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Talent wins Missouri Senate seat


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ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) -- In a very close race, Republican Jim Talent defeated Sen. Jean Carnahan Tuesday as she sought to win the seat her husband won posthumously in 2000.

"I want to thank all of you again from the bottom of my heart," Talent told a crowd of cheering supporters in St. Louis after Carnahan conceded the race.

Carnahan was appointed to the seat after her husband, the late Gov. Mel Carnahan, won the seat posthumously in 2000. Talent is a former GOP congressman who was defeated in 2000 when he ran for governor.

Going into Election Day, the race was widely viewed as a tossup. With help from Senate Democratic leaders, Carnahan proved to be an effective fund raiser, but Talent also drew plenty of fund raising help, most notably from the White House.

Carnahan was also faced with trying to her vote against John Ashcroft, the senator her late husband ousted in 2000, for attorney general -- a hard vote, considering Ashcroft remains popular back home.

Carnahan's husband was killed in a plane crash October 16, 2000, while campaigning for the Senate against then-incumbent Ashcroft. His name stayed on the ballot and his successor, then-acting Gov. Robert Wilson, promised to appoint his wife to serve in her husband's place for the first two years of the term if Missouri voters elected the late governor, which they did by a three-point margin.

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