Election 2010
7:58 pm
Thu November 4, 2010

Murray widens lead, Rossi concedes bid for US Senate

Democrat Patty Murray has defeated Republican challenger Dino Rossi after a third day of vote tallying in their closely fought race for the U.S. Senate. In capturing her fourth term, Murray adds to the Democrats' slight cushion in the Senate after Republicans made gains there Tuesday while also seizing control of the House. 

In a statement issued Thursday evening, Rossi says he called Murray to congratulate her. He also thanked his supporters, who he says supported his stands on controlling government overreach and curbing government spending. 

"That was a message that found a very receptive audience all across the state, though not quite receptive enough," Rossi said. 

Senator Murray is leading Rossi by about 45,000 votes, nearly double her lead from yesterday's count. Hundreds of thousand of ballots remain to be counted, but election watchers, including UW researcher Matt Barreto of the Washington Poll, say it would take a dramatic trend for Rossi in the remaining tabulations to overcome Murray's lead. 

Murray's win is one of the few bright spots for Democrats in the midterm elections nationwide. Republicans picked up six senate seats. Her victory is among a few high-profile campaigns buttressing the Democrats strength on the west coast. 

Earlier today, John Kitzhaber made his acceptance speech as Oregon's newly elected governor. Kitzhaber edged out Republican Chris Dudley, and will take the office he once held.  In California on Tuesday, Democrat Barbara Boxer won another term in the U.S. Senate, and Jerry Brown returned the governor's office back to Democrats.

Murray's campaign featured a strong defense of her role in securing federal spending, highlighting specific bridges, dams, highways and other projects she has helped deliver. 

Rossi cast her as a tax-and-spend liberal. 

With reporting from the Associated Press