Democrat Tester Wins Montana Senate Seat

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Democratic Senate candidate Jon Tester (right) celebrates his victory with Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

Democratic Senate candidate Jon Tester (right) celebrates his victory with Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democrat Jon Tester claims victory in his closely fought Montana Senate race with incumbent Conrad Burns. With only a couple thousand votes separating the two candidates, a recount is possible. But so far, Burns has had no comment on the tally.

As results of Tuesday's midterm elections are being finalized, the House has gone to the Democrats. Control of the Senate, however, is still up in the air.

Tester's victory over Burns, the three-term incumbent, means that the Senate will either be split, or it will go to the Democrats, depending on results in Virginia's close race between Republican Sen. George Allen and Jim Webb.

But Tester's margin of victory in Montana is razor-thin, which may open the door to a recount challenge by Republicans.

Burns has not conceded, and if the margin becomes even slimmer, he would have the right under Montana law to request a recount, although he would have to pay for the count.

Tester is operating under the assumption that not only is he heading to the Senate, but to a new Democratic majority there. And he says he hopes the new majority will move quickly to make its mark.

At his headquarters, Tester said, "I think the mandate is, take the government back, start empowering the middle class. That's my mandate."



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