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Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin helps Democrats retain US Senate seat (+video)

Former US Rep. Tammy Baldwin becomes the first openly gay member of the US Senate after defeating former Gov. Tommy Thompson.

Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin wins US senate seat
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Former US Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) of Wisconsin was elected to the US Senate Tuesday, keeping in Democratic hands a seat that was once key to the Republican strategy of gaining a Senate majority.

At press time, Ms. Baldwin was leading Republican Tommy Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor, 51 to 47 percent with 79 percent of districts reporting. Baldwin will replace former Democratic Senator Herb Kohl, who is retiring after five terms.

“Tonight we have won a huge victory for Wisconsin’s middle class,” Baldwin declared to supporters in Madison in her victory speech. “The people's voice was heard tonight, Wisconsin, and come January, your voice will be heard in the United States Senate.... I will be a senator for all Wisconsin.”

Baldwin was considered a lock for the seat until last month when a surge by Mr. Thompson in the polls put both candidates in a dead heat. The amount of outside money that flowed into the state was unprecedented; according the Federal Election Commission, independent groups on both sides of the aisle spent a total of $23.2 million on the race. By comparison, in the 2010 election between newcomer Ron Johnson and US Sen. Russ Feingold, independent groups spent just $3 million.

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