Republican state House Speaker Thom Tillis has defeated Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan after a lengthy, expensive race in North Carolina.

Republicans have now seized control of the Senate for the first time in eight years.

Tillis’ win gives the Republicans the six seats they need for a majority in the Senate that takes office in January.

Tillis’ political career began in 2003 when he was elected to the Town of Cornelius Board of Commissioners, and served a two year term. In 2006 Tillis was elected to the North Carolina House of Representatives, and was elected Republican House Whip in his sophomore year.

The former IBM consultant and onetime architect of the GOP takeover of North Carolina state government defeated Hagan by a vote of 49 percent to 47 percent, with nearly all the votes counted.

Tillis won the race following a bruising campaign in which the candidates and outside groups spent more than $100 million, making it the most expensive Senate race.

Tillis ran on a platform that highlighted the Republican record of legislative accomplishments that included lower taxes and regulations. He and his allies also blasted Hagan for being too closely aligned with President Barack Obama.