Bennet wins Colorado Senate race
By Aaron Blake
Appointed Sen. Michael Bennet has won the Colorado Senate race, taking a very tight contest against Republican Ken Buck, according to the Associated Press.
The Denver Post and other media outlets called the race for the Democrat late Wednesday morning, but AP held out for more ballots to be counted. Bennet declared victory early this afternoon.
Bennet led by just more than one percentage point -- about 15,000 votes -- with 97 percent of the vote counted.
The victory gives Democrats a third crucial Senate win out West, including the reelections of Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). There is no final result in Washington state, where Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) leads Republican Dino Rossi by one percent with less than two-thirds of the vote counted.
Republicans so far have gained six seats in the Senate. Democrats will hold a majority with either 52 or 53 seats.
Bennet's victory was the least certain of the four big Western races. Buck, who rode tea party support to a primary triumph over establishment-favored former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, led in polling through the early months of the race.
But Buck made some controversial statements during the campaign, comparing homosexuality to alcoholism, and positioned himself to the far right on other social issues, as well.
The Colorado Senate race drew more spending from outside groups than any other race in the country, at more than $33 million.
| November 3, 2010; 4:16 PM ET
Save & Share: Previous: The Fix's 2010 Election Winners and Losers
Next: Afternoon Fix: The day after - Sen. Michael Bennet wins in Colorado and Rick Scott wins in Florida; Republicans +60 House, +6 Senate; Pence for president?