Senate races

Senate races

NRSC pledges to stick with Miller in Alaska

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is pledging to stand behind Republican Joe Miller, who has yet to concede to write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

"The NRSC has been assisting the Miller campaign from day one and we continue to assist his campaign,” spokesman Brian Walsh said in an e-mail. “There are still thousands of ballots left to be counted in the days ahead, and it will be at least two weeks before the write-in ballots will be reviewed, so like everyone else we will continue to closely monitor this race as it unfolds."


Colorado and Washington Senate contests tight, could drag on

The margin separating Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Republican Ken Buck in Colorado's Senate race was smaller than 9,500 votes Wednesday morning.

With 79 percent of precincts reporting results, Buck was clinging to a slim lead in a race that could be headed for a recount unless the Republican prosecutor pulls away — a scenario that seems unlikely, given that plenty of the vote is still outstanding in Boulder County, a Democratic stronghold.

Neither candidate declared victory Tuesday, with both sides expressing confidence that votes still outstanding would break their way.

In Washington state, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) leads by just 14,005 votes with 62 percent of predicts reporting, a margin small enough that it could drag the contest out past Wednesday.

Addressing supporters late Tuesday, Murray predicted that her lead over Republican Dino Rossi would grow as votes continued to be counted.

Just over 54 percent of the vote has been counted in Murray's stronghold of King County in the western part of the state. That's where Democrats expect Murray to make gains.

There is the strong possibility that there are thousands of ballots still outstanding — as long as the ballot is postmarked by midnight on Election Day, it will be counted, so state elections officials will have to wait for outstanding ballots if the race remains this tight.

Rossi is also no stranger to Washington state recounts. He lost a race for governor in 2004 by less than 200 votes after a recount fight made it all the way to the state's highest court.

While the drama is high in both Colorado and Washington state, the Senate majority is already settled.

Democrats ended any hope Republicans might have had to seize control of the upper chamber Tuesday with wins in Nevada, California, West Virginia and Connecticut.


Toomey: Obama is not our opponent, he's our president

Republican Sen.-elect Pat Toomey (Pa.) struck a bipartisan tone in his victory speech Tuesday night after winning a tight contest with Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.). 

Toomey defeated Sestak after a contentious race that saw both candidates try to tag the other with the label of political extremist.

"I want to extend a hand--my hand--to President Obama," Toomey told supporters. "I think it's important that we remember, President Obama is not our opponent. He's our president."

Toomey's gesture of bipartisanship was met with muted applause from backers gathered at his victory party. 

The Republican told the crowd that he stands ready to work with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and "anyone from either side of the aisle who's ready to do the hard work of making sure we can have the kind of growth and prosperity we deserve."  


GOP Rep. Kirk wins Obama's old Senate seat

Republican Rep. Mark Kirk will be moving across the Capitol to the Senate after defeating Democratic state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias for the seat that formerly belonged to President Obama.

Kirk, whose district includes the North Chicago suburbs, survived a controversy about his military record to capture the seat held by interim Sen. Roland Burris (D), who was appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D). The Kirk-Giannoulias race became one of the closest this year, with polls swinging back and forth between the two candidates.


Reid, Angle parties anxiously waiting on final numbers

LAS VEGAS -- Both Nevada Senate campaigns are anxiously awaiting Election Day returns as their supporters remain unsure whether to celebrate or drown their sorrows. 

Sharron Angle and the Nevada Republicans are watching the results on giant projections of Fox News Channel and ABC News at the Palazzo Ballroom.

There are two V.I.P. sections on either side of the cavernous room and a live band is playing periodically. Many in the crowd expressed optimism about their chances, with some dancing to the music early in the evening. 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's party doesn't have a live band or a V.I.P. area in the convention space at the Aria Casino and Resort. There are two project televisions turned to MSNBC and the local CBS affiliate. Chants of "Harry, Harry, Harry" are breaking out periodically when the latest returns, which have Reid leading, are shown.


Toomey captures seat of his old nemesis, Arlen Specter

Pat Toomey has won his race against Rep. Joe Stestak (D) and captured the Senate seat that Sen. Arlen Specter held for 30 years.

The victory is sweet vindication for Toomey who narrowly lost a bitterly contested GOP primary race to Specter in 2004 after then President George W. Bush campaigned for Specter.

Toomey threatened to topple Specter in the 2010 primary after an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 centrist Republicans switched registration to the Democratic Party to vote in the 2008 presidential primary. Specter won the 2004 primary by a mere 17,000 votes.