The national headline of Tuesday’s elections is that Republicans have taken control of the U.S. Senate. This shift means that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will take over as Majority Leader for the 114th Congress and that Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), who won a hotly contested race, will become Senate Agriculture Committee chairman. One of the greatest surprises of the night was the race for New York’s U.S. House District 25. Democratic incumbent Louise Slaughter was not expected to have any trouble defeating Republican challenger Mark Assini, but in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the outcome was still too close to call. With all precincts reporting and a partial count of absentee ballots, Slaughter was ahead of Assini by only about 600 votes. Slaughter declared victory around midnight, but with another 2,800 absentee ballots still to be tallied, Assini refused to concede the race. Slaughter, a microbiologist who gives great weight to food safety issues and is an avid defender of medically important antibiotics, has served in the House of Representatives since 1987. Races aside, there were four ballot measures Food Safety News was paying particular attention to — two city soda tax proposals and two statewide measures to require the labeling of genetically engineered (GMO) foods. Berkeley passed its local measure to impose a 1-cent-per-ounce general tax on the distribution of sugar‐sweetened beverages by a wide margin, while San Francisco’s proposed 2-cent tax failed to reach the required two-thirds majority. Berkeley becomes the first city to impose such a tax after other initiatives in New York, California, Maine and Washington have failed. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015. Voters in Colorado and Oregon both rejected GMO labeling. Colorado’s Proposition 105 failed by a 2-to-1 margin while Oregon’s Ballot Measure No. 92 failed by a little over 1 percent. Ballot initiatives for labeling genetically engineered foods have now been rejected by voters in four states since 2012.