Democrats pick up first Republican Senate seat: Virginia

November 5, 2008

WASHINGTON – Democrats scored their first pickup in the U.S. Senate, taking the Virginia seat being vacated by retiring John Warner — but that doesn’t necessarily mean Democrats will win the state in the presidential race.

The popular former governor Democrat Mark Warner is projected to beat another former governor, Republican Jim Gilmore, according to the television networks. Gilmore was trailing by double-digits throughout much of the campaign.

Political experts have said that Warner’s victory could help Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama beat rival Republican John McCain in a state that hasn’t voted for a Democrat since 1964.

So far, as of 7:25 p.m., McCain was ahead 61 percent to 37.6 percent but less than one percent of the precincts have reported.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Molly Riley (Warner with his wife at a polling station in Alexandria, Va.)

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