By Brendan James
For all its unpopularity, Congress emerged from election night largely the same, with Democrats holding a majority of the Senate and Republicans controlling the House.
Some fresh faces will appear, however, next session: in Massachusetts, Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren defeated incumbent Sen. Scott Brown, confirming Warren's status as a rising star in the Democratic Party.
In Missouri, Democrat Claire McCaskill won a second term in her Senate seat over Republican challenger, congressman Todd Akin. The GOP candidate's remarks on abortion made news this year and appalled many Americans both inside and outside the state. Akin had to give up his House seat to run, so he won't be returning to Washington.
One Democratic victory cost a Republican challenger dearly: Chris Murphy won Connecticut's Senate race, defeating Republican Linda McMahon, former president of wrestling juggernaut WWE. Over two unsuccessful campaigns, McMahon spent $100 million of her own personal fortune to pursue a Senate seat.
Other Democrats also won re-election to the Senate: Bill Nelson in Florida, Sheldon Whitehouse in Rhode Island, Ben Cardin in Maryland and Tom Carper in Delaware.
Also, some history was made when Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) beat Republican Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, becoming the country's first openly gay senator.
Meanwhile, in Tennessee, Republican Sen. Bob Corker held onto his seat. In some other toss-up states such as Montana, where Democratic Sen. Jon Tester faces off against U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, the race is still tight.
Elsewhere, it's been a good night for Independents. In Vermont, independent junior Senator Bernie Sanders has won re-election, while in Maine, former Governor Angus King has won the Senate seat of retiring GOP moderate Olympia Snowe.
Joe Kennedy III was the likely winner of Massachusetts' 4th congressional district, taking over for prominent Democrat Barney Frank.
Michele Bachmann is still fighting an unexpectedly tough race in Minnesota against Democratic challenger Jim Graves.
In Utah's 4th district, one of the last Blue Dog Democrats, Jim Matheson came out ahead of Mia Love.
In Florida's 22nd district, Tea Party favorite Allen West lost reelection to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy, during the concession speech of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Another Tea Party candidate, junior Rep. Republican Bobby Schilling, lost in Illinois' 17th district to Democrat and former journalist Cheri Bustos.
California's 10th district sees a tight race between "Astro Jose" Jose Hernandez, former astronaut, and Jeff Denham, a Republican freshman. Denham held a slight lead with 44 percent of precincts reporting.