Republicans extended their control of the U.S. Senate as Dan Sullivan defeated Democratic incumbent Mark Begich in Alaska, a race that was too close to call on election night.
Sullivan, 49, a former Alaska attorney general and U.S. Marine Corps officer who served as assistant secretary of state in former President George W. Bush’s administration, led by about 8,100 votes on Nov. 4. Under Alaska law, elections workers had to wait a week before counting the 20,000 absentee ballots.
The Associated Press called the vote late yesterday.
The race was once seen as crucial to the Republicans regaining control of the Senate for the first time since 2006. In the end, the party won enough races on election day to achieve its goal. Louisiana holds a run-off next month.
Sullivan said in a posting on Twitter and Facebook that he’s “deeply humbled and honored” to have been chosen to represent Alaska in the Senate. There was no reaction from Begich, 52, who was seeking a second term.
Begich won his seat in 2008, defeating 40-year incumbent Republican Ted Stevens by less than 5,000 votes. He was the first Democrat to represent Alaska in the Senate since Mike Gravel lost a re-election bid in 1980.
The state, home to 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, is traditionally Republican. Mitt Romney won Alaska in the 2012 presidential election with 55 percent of the vote, and John McCain and Palin won it in 2008 with 59 percent.
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