Sen. Allen Concedes Defeat; Dems Control Congress

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NPR Interview

Virginia Sen. George Allen concedes defeat in his close race with Democrat Jim Webb, giving the Democrats their 51st seat and majority control of the Senate.

Resolving the result in Virginia followed a similar action in Montana, where Sen. Conrad Burns conceded defeat hours before. Those two actions made it official: The Democrats will control the Senate in the 110th Congress after picking up six seats.

After final canvassing by Virginia election workers, Webb's advantage had stretched to about 9,000 votes, or one-third of 1 percent; Wednesday night, it had been reported at just more than 7,000 votes.

But in conceding the race, Allen said he would not pursue a recount, citing his respect for the voters of Virginia.

Allen, once thought of as a possible presidential candidate in 2008, has faced many trials in his attempt to be re-elected, as a scandal over his use of a racial slur marred his campaign. He was also criticized by Webb for his support of the Iraq war; Webb is a Vietnam veteran whose son is serving in Iraq.

Confirmation of a Democratic Senate for 2007 came a day after Democratic gains in the House of Representatives. The party now has full control of Congress for the first time in 12 years.



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