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Pryor defeats Hutchinson in Arkansas


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LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (CNN) -- Democratic state Attorney General Mark Pryor Tuesday defeated Sen. Tim Hutchinson, the first Republican elected to the Senate from Arkansas since Reconstruction, CNN projected.

Perhaps the most vulnerable Senate Republican this year, Hutchinson's problems stemmed from a stormy personal life (he divorced his wife and married a Senate aide in 2000), a conservative voting record and the relative strength of Pryor, the son of ex-Sen. David Pryor, a Democrat. Hutchinson succeeded David Pryor in 1997.

The race was hotly contested and was the most expensive in Arkansas history, with the candidates spending a combined $20 million in an effort to win.

Pryor played up ties to his father, running a 30-second television ad that invoked his dad's name and image and describes the candidate as "my father's son."

Republicans, who appear to be on the rise here, fought back as President Bush has traveled to Arkansas twice to raise money for Hutchinson, whose brother, former Rep. Asa Hutchinson, is the director of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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