Republican Richard Shelby of Alabama has won a fifth term in the Senate, easily defeating Democratic newcomer William Barnes.
Shelby hasn't faced a serious re-election threat since he first won the seat in 1986, and this year was no different. Based on an Associated Press analysis of preliminary exit poll data, Shelby won easily Tuesday.
The conservative from Tuscaloosa is a persistent critic of President Barack Obama, and he's now poised to gain additional power in the new Congress.
Shelby was the ranking Republican on an appropriations subcommittee while Democrats were in control of the Senate.
The 76-year-old Shelby is a former Democrat who jumped to the GOP when it gained control of Congress in 1994.
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