Cantwell Wins Washington Senate Recount

ByABC News
December 1, 2000, 5:56 PM

O L Y M P I A, Wash., Dec. 1 -- Democrat Maria Cantwell, a dot-commillionaire who financed her own campaign, narrowly defeatedveteran Republican Sen. Slade Gorton, results of a recountconfirmed today. Her victory creates the possibility of a 50-50tie in the new Senate.

Cantwell, a former one-term U.S. House member waging her firststatewide campaign, ousted the 18-year incumbent by 2,229 votes outof nearly 2.5 million cast as the last of Washingtons 39 countiesreported their recount results. The initial unofficial count,reported last week, had given her a margin of 1,953 votes.

It was Americas last unsettled Senate race.

This has been the longest three weeks of our lives, saidCantwells campaign manager, Ron Dotzauer.

Lame Duck

Gorton, who has been mentioned for a cabinet position shouldGeorge W. Bush win the presidency, was expected to concede latertoday. He has no immediate plans other than attending a lame-ducksession of Congress next week, spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman said.

It is absolutely, incredibly difficult for everyone,especially him, she said of the loss.

King County, home of heavily Democratic Seattle, won the racefor Cantwell, giving her a margin of more than 150,000 votes. Thecounty was the last to report results of the automatic recountrequired under state law because election results ended withinone-half of 1 percentage point.

Cantwell carried only five counties, but Gortons big lead inthe less populous areas couldnt overcome his challengers enormousadvantage in Seattle.

Cantwell, 42, will join freshmen at orientation sessions next week.

50-50 Senate?

Her victory could draw Senate Democrats into a tie withRepublicans.

If Bush wins the White House and Dick Cheney becomes vicepresident, Republicans would still maintain nominal control of theSenate even if there is a 50-50 tie. But a protracted negotiationwould likely ensue before the two parties came to terms on theallocation of committee seats as well as staff funding.