Patty Murray won a fourth term in the U.S. Senate Thursday, building an insurmountable lead on the strength of big margins in the Puget Sound. Facing a gap of nearly 50,000 votes this evening, Republican Dino Rossi conceded defeat.
The two candidates were separated by only about 1 percent of the vote on Election Night, but Murray’s vote totals grew as ballot counting continued through the week, and she now has a lead of about 2.5 percent.
Rossi’s campaign held out hope on Wednesday that strong vote totals from Eastern Washington, where he held big margins, and improved showings in Pierce County, where he had a slight lead, would turn the tide.
But Thursday afternoon news organizations around the state began to call the race for Murray and Rossi issued a statement at 6:15 p.m., saying he had called Murray to congratulate her, and conceding the contest:
“I ran for the Senate because I believe we need a basic course correction from where Washington, D.C. has been taking us and to make sure this country is as free, as strong and as prosperous in the future as it has been in the past to preserve the best of America for future generations,” he said in the prepared statement. “That was a message that found a very receptive audience all across this state, though not quite receptive enough.”
Murray scheduled a press conference for later Thursday evening to discuss the victory.