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Home >> World
UPDATED: 19:46, November 08, 2006
Democrats control House, Senate race undecided
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The Democrats successfully took control of the House of Representatives early Wednesday, while contest for Senate majority hang in balance as the remaining two races in Montana and Virginia were too close to call.

In Virginia, Democrat challenger Jim Webb claimed victory, where he maintained an 8,000 vote lead with more than 99 percent of precincts reporting.

But his Republican rival, Senator George Allen, declined to concede defeat and a vote recount is likely, which means the result will be unknown for several days.

That's the case in Montana, where Democrat Jon Tester held a 4,000 vote lead over incumbent Republican Senator Conrad Burns with 81 percent of precincts reporting.

The Democrats have won control of the 435-seat House for the first time since 1994. The win will clear the way for Nancy Pelosi, Democrats' leader in the House of Representatives, to become the country's first female House speaker.

"From sea to shining sea, the American people voted for change, " Pelosi declared at the headquarter of the Democrats late Tuesday.

"Tonight is a great victory for the American people. Today the American people voted for change, and they voted for Democrats to take our country in a new direction," Pelosi said.

Earlier, the White House acknowledged that the Democrats would control the House of Representatives.

"We believe Democrats will have control of the House, and look forward to working with Democratic leaders on the issues that remain foremost on the agenda, including winning the war in Iraq and the broader war on terror and keeping the economy on a growth path," White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

In the Senate race, the Democrats have grabbed four seats from the Republicans but not enough yet to take over the Senate.

Democratic challenger Sheldon Whitehouse defeated his GOP rival, incumbent Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and the Democrats have also captured Senate seats from the Republicans in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In Ohio, Democrat Sherrod Brown defeated two-term Republican Senator Mike DeWine in a race abandoned by the Republican Party. While in Pennsylvania, Democrat Bob Casey defeated his Republican rival, incumbent Senator Rick Santorum.

On early Wednesday Democrat Claire McCaskill won a key Senate seat in Missouri after the Republican incumbent Jim Talent conceded defeat.

The Democrats need to win another two seats from the Republicans to take control of the 100-member Senate, including one in Virginia which may not be announced for several days, while the Republicans just need one to maintain a majority. A total of 33 Senate seats will be decided in Tuesday's and Wednesday's legislative elections.

In the race for governors, the Democrats have gained six governors' seats from the Republicans, although former Hollywood action star Arnold Schwarzenegger easily won re-election.

Democrats scored wins in the previously Republican-held states of Arkansas, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio.

The Democrats' win in the House of Representatives will surely put pressure on the Bush administration on a wide range of issues, especially on the Iraq war, as more and more people have expressed discontent over the handling of the Iraq war by the Bush administration.

"There's not a lot we can do to actually force the president to leave Iraq, but ultimately we can have some influence and I think you'll see certainly an attempt by Democrats to change the direction," Democrats' leader Howard Dean told CNN.

The unpopular Iraq war, the Republicans' scandals in the Capitol Hill and the declining approval rating for U.S. President George W. Bush are considered the main factors to drive voters to turn to the Democrats, according to polls conducted by U.S. media.

Source: Xinhua

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