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Alexander wins Tennessee Senate race, CNN projects

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NASHVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) -- Former Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander defeated Democratic Rep. Bob Clement on Tuesday in Tennessee's open Senate race, CNN projects.

Alexander was the favorite to win in the heavily Republican Volunteer State. To win, Alexander emphasized his lengthy political resume and his ties to the Bush administration. Alexander served as education secretary in the administration of the president's father.

The seat became open after popular Sen. Fred Thompson, a Republican, turned the Tennessee political world upside down in March when he announced that he would retire.

Clement and Republican Rep. Ed Bryant quickly jumped into the race. But Bryant drew a tough challenge from Alexander, who also sought the GOP presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000.

Although Bryant locked up key endorsements from conservatives, Alexander easily raised more money and won the primary August 1 with 54 percent of the vote.

Democrats had hoped for an upset, given that 46 percent of GOP primary voters cast ballots for Bryant and against Alexander. But Alexander held a consistent double-digit lead in pre-election polls.



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