The Republicans' odds of retaking both houses of Congress just got a lot dimmer: Democrat Joe Manchin has won the race for the West Virginia Senate seat once held by Robert Byrd.

With Republican businessman John Raese's loss, Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight dropped GOP chances of getting 51 Senate votes to 2 percent. Still, Democrats can't be too smug about this victory, given that Manchin went so far as to shoot (literally, with a gun) his party's energy bill with a gun in campaign ads.

Prediction: Within a year or so - Manchin becomes Zell Miller v2.0. #WVSen #tcotless than a minute ago via Chromed Bird

Democrats will hold the Senate. RT @NBCNews NBC News projects Joe Manchin (D) as projected winner in West Virginia Senate.less than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

Major win for the Dems, keeping Robert Byrd's former seat -- as CNN projects Joe Manchin winner in West Virginia Senateless than a minute ago via web

CNN declares Manchin winner of W.V. Senate race. Prelude to more good news for Dems or isolated victory? #vote2010 #RedNov #Decision2010less than a minute ago via Twitter for iPhone

W VA coal miners need a lame duck pension bailout. Miners' union underwater 1 worker to 12 retirees. That's why they voted in Manchin.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Manchin wins #WVSEN. Now every Dem in 2012 will shoot pieces of Obama’s legislative agenda with a rifle. Surefire victory than a minute ago via HootSuite