Democrats expand Senate grip but fail to win House

WASHINGTON (AP) — As he starts his second term, President Barack Obama will face another divided Congress.

Democrats have strengthened their hold on the U.S. Senate but failed to recapture the majority in the House of Representatives they lost two years ago.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could have a slightly bigger working majority than he has now, but not as big as the filibuster-proof one Obama enjoyed his first two years in the White House. Democrats picked up Republican-held seats in Indiana and Massachusetts while Republicans snatched a lone Democratic seat in Nebraska.

In the new Senate, Democrats would hold a 54-45 advantage if two independents vote with them. The independents are Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has taken the Democrats' side in the past, and the newly elected former governor of Maine, Angus King.

There is still no declared winner in the North Dakota Senate race. Democrat Heidi Heitkamp (HYT'-kamp) says she believes she's the winner over Republican Rick Berg in the contest to replace retiring Democrat Kent Conrad.

In Montana, Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester has held on to beat GOP challenger Denny Rehberg (REE'-burg).

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