Democrats appeared almost certain to retain their majority in the U.S. Senate Tuesday, an outcome that would leave a divided Congress that closely resembles the one that has been gridlocked for the past two years on some of the nation’s most pressing issues.

A combination of misfortune and mistakes left Republicans struggling to seize control for the second straight election in which they were early favorites to make historic gains.

The Democrats’ likely Senate victory came as the GOP saw what they thought was sure-bet Indiana slip away. Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly defeated conservative state treasurer Richard Mourdock, who sank after saying that he believed that pregnancies that result from rape are intended by God.

In Virginia's battle of political heavyweights, former Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) defeated former Sen. George Allen (R).

And in Massachusetts, liberal hero Elizabeth Warren gave Democrats’ an emotional win by snatching back the Senate seat once held by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) from Republican Scott Brown.