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Coleman wins Minnesota Senate race


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ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) -- Republican Norm Coleman defeated Walter Mondale, a former vice president and senator who replaced the late Sen. Paul Wellstone on the Minnesota ballot Tuesday, CNN projected.

Mondale entered the closely contested race after Wellstone was killed in a plane crash October 25 along with his wife, daughter, three staff members and two crew members.

Mondale was vice president during the Carter administration and served as a senator from Minnesota from 1964 to 1976. He also served as ambassador to Japan during the Clinton administration.

Before his death, Republicans hoped to defeat Wellstone, one of the Senate's most liberal Democrats, by lambasting him for breaking his pledge to serve only two terms.

Republicans recruited Coleman, the former mayor of St. Paul. Aided by the White House -- of which Wellstone was a frequent critic -- Coleman kept pace with Wellstone in the money chase, and polls showed the two men were locked in a close race before Wellstone's death.

Wellstone won his Senate seat in 1990 by beating Republican Sen. Rudy Boschwitz, the only challenger that year to unseat an incumbent. He beat Boschwitz in a highly touted rematch six years ago.

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