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McConnell Declared Winner of Kentucky Senate Race

Alix Mattingly

Sen. Mitch McConnell has been reelected and is closing in on his goal of becoming the majority leader of the U.S. Senate.

McConnell defeated Secretary of State Allison Lundergan Grimes quickly, with the Associated Press calling the race for McConnell at about 7 p.m., just as polls closed in the western part of the state.

“Secretary Grimes ran a spirited campaign, she won a lot of votes and she won my respect,” McConnell said during his victory speech Tuesday night.  “This was certainly a hard fought contest.”

This means Sen. McConnell will serve as U.S. Senator for six more years.  He was first elected as senator in 1985.

In his victory speech at the Marriott East in Louisville, Sen. McConnell made a pledge to constituents that their voice would "be heard in Washington."

"Too many in Washington have forgotten that their job is to serve," McConnell said.  "Tomorrow the papers will say that I’ve won this race, but the truth is tonight we begin another one, one that is far more important than mine and that is the race to turn this country around." 

Meanwhile, at the Grimes event in Lexington, the mood remained upbeat as news of McConnell's victory trickled in.

"While tonight didn't bring us the result that we had hoped for, this journey, the fight for you, it was worth it," Grimes told the crowd. "I will continue to fight for the Commonwealth of Kentucky each and every day.”

Original post:

It was one of the most closely-watched Senate races in the nation. Many political observers described it as a fight for Sen. Mitch McConnell's political life.

But it didn't take long after the polls closed for the Louisville Republican to win a sixth term in the Senate.

McConnell was declared the winner in his re-election battle with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes almost as soon as the polls closed in the central time zone at 6 p.m.

With about 86 percent of votes counted, McConnell was leading Grimes 55-41 percent, with Libertarian David Patterson taking nearly three percent of the vote.

McConnell and Republicans will now be watching election returns from the rest of the country to see which party will control the U.S. Senate in 2015. If Republican take control of the chamber, as many political analysts have predicted, McConnell will become Senate Majority Leader.

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