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Murray holds on to Dem Senate seat in Washington

By Gabriella Schwarz, CNN
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Sen. Patty Murray wins in Washington
  • Republican challenger Dino Rossi concedes
  • Alaska is the only Senate race without a winner
  • Murray has 2 point lead with 82 percent of the vote counted Thursday

(CNN) -- Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray will serve a fourth term in the Senate after challenger Dino Rossi conceded Thursday, two days after Election Day.

Murray held a 2 point lead with 82 percent of the vote counted Thursday night.

"This evening, I called Sen. Murray to offer my congratulations on her re-election to the U.S. Senate," Rossi said in a statement.

Murray thanked Rossi for his "gracious" concession in front of a cheering crowd Thursday night in a cramped Seattle pizzeria -- one of many small businesses Murray vowed to represent in the nation's capitol.

"I want to make sure Washington state has what it needs to get back on its feet," she said.

Murray said she would focus on creating jobs and making sure middle-class families get the tax cuts they need.

When asked about health care, she said she would see what Republicans had to offer, but that protecting middle-class families would be her priority.

"I have to really make sure that our families who are suffering so much ... families who were dropped from health insurance companies are not put back in same risk," she said.

Murray's victory gives Democrats 51 seats in the Senate and leaves Republicans with 47. Two independent senators also caucus with Democrats.

No winner has yet been declared in Alaska, the only Senate race still undecided, but CNN has projected that Democrat Scott McAdams will finish third place behind Joe Miller, the Republican candidate, and Lisa Murkowski, the incumbent Republican who is running a write-in campaign.

Washington state votes via mail-in ballots, which makes a close race difficult to call on Election Day.

Rossi, a former state senator, previously ran for governor unsuccessfully in 2004 and 2008. His challenge to Murray remained close until the end, according to recent polls and nonpartisan political handicappers, something that was largely attributed to the anti-incumbent and anti-Washington wave across the country.

Murray is a member of the Democratic leadership in the Senate.