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Oregonian Calls Merkley the Winner

State Speaker Jeff Merkley (D) has defeated Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), according to the Oregonian.

With more than 80 percent of the votes tallied, the Portland-based newspaper called the race for Merkley, who was narrowly besting Smith 691,501 votes to 691,119 votes. Constitution Party candidate Dave Brownlow has received about 79,000 votes.

Smith’s defeat gives Senate Democrats a 57-seat edge with the winners of three contests still outstanding: Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota.

State officials in the Gopher State are in the beginning stages of a mandatory recount to determine the winner of the race between Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and comedian Al Franken (D), while a winner in the contest between recently convicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) is still undecided.

Earlier this evening, the Associated Press reported that the race between Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and former state Rep. Jim Martin (D) was headed to a mandatory Dec. 2 runoff because neither candidate took more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day.

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