GOP gains to give Tenn. new clout in US Senate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee is about to gain new clout in the U.S. Senate following national gains by Republicans in Tuesday’s election.

Republicans succeeded in picking up the six seats they needed to take control of the Senate. That means Sen. Lamar Alexander, who resoundingly defeated Democrat Gordon Ball on Tuesday, is now poised to head the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, while Sen. Bob Corker is set to become chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Alexander, a former governor and two time presidential candidate, said the prospect of becoming a committee chairman in a new GOP majority motivated him to run for a third term.

While Alexander suffered a closer-than-expected primary contest against tea-party styled challenger Joe Carr in August, he ended up beating Democrat Ball by 30 percentage points.