(CNN) – Montana Sen. John Tester successfully fought off a challenge from six-term Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg in a hotly contested race marked by heavy outside spending on negative advertising, CNN projects Wednesday.
Republicans considered the seat a possible pick up in their attempt to win control of the Senate.
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Tester had 49% compared to Rehburg at 45% Wednesday morning, with 83% of the vote counted.
Rehberg, the state's sole representative in the U.S. House, issued a statement Wednesday morning thanking Montanans for their support throughout his campaign.
"It has been an honor to serve the people of Montana," said Rehberg. "The voters of our state have spoken, and I respect their decision. Senator Tester and I share an abiding love for Montana and America, a value which transcends political party or disagreements on matters of policy. I congratulate Jon on his victory in this hard-fought campaign."
As of 11 a.m. E.T. Wednesday, Democrats control 52 seats in the Senate to Republicans 45 seats and two independents.
Meanwhile, Republican Steve Daines won Montana's 1st Congressional District to replace Rehburg.
Life is good. Congrats Sen. Tester.
More excellent news for Romney. The GOPher in that race was polling ahead for most of the year. Oops! Lol
Talk about a dirty contest. Rehberg was awful and the voters hand him his hat.
Go away Rehberg
Obama wins handily.
Dems INCREASE THEIR MAJORITY IN THE SENATE, despite having to defend 23 seats to the GOP's 10.
Dems make inroads on GOP's majority in the House.
CNN and Boehner/GOPers: "Obama has no mandate to govern."
You'll find out soon enough what was missing from your list of 5 things you "learned" from the election, CNN. You apparently just want the lesson to be as painful as possible.
School is now in session.
Republicans are making a lot of noise because they don't people to notice that Barack Obama has twice ran on cutting tax cuts for the wealthy and won.
Let's hope Republicans figure out that the only reason they held on to the House is because of all of the noise they made about spending cuts, not "no new taxes". Two Obama victories means most Americans agree with the President on tax policy.