Saturday, July 24, 2010

Democrat wins key US senate race in Alaska

Veteran Alaskan Republican Senator Ted Stevens narrowly lost his bid for re-election, increasing the Democrats' majority in the US upper house, US media has reported.

Stevens, 85, the longest-serving Republican in the senate, will be replaced by the mayor of Anchorage, Democrat Mark Begich, 46.

As Alaska's division of elections counted the last absentee ballots from the November 4 election. Begich was ahead by 3,724 votes, an insurmountable lead with only a few thousand absentee ballots left to be counted.

During his 40-year congressional career, Stevens had been known for steering billions of dollars in federal funds to his state. But he faced an uphill re-election bid after his conviction last month on charges of hiding $250,000 in gifts from an Alaska company.

Begich's victory brings the Democrats to two seats short of a 60-seat majority in the 100-member senate. It would be enough to prevent the Republicans from holding a filibuster, a parliamentary tactic to delay legislation through endless debate.

Two razor-close senate races remain to be decided.


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