Republican Roy Blunt defeated Democrat Robin Carnahan for Missouri's U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Kit Bond, who was not seeking re-election.
Blunt won the race with more than 55 percent of the vote compared to Carnahan's 39 percent, a greater divide than predictions had suggested.
Missouri's new Senator gave a speech in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, surrounded by his family. "I'm honored to get the chance to work for you," he said, according
to a St. Louis, Missouri, newspaper. "This is the time where we're going to decide if we're going to renew the lease on freedom."
Blunt's speech also repeated common themes from his campaign about decreasing the size of government.
As was the case elsewhere around the country, this race focused mainly on Washington. The campaigns pushed two competing narratives, as Blunt attempted to cast Carnahan as "Rubber Stamp Robin,"
someone who would unquestionably support the agenda of President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Carnahan campaign countered by calling Blunt "the worst of Washington
" and claiming he represents corporate interests over those of the people of Missouri.
Both candidates come from well-known political families. Blunt
has represented Missouri's seventh congressional district in the House of Representatives since 1996. His son, Matt, was the state's governor from 2005 to 2009. Blunt formerly served as House minority whip and ran for minority leader in 2006. He lost that contest to Ohio's John Boehner, who is poised to become the next speaker of the House.
, who is currently the Missouri secretary of state, is the daughter of Mel Carnahan, a two-term governor who was elected to the U.S. Senate posthumously following his death in a plane crash in 2000. Robin Carnahan's mother, Jean, was appointed to fill the seat, becoming the first woman to represent Missouri in the Senate. Robin's brother Russ represents Missouri's third congressional district in the House.
Blunt maintained a solid lead over Carnahan in polls throughout the fall. While there were times when it looked as though Carnahan was closing the gap
, Blunt's lead actually expanded by the end of October.
The race was contentious and at times drifted into outright negativity. Carnahan's campaign emphasized
Blunt's close ties to lobbyists, including Jack Abramoff and Blunt's wife (a former tobacco lobbyist), as well as other Washington influence peddlers. Carnahan's campaign has also tried to paint Blunt as partly responsible for the Wall Street bailout.
Blunt was not backed by the tea party movement, but he has tried to capitalize on the national mood of frustration with the Obama administration by associating Carnahan with the president and his allies in Congress. Obama's approval rating in Missouri is lower than it is nationally.
As was the case in other races across the country, this one brought in an unprecedented amount of out-of-state funding. Outside groups spent almost $13 million dollars on the election, with more money going to support Blunt, according to reports
in the Kansas City Star.
Carnahan conceded the race to her opponent shortly before 10 p.m. CST. Even in her concession speech
, she took jabs at Blunt's status as a Washington insider.
"My prayer tonight is that for those we've elected this day -- and I include congressman Blunt in that, I've just spoken with him -- will commit themselves anew to doing better," Carnahan said, surrounded by supporters and family in St. Louis. "Because to me, politics as usual is just not going to cut it. Our people deserve better and it's our job, all of our job, to demand it."