WASHINGTON (AFP) – Democratic Senator Patty Murray narrowly held her seat from Washington state, cushioning her party’s majority in elections where Republicans made huge gains, results showed.
Murray’s Republican opponent Dino Rossi conceded after the latest official tally showed Murray with a lead of some 46,000 votes, or 51.26 percent, from Tuesday’s ballot.
“This evening, I called Senator Murray to offer my congratulations on her re-election to the US Senate,” Rossi said in a statement.
“I ran for the Senate because I believe we need a basic course correction… That was a message that found a very receptive audience all across this state, though not quite receptive enough.”
The win from the northwest state left the Democratic side with 53 seats, including two who are independents but normally vote with the Democratic caucus — and the Republicans with 46.
One more race remained undecided, in Alaska, where Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski — who ran as a write-in candidate after losing in the primary — was leading a three-way race with 41 percent.
But Murkowski said the results would not be clear until absentee ballots are counted, starting next week. She expressed confidence in winning.
“Our goal on election night was to end up with 40 percent of the vote and a lead of 10,000 votes in order to feel confident with our position heading into the count of absentee and question ballots that will occur over the next couple weeks,” she said.
“We exceeded our goals with 41 percent of the vote and a lead of about 13,500 votes.”
Republicans failed to capture the US Senate but cut deeply into the Democratic majority by picking up at least six seats in a Tuesday’s vote that saw the House of Representatives swing to the Republicans.