Updated at 11:25 p.m.
Democrat Suzanne Bonamici will be the next member of Congress from Oregon's 1st District, filling the seat previously held by former Democratic Rep. David Wu.
The Associated Press has called the all-mail special congressional election for Bonamici. With 68 percent of precincts counted, Bonamici, formerly a state senator, led Republican Rob Cornilles 54 percent to 39 percent.
Though the campaign was rocky at times and negative for long stretches, victory was rarely in doubt for Bonamici. Democrats hold a significant registration edge (42 percent to 30 percent Republican, with the remainder unaffiliated with either major party) in the district and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee invested over $1 million in the race to avoid another special election surprise along the lines of last year's upset GOP victory in New York's 9th District, Anthony Weiner's old seat. The National Republican Congressional Committee never offered similar support to Cornilles.
A Cornilles internal poll two weeks ago showed the Republican pulling closer to Bonamici, but public polling suggested the Democrat was maintaining a healthy lead on her rival. That perception was reinforced last week when Cornilles went negative, and Bonamici went positive, in their final television ads.
"Congresswoman-elect Suzanne Bonamici is a champion for Oregon middle class families, consumers, and seniors and House Democrats look forward to welcoming her to Congress," said DCCC Chairman Steve Israel in a statement. "She will solve problems and stand up for the middle class instead of billionaires and Big Oil and help reignite the American dream."
The special election was triggered in August when Wu resigned from Congress following a string of revelations about erratic behavior, capped by allegations of sexual misconduct from the teenaged daughter of a Wu campaign donor. Cornilles, who ran against Wu in 2010, and Bonamici won the ensuing primaries by commanding margins and immediately set into each other with barrages of attacks.
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