The broadcasting-friendly member of the Senate Commerce Committee loses is defeated by Democratic challenger Jon Tester. GOP still controls the Senate, pending the outcome of the contest in Virginia.
Republican Sen. Conrad Burns lost his job in a squeaker of a race Wednesday, thrust from office due to his own gaffes, his ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a determined campaign by Democrat Jon Tester, a farmer.
Tester’s win gave Democrats at least half the U.S. Senate, but the party still needed a victory in a tight Virginia race to gain control.
Burns, 71, first elected in 1988 as a folksy, backslapping outsider, has been under siege because of his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and because of his own gaffes—including an incident in which he cursed at firefighters.
With 99 percent of precincts reporting Wednesday, Tester had 198,032 votes, or 49.1 percent, to Burns’ 194,904 votes, or 48.3 percent.