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Pat Toomey wins Pa. Senate race, likely giving GOP the majority

By Amy R. Connolly and Eric DuVall
Pat Toomey wins Pa. Senate race, likely giving GOP the majority
Pennsylvania Republican incumbent Pat Toomey, seen here in 2011, beat Democratic challenger Katie McGinty in a tight race for U.S. Senate in a pivotal state that could Democratic control of the Senate. Photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI | License Photo

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Pennsylvania Republican incumbent Pat Toomey beat Democratic challenger Katie McGinty in a tight race for the U.S. Senate, likely dashing Democrats' dreams of tipping control of the Senate.

Toomey's victory assures Republicans they will have at least 50 seats in the Senate. He defeated Democrat Katie McGinty by 1.5 percentage points.

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The race will go down in history as one of the most expensive U.S. Senate races, with both campaigns spending millions of dollars.

The battle between the two candidates came down to the wire. In the final days of campaigning, a Quinnipiac University swing state poll had the two candidates in a dead heat.

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Toomey, a first-term senator, spent the past months bringing his conservative, pro-business views to voters. He told voters he planned to further boost economic recovery after the recession and bolster business growth by limiting taxation and government regulations.

Toomey kept Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at arm's length in the campaign, refusing to say whether he would vote for Trump until late Tuesday, when he said he did vote for Trump.

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At the same time, McGinty, former head of the state Department of Environmental Protection, portrayed herself as a champion of the working class, saying she would not support tax increases on the middle class. She aligned herself with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a vocal critic of banks, and vowed to halt Toomey-backed legislation that would gut the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the regulatory agency responsible for reforming Wall Street practices.

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Pennsylvania Democrats worked in the past weeks to position Toomey with Wall Street executives, running ads saying he ran a bank that used predatory lending practices to force small business owners from their homes and voted against banking regulations. McGinty also seized on her opponent's refusal to say whether he would vote for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

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