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Graham wins Thurmond's S.C. Senate seat


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SOUTH CAROLINA (CNN) -- Rep. Lindsey Graham defeated Alex Sanders, former president of the College of Charleston, on Tuesday, CNN projects.

The seat was vacated by the retirement of Sen. Strom Thurmond. His retirement gave South Carolina politicians a shot at the first open Senate seat in the state in 36 years.

Republicans united strongly behind Graham, who faced no primary opposition. Democrats suffered an embarrassingly unsuccessful recruiting season here, finally recruiting Sanders, the self-proclaimed "ninth choice" of party leaders.

Sanders, 63, has a folksy charm that raised an impressive sum, though far short of Graham's totals. But Graham hit Sanders for opposing the death penalty and supporting abortion rights, two unpopular stances in the largely conservative state.

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