Democrats, as widely expected, wrested control of the House of Representatives from the Republicans, after 12 years of Republican rule, in elections across the country Tuesday, setting the stage for a series of intensive investigations of the Bush administration by several different House committees.

But it appears Democrats also carried the Senate — radically changing the politics of federal judge-picking as well — and that victory was something of a surprise, even to them. As of Wednesday afternoon, Democrat James Webb had claimed victory in the Virginia Senate race over incumbent Sen. George Allen, but a recount that could take several weeks appeared likely. If Webb is indeed the winner, Democrats will have a 51-49 edge.

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