Hillary Takes New York; GOP Gains Nevada, Virginia

July 7, 2008 - 7:27 PM

(CNSNews.com) - Democrats were able to hold on to the New York Senate seat vacated by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who is retiring. After a close race that caught international attention, first lady Hillary Clinton defeated Republican Congressman Rick Lazio for the Senate seat, making her the first sitting first lady to win or run for elected office.

In Nevada, former Republican Rep. John Ensign beat Democrat Ed Bernstein for the state's U.S. Senate seat, giving the GOP its first Nevada Senate seat since 1988.

Ensign's victory was a pick-up for Republicans, after Democratic Senator Richard Bryan decided not to seek re-election.

In Virginia, Republican George F. Allen ousted two-term incumbent Sen. Chuck S. Robb. Early returns show Allen, the former governor, with a 54 - 46 percent lead.

In the final day of a hard-fought campaign, the Republican and Democratic parties each invested more than $2 million in what they called the biggest get-out-the-vote operations in Virginia history. Robb, 61, called Allen, 48, an extremist. Allen called Robb a captive of Washington.

In Connecticut, Democratic vice presidential contender Joe Lieberman won a third term as the U.S. Senator, beating his Republican challenger, Waterbury Mayor Phillip Giordano.

Connecticut law allows Lieberman to run for vice president and senator at the same time. Similar dual races were previously run by Lyndon Johnson in 1960 and Lloyd Bentsen in 1988.

If Democrats Al Gore and Lieberman win the presidential race, it falls to Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland to appoint a replacement to fill the Senate seat until a special election is held in 2002.

Rowland told wire services he is considering Republican Rep. Nancy Johnson for the position. Johnson, a former teacher, served six years in the Connecticut Senate before winning a congressional seat in 1982.

In a tight race, first-term Republican Senator Rick Santorum defeated Democratic challenger Ron Klink, a four-term congressman, in Pennsylvania's U.S. Senate race.

In Michigan, with 20 percent of precincts reporting, Republican incumbent Senator Spence Abraham is leading Democratic challenger Rep. Debbie Stabenow by 56 percent to 44 percent.

In a major upset for Republicans, Democratic Governor Thomas Carper unseated incumbent Republican Senator William Roth by a projected 54 percent to 46 percent, in Delaware's U.S. Senate contest.

Roth's age - he is 79 - was an important underlying issue to voters, especially after the sixth-termer and chairman of the powerful Finance Committee fell twice during campaign appearances.

In last-minute campaigning, Carper, the state's outgoing governor, enjoyed the support of former Texas Gov. Ann Richards and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.