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Iraq War Dominates Elections in US Northeast


The war in Iraq was front and center in two of the closest Congressional races in the northeast region of the United States. But, as correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports from VOA's New York Bureau, the final results are mixed.

Two tight races dominated election coverage in the northeastern states. In New Jersey, Democratic Senator Robert Menendez beat back a strong challenge from Republican Tom Kean Junior, the son of a popular former governor. Menendez was a member of the House of Representatives when New Jersey Governor John Corzine picked him to complete the Senate term Corzine left to become governor in December. Menendez called a vote for Kean, a vote for the "Bush agenda."

In Connecticut, Senator Joseph Lieberman fought for a fourth term, running as an independent after losing the Democratic nomination to anti-war Democrat Neil Lamont. Lieberman's campaign, which played down his support for the war in Iraq and focused on Lamont's inexperience, paid off at the polls.

"I am Joe Lieberman and I approve of this election," he said. "And not only that, I deeply appreciate this election."

Lieberman says he will be a Democrat in all but name. Preliminary voter breakdowns indicate he received more votes from Republicans than Democrats, although he did best among independents.

The biggest name in New York politics, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, coasted to a second term victory, easily beating a little-known Republican opponent.

"I thank all of you," she said. "I thank you for walking the precincts, for phoning your friends, for making this wonderful victory possible.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer swept to an expected victory to be elected the states' first Democratic governor in 12 years.

The Democrats also gained a Senate seat in the state of Rhode Island, where Sheldon Whitehouse, a former state attorney general, beat moderate Republic Lincoln Chaffee, who voted against the war Iraq. One voter survey found 62 percent of Rhode Island voters approved of Chaffee's performance, but 72 percent opposed the war in Iraq.

And the state of Massachusetts made a bit of history electing its first African American Governor, Deval Patrick. Massachusetts voters also re-elected Senator Edward Kennedy to a seventh full term.

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