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Kaine Wins Virginia Senate Seat; Victory Takes Allen Supporters By Surprise

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Democratic senate candidate former Gov. Timothy Kaine, and his wife Anne Holton, right, celebrates his win over Republican George Allen during his victory party in Richmond, Va., Wednesday
AP Photo/Steve Helber
Democratic senate candidate former Gov. Timothy Kaine, and his wife Anne Holton, right, celebrates his win over Republican George Allen during his victory party in Richmond, Va., Wednesday

It was a big night for Democrats in Richmond as Virginia voters elected Tim Kaine to the U.S. Senate and helped President Barack Obama win reelection.

Kaine senior campaign advisor Mo Elleithee started off the night expressing confidence that Virginia would end up out of Republicans' grasp, both in the Senate race and the presidential contest.

"At the end of the day, there are going to be a lot of people, particularly Karl Rove and his friends, who are going to be scratching they're heads tomorrow trying to figure out what went wrong in the Commonwealth tonight," Elleithee said.

That confidence was vindicated. Networks began calling the Kaine/Allen race for the Democrat at around 10 p.m. and soon, Virginia's new junior Senator took the stage to deafening cheers. He took swipes at the large sums of money spent by outside political groups hoping to influence the Commonwealth's choice.

"Our victory tonight proves that it's the number of people who stand with you, not the number of zeroes behind the check that decide elections," he said.

The Kaine/Allen race led the nation when it comes to spending by shadowy outside political groups. Super PACs and other nonprofit organizations who don't have to disclose donors spent $53 million on the race. The race was also the most expensive senate race in the country, costing both candidates a total of approximately $80 million.

Republicans were in shock that George Allen lost his hard fought battle to represent Virginians once again in the U.S. Senate. With all precincts reporting, George Allen received 47.6% of the vote to Tim Kaine's 52.2%.

Allen surprised the crowd when he came on stage. After thanking his family and staff, he recounted his time as governor.

"I've also had the opportunity to serve Virginians in the United States Senate," said Allen. "Now Tim Kaine will have the opportunity to serve Virginians in the United States Senate." With that, some hushed gasps rippled through the crowd. 

"Now folks, it has been a long and difficult campaign. It's also been a joyful one," said Allen. 

Allen offered Kaine his assistance and reminded the crowd that he remains friends with his opponent, a not-so-subtle way of asking his party to put the campaign behind them.

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