Niki Tsongas won a special election to replace former Rep. Marty Meehan.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The widow of the late Sen. Paul Tsongas won a special election Tuesday to fill the unexpired term of Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Massachusetts.
Meehan resigned from Congress earlier this year to become the chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Democrat Niki Tsongas defeated Republican Jim Ogonowski in a hard-fought battle for this Congressional seat in a district bordering New Hampshire.
"Massachusetts voters sent a clear message, they support candidates who fight for their values to provide children's health care and work to end the war in Iraq," Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement late Tuesday night.
Tsongas must seek re-election for her own two-year term in 2008. Had Ogonowski won, he would have been the only Republican serving in the 10-member Massachusetts Congressional delegation. Instead, Tsongas becomes the only woman serving in the delegation.
Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said the close contest showed that Democrats will be on the defensive in 2008.
"Democrats have a reason to worry," Cole said in a statement. "In a race that should have been won in a walk, Democrats were forced to funnel a massive amount of resources and dispatch an all-star cast of liberal icons at the 11th hour in order to ensure victory."
With Tsongas' victory, Democrats hold 233 seats in the House to the 200 Republican seats. There are two vacancies due to the deaths of Rep. Paul Gillmor, R-Ohio, and Rep. Jo Ann Davis, R-Virginia
Ogonowski is a hay farmer who served in the Air Force and Air National Guard. His brother, John, was the pilot of American Airlines Flight 11, which was hijacked and crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
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