As expected, Bush easily won the state's six electoral votes, outpolling Kerry 62 percent to 36 percent. Incumbent Sen. Sam Brownback (R) was elected to a third term, defeating political novice Lee Jones with 69 percent of the vote. Jones, a railroad engineer, raised less than $100,000 for his bid. Kansas has not had a Democratic senator since 1939.
In the House, Rep. Dennis Moore (D) beat lawyer Kris Kobach after a heated campaign, with each candidate accusing the other of holding extremist views. Moore successfully retained the seat he has held since 1998, bucking allegations that he is a radical liberal while painting Kobach as having ties to white supremacists. Rep. Jerry Moran (R) trounced Libertarian opponent Jack Warner, taking more than 90 percent of the vote, and incumbent Republicans Jim Ryun and Todd Tiahrt won their races.
Bush took Nebraska with a solid 67 percent of the vote. Republicans swept the three House races, with two incumbents easily winning.
The race for the seat vacated by retired Rep. Doug Bereuter (R) was expected to go down to the wire, but former Lincoln City Council member Jeff Fortenberry (R) won comfortably over state Sen. Matt Connealy (D). Fortenberry, a businessman and former Senate subcommittee staffer, is more conservative than his predecessor and was able to ride Bush's strong showing in the state to beat Connealy, a longtime farmer.
Former University of Nebraska football coach Rep. Tom Osborne (R), who led the team to a share of the national championship in his final season in 1997, cruised by challenger Donna J. Anderson (D) to earn a fourth term with 87 percent of the vote. Incumbent Lee Terry (R) also enjoyed a wide margin of victory.
North Dakota (3)
Bush beat Kerry soundly in what is usually a Republican stronghold, 63 percent to 35 percent. Incumbents across North Dakota easily cruised back into their seats, with a Republican governor retaining office and two Democrats holding on to their seats. Gov. John Hoeven (R) had no trouble beating state Sen. Joseph A. Satrom, garnering 71 percent of the vote in a race he was expected to win easily. Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D) got 68 percent of the vote, and Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) won with 60 percent.
South Dakota (3)
Bush handily won the race in South Dakota, taking 60 percent of the vote. The major news in this northern plains state was the Senate race that drew national attention, as Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D) lost to popular challenger John Thune (R), a former member of the House.
Thune, two years after from a razor-thin loss in another Senate bid, told voters that Daschle had lost his connection to South Dakota. The campaign was bitter and included astronomical spending for such a small state -- the two candidates and parties combined to spend more than $40 million, much of it on a barrage of advertising. Daschle finished 4,535 votes shy of Thune's total. Daschle became the first Senate leader to lose a reelection bid since 1952, when Republican Barry M. Goldwater claimed a 7,000-vote victory over Ernest W. McFarland (D-Ariz.).
Rep. Stephanie Herseth (D) was reelected to the state's lone House seat over the same candidate she defeated in a tight June special election, Larry Diedrich (R), garnering 53 percent of the vote. Herseth came to Washington this year after Rep. Bill Janklow resigned because of a manslaughter conviction. Herseth, 33, is the granddaughter of Ralph Herseth, a former South Dakota governor, and becomes the first South Dakota woman elected to a full term in Congress.