The Associated Press declares Democrat Jim Webb the victor over Republican incumbent George Allen in the Virgina Senate race. That win gives the the Democrats 51 seats in the Senate and makes their Tuesday “thumping” of the GOP complete.
WASHINGTON (AP)—Democrats completed an improbable double-barreled election sweep of Congress on Wednesday, taking control of the Senate with a victory in Virginia as they padded their day-old majority in the House.
Jim Webb’s victory over Sen. George Allen in Virginia assured Democrats of 51 seats when the Senate convenes in January. That marked a gain of six in midterm elections in which the war in Iraq and President Bush were major issues.
Earlier, State Sen. Jon Tester triumphed over Republican Sen. Conrad Burns in a long, late count in Montana.
With a handful of House races too close to call, Democrats had gained 28 seats, enough to regain the majority after 12 years of Republican rule and place Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California in line to become the first female speaker in history.
”It was a thumping,” Bush conceded at the White House. ”It’s clear the Democrat Party had a good night.”
Allen’s campaign issued a statement noting that state officials are conducting a canvass of the votes cast in Tuesday’s balloting.
”At the conclusion of those efforts, Senator George Allen plans to make a statement regarding the outcome,” it said.
It had been clear for weeks leading up to the election that Democrats were strongly positioned to challenge Republicans for House control.
But Democats began the year with fewer seats than at any time since Herbert Hoover occupied the White House. Even the party leader, Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, mused aloud at one point that it might take a miracle to capture Senate control.