By ANDREW DeMILLO
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Republicans will control the Arkansas Senate in 2013 after sweeping to a majority for the first time since Reconstruction.
In balloting Tuesday, the GOP laid claim to at least 18 of the chamber's 35 seats, giving the party an edge it last saw during a special session in 1874.
Arkansas was the last state in the old Confederacy to never have Republicans control a legislative chamber since the post-Civil War period.
Republicans made steady gains in recent years and closed to a 20-15 gap during a strong GOP showing nationally in 2010. The party will have increased clout when dealing with Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe, who has long enjoyed a high approval rating.
The governor wants to expand Medicaid eligibility under a federal health care law that Republicans generally oppose.
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