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Two midterm election contests finally end, and Democrats win both

Mark Dayton will become governor of Minnesota and Timothy H. Bishop will retain his Long Island congressional seat after their GOP opponents concede.

December 09, 2010|By Rick Rojas, Los Angeles Times

With the concession of two Republicans on Wednesday, the remaining undecided races for the House of Representatives and for governors nationwide ended with a small boost for Democrats after the walloping the party took in November.

In New York, businessman Randy Altschuler exited the final outstanding race in the House, returning the seat to the incumbent, Democratic Rep. Timothy H. Bishop, who was first elected to the post in 2002.

Bishop had just a 263-vote lead over Altschuler for the district representing the eastern tip of Long Island. Altschuler decided against forcing a hand recount of the ballots, his campaign said.

"I will not support such an action as I feel its cost will place an unnecessary burden on the taxpayers of Suffolk County," Altschuler said in a statement.

Meanwhile, a Democrat will become governor of Minnesota for the first time in nearly two decades. Mark Dayton had a 9,000-vote lead over Republican opponent Tom Emmer on election night, and Emmer, a three-term state legislator, wasn't able to close the gap through a recount.

"Minnesotans made their choice, by however thin a margin, and we respect that choice," Emmer told reporters outside his home in Delano, Minn., according to the Associated Press. He decided against a lawsuit to challenge the election results. "I do not believe a delay in the seating of the next governor will unite us or help us move the state forward."

Dayton's win has been hailed as a political resurrection for the Democrat, a one-term senator who returned from Washington in 2007 after deciding not to seek reelection.

Democrats cheered the late victories, which followed a slew of losses amid the sour mood of voters toward incumbents. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Assn., said Dayton's success was "all the more impressive when you consider he won in a tough climate."

In November, Democrats ceded the majority in the House to Republicans after losing 63 seats, and the party has a diminished majority in the Senate after Republicans picked up six seats. Republicans also had a net gain of five governorships this election.

When the new Congress convenes in January, the House will have 242 Republicans and 193 Democrats. In the Senate, there will be 51 Democrats, with two independents caucusing with the party, and 47 Republicans.

The Alaska Senate race remains the only unresolved national campaign, an unlikely situation that pits a Republican against a Republican. Lawyers for "tea party"-backed Joe Miller were in court Wednesday seeking to toss out more than 8,100 votes that incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski received in the write-in campaign launched after she lost the party primary.

rick.rojas@latimes.com

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