Patty Murray Hangs On In Washington State : It's All Politics Democratic incumbent Murray was appealing enough to defeat a well- known and financed Republican who had the backing of a Karl Rove-linked group. She's been very effective at bringing back federal money for projects in her state.
NPR logo Patty Murray Hangs On In Washington State

Patty Murray Hangs On In Washington State

Sen. Patty Murray celebrates with her husband Rob (r) and supporters after challenger Dino Rossi conceded.  Kevin P. Casey/AP Photo hide caption

toggle caption
Kevin P. Casey/AP Photo

It didn't look good for Sen. Patty Murray for much of the midterm election campaign but it does now. The Democratic senator was declared the victor late Thursday in the U.S. Senate race in Washington State.

Murray fended off a very well-financed and highly polished challenger Republican Dino Rossi in a race in which the polls were often within the margin of error. Rossi was well-known state-wide since he had twice run unsuccessfully for governor.

Her win gives Senate Democrats control of 53 seats, including the two independents who caucus with Democrats.

Murray was heavily targeted by the Republican establishment, particularly Crossroads GPS, the group linked with former Bush White House advisor Karl Rove.

But even as an unabashed liberal in an election with a strong conservative wave, Murray remained appealing to enough voters in her state to eke out a win, according to the Associated Press which called the race in her favor Thursday evening.

Joel Connelly, a columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, explains that Murray has been very effective at bringing in money for projects in her state.

An excerpt:

How does Murray work? Well, let's start with a news conference last spring that announced federal bucks for the Mercer Street rebuild. A pundit — yours truly — razzed Murray: Why was the Mercer project a gold mine while the soon-to-close South Park Bridge was getting the shaft?

Come fall, Murray was at the base of the South Park Bridge, having helped secure a $34 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant that was the last piece of funding needed to build a new bridge.