US Senator Patty Murray with Obama 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
Washington — Washington US Senator Patty Murray won a narrow victory Thursday, surviving voters' backlash against Democrats and ensuring that US President Barack Obama's party will keep 53 seats in the 100-seat chamber.
Murray, for whom Obama had campaigned, claimed victory over Republican Dino Rossi after three days of tallying, preserves breathing room for the Senate's shrunken Democratic majority. Republicans made inroads there Tuesday and took control of the House of Representatives for the rest of Obama's first term.
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Alaska remains the only remaining undecided Senate race.
Murray's win was secured Thursday as tallies pushed her lead to about
46,000 votes out of more than 1.8 million counted, or about 51 percent
to 49 percent. About three-quarters of the expected ballots had been
counted in unofficial returns.
Hundreds of thousands of ballots still await processing, but an
Associated Press analysis determined Murray's lead would be
At a Thursday night news conference, Murray thanked Rossi and his
family, saying he had been gracious in defeat. Murray said her
priorities in a fourth term will include securing tax cuts for the
middle class and helping the Boeing Company win a lucrative Air Force
refueling tanker contract.
"Now we have to get to work," Murray said. "I want to make sure
Washington state has what it needs to get its economy back on its feet."
Rossi conceded defeat in a statement issued Thursday evening. He also
called on the new-look Congress to focus on the economy and strive for
Murray's campaign offered a strong defense of her ability to win federal
spending, even in a year when economic jitters threatened to derail
that traditional strength for sitting senators. The list of projects she
touted was seemingly endless: Bridges, highways, veterans' hospitals,
dams, port construction and more.
Murray also sought to paint Rossi as a friend of big business, pointing
to his call to repeal the Democrats' new Wall Street regulations.