Pat Toomey Wins U.S. Senate Race

It’s a big win for the Republican Party in the most expensive Senate race in history.

Sen. Patrick Toomey, speaks to reporters outside his office in Washington on April 12, 2016.

Sen. Patrick Toomey, speaks to reporters outside his office in Washington on April 12, 2016.

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey has fought off a challenge from Katie McGinty and will return to the U.S. Senate for a second term, according to the Associated Press. As of 1:15 a.m., with 98 percent of precincts reporting, Toomey was up 2,797,095 votes to McGinty’s 2,710,775.

Toomey, who served in the U.S. House of Representative from 1999 to 2005, won his Senate seat in 2010 with a narrow victory over Democrat Joe Sestak. This year, the Democratic Party poured everything it had into McGinty’s campaign, helping her beat two opponents in the primary and making the Pennsylvania race one of the most closely watched — and most expensive — in the country. Toomey’s win will be a major relief for Republicans.

The race for Senate was close from start to finish, even as Hillary Clinton held a fairly solid lead over Donald Trump in the state polls for the last few months (though those polls now appear to have been wrong and misleading). Donors and interest groups on both sides poured millions into TV ads attacking McGinty for supposed ethical lapses and Toomey for his ties to Wall Street and the finance industry. And yet, for all that, neither campaign was able to turn the race into much more than a referendum on the presidential race.

Toomey notably refused to say which presidential candidate he would vote for, doing his best to embody what he saw as the dilemma of the modern Pennsylvania voter, unable to choose between two flawed candidates. But his non-endorsement of Trump was always a coy sort of game. He’d made it clear for months that Clinton was an “unacceptable” candidate, while he merely had disagreements with Trump. An hour before the polls closed, he finally told reporters that he had voted for Trump.

McGinty, a native of Northeast Philadelphia, was secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection under Gov. Ed Rendell and later chief of staff to Gov. Tom Wolf. She lost a bid for the governor’s office in 2014. Pennsylvanians have never elected a woman as governor or U.S. Senator.

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