. Senate from Democrats. Chosen by his peers to be chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2012, he helped recruit and fundraise for GOP Senate candidates running in the 2014 midterm elections.
Taking on the high-profile, high-pressure position at the head of the GOP’s campaign arm in the Senate was an uncharacteristic gamble for Moran, who has a reputation for being risk averse. But it paid off. Republicans picked up 9 seats and took power in the Senate.
Moran sits on the powerful appropriations committee in the senate, which sets federal spending levels. He also is chairman of an appropriations subcommittee in charge of agriculture funding, and has spots on other senate panels that oversee commerce, transportation, banking and veterans affairs.
Moran was first elected to Congress 1996, when he won election to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Hunter Woodall of the Kansas City Star contributed to this report.