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GOP projected to take Georgia Senate seat

Control of chamber likely hinges on few key races


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Senate: Before the death of Democrat Paul Wellstone in October, Democrats had a 50-49 advantage in the Senate. Thirty-four Senate seats are contested.
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CNN projects Republican Elizabeth Dole in the North Carolina race for Senate (November 5)
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CNN projects Democrat Frank Lautenberg in the New Jersey U.S. Senate race (November 5)
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• Full coverage, CNN projections, your Top 10 favorite races and a gauge of the balance of power:'s Election 2002 special report 

• Election results: Senate 

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Republicans defended all four of their open Senate seats Tuesday, kept an endangered seat in New Hampshire and are projected to win a key race in Georgia, bolstering their chances of taking back control of the Senate.

CNN is projecting that Rep. Saxby Chambliss will win and claim the seat of incumbent Democratic Sen. Max Cleland in Georgia. (More on Georgia race)

Control of the chamber will likely come down to tightly contested races in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. Those races show no clear winner.

In Louisiana, where nine candidates are competing, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is projected to fall short of the 51 percent of votes required to win. She will likely face a runoff December 7 with the second-place candidate under that state's unique election laws, which could give Republicans another month to try to capture her seat.

Republicans and Democrats went into the elections holding 49 seats each, with two seat held by independents.

CNN projects that in New Hampshire, GOP Rep. John Sununu will defeat Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen for the seat now held by Republican Sen. Bob Smith, who lost to Sununu in the primary. (More on race)

Also, CNN projects that Elizabeth Dole will win in North Carolina, John Cornyn in Texas and Lindsey Graham in South Carolina. GOP-held seats in all of those states became open when the incumbents retired. (More on S.C. race)

"We'll never forget this night, will we?" Dole, a former Cabinet secretary and American Red Cross president, said in a victory speech in her hometown of Salisbury. "For 14 months, we've been working hard."

Dole claimed victory over former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, with her husband, Bob Dole, the former Senate majority leader and 1996 presidential nominee, by her side. (More on N.C. race)

CNN projects that Republican John Cornyn will defeat Democrat Ron Kirk in Texas to succeed Republican Sen. Phil Gramm, who is not seeking a fourth term.

In Arkansas, CNN is projecting state Attorney General Mark Pryor the winner and will claim the seat of Republican Sen. Tim Hutchinson. The outcome was not unexpected. After Hutchinson was elected on a "family values" platform, he divorced his wife and married a Senate aide. (More on Arkansas race)

In New Jersey, CNN projects that former Sen. Frank Lautenberg, 78, who took the Democratic spot on the ballot in the last month of the campaign after Sen. Robert Torricelli withdrew, will defeat Republican Doug Forrester. (More on race)


CNN also projected victories for:

•Incumbent Republicans Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, John Warner in Virginia, Thad Cochran in Mississippi, Pat Roberts in Kansas, Jeff Sessions in Alabama, James Inhofe in Oklahoma, Michael Enzi of Wyoming, Chuck Hagel in Nebraska, Pete Domenici in New Mexico, Larry Craig in Idaho, Lamar Alexander in Tennessee and Susan Collins in Maine. (More on Maine race)(More on Alabama race)

•Democratic Sens. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, Richard Durbin in Illinois, Joe Biden in Delaware, Carl Levin in Michigan, Jack Reed in Rhode Island, Tom Harkin in Iowa and John Kerry in Massachusetts.

None of those contests affect the overall balance of power in the Senate.

In South Carolina, Graham -- a leader of the House impeachment forces against former President Bill Clinton -- defeated Democrat Alex Sanders for a seat that opened up when 99-year-old GOP Sen. Strom Thurmond, an institution in the Palmetto State, decided to retire.

The Democrats' most endangered incumbents were Jean Carnahan in Missouri and Tim Johnson in South Dakota. Among Republicans, the most vulnerable incumbents were Hutchinson in Arkansas and Wayne Allard in Colorado.

In Minnesota, former Vice President Walter Mondale was called in at the last minute to replace Sen. Paul Wellstone, a Democrat, who died in a plane crash October 25.

The race between Mondale and Republican Norm Coleman was too close to call. Because paper ballots had to be used after the candidates changed, results in Minnesota aren't expected until the early hours of Wednesday.

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