King has resolutely refused to say which party he'd side with if elected. But members of both parties have indicated that they expect the former Democratic governor and Obama supporter to align with Democrats. One factor could be the million-plus dollars that Republican-leaning groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's organization spent on ads criticizing King.
The arithmetic was daunting for Democrats at the start of the election cycle — they had to defend 23 seats to the GOP's 10. Further complicating the calculation were Democratic retirements in Virginia, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Hawaii, Nebraska and New Mexico as well as the retirement of Lieberman.
Republicans had to deal with retirements in Arizona and Texas in addition to Maine.
Democrats and Republicans in a dozen states faced an onslaught of outside money that financed endless negative commercials and ugly mailings that left voters exasperated. The record independent spending — $50 million in Virginia and $40 million in Wisconsin in addition to $33 million in Ohio — reflected the high-stakes fight for the Senate.