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Amodei beats Marshall for House seat in Nevada special election

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • The two vied to fill a U.S. House seat vacated by former Rep. Dean Heller
  • Heller was tapped to fill the Senate seat of John Ensign, who admitted to an affair and resigned
  • Nevada's 2nd Congressional District has been represented by a Republican since 1983

(CNN) -- Republican Mark Amodei defeated Democrat Kate Marshall to win a House seat vacated after a senator's admitted affair and resignation.

In a special election held Tuesday, Amodei won about 58% of the votes to represent Nevada's 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives; Marshall garnered 36% of the votes, according to unofficial results with 100% of precincts reporting.

Amodei takes the place of former Rep. Dean Heller, who was appointed to replace former Republican Sen. John Ensign. Ensign resigned from the Senate in May amid an ethics investigation after he acknowledged an affair with a staffer's wife.

Both the Amodei and Marshall campaigns centered on tying the opposing candidate to Washington. By doing that, this election became a referendum, if just applicable to northern Nevada, on who in Washington is more tainted in the eyes of voters.

Amodei regularly tied Marshall with Democrats in Washington, particularly President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

In an ad titled "Echo," clips from the three men are played, followed by Marshall repeating the phrase word-for-word. When Obama says, "Yes we can," Marshall then comes up on screen saying the same thing. The ad finishes by calling Marshall a "rubber stamp."

Another ad tries a similar tactic. With pictures of Obama, Biden and Reid on screen, Amodei says, "We were promised recovery. We've been given misery. Let's get Washington's attention."

Marshall, on the other hand, tried to link Amodei with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and his plan to privatize Medicare for anyone younger than 55. In an ad that ran in August, Marshall charged that Amodei had called Ryan's plan "excellent."

"Amodei thinks it's excellent to give seniors a voucher, double their out of pocket costs and give tax breaks to millionaires," says the ad narrator.

During their debates, Marshall tried the same attack, saying that Amodei would reduce Social Security and Medicare benefits if sent to Washington.

"I stand firm to keep Social Security and Medicare," Marshall said during a debate. "Mr. Amodei doesn't agree with me."

Nevada's 2nd Congressional District, created on January 3, 1983, has never been represented by a Democrat.

CNN's Dan Merica contributed to this report.