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Collins wins re-election in Maine, CNN projects


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AUGUSTA, Maine (CNN) -- Republican Sen. Susan Collins won re-election Tuesday against Democratic challenger state Sen. Chellie Pingree, CNN projects.

Collins was narrowly elected in 1996 and faced a credible challenge from Pingree, the state Senate majority leader.

Democrats strongly backed Pingree this year. She was a small farmer and founder of North Island Designs, which markets knitting kits and pattern books. She served as chairwoman of the local school board and on the North Island Planning Board.

Pingree was elected to the state Senate in 1992 and became majority leader after the 1996 elections. In the state Senate, Pingree is best known for her work to enact "Maine Rx," the state's prescription drug program, which will allow the state to negotiate pharmaceutical prices; and the state's college saving account program.

Collins, a moderate Republican, attracted support from health care groups, environmentalists and gay rights advocates, which are traditionally Democratic constituencies. She also led in the polls right up to Election Day.

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