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Democrats in Alaska claimed victory Tuesday in their hard-fought election battle to oust scandal-tainted Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the US Senate.
Stevens' rival, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, claimed victory after vote tallies showed him leading by 3,724 votes -- 150,728 to 147,0004 -- with only approximately 2,500 overseas ballots remaining to be counted.
If confirmed, the result will leave Democrats with 58 seats in the US Senate, just two shy of a filibuster-proof super-majority, with the results of senate races in Minnesota and Georgia still to be decided.
"I am humbled and honored to serve Alaska in the United States Senate," Begich said in a statement. "It's been an incredible journey getting to this point, and I appreciate the support and commitment of the thousands of Alaskans who have brought us to this day."
The Stevens campaign was not immediately available for comment.
Stevens, 85, was found guilty of corruption one week before standing for re-election at November 4 polls.
Stevens was on trial for making false statements on mandatory financial disclosure forms he filed between 1999 and 2006 concerning gifts he received from an oil-services firm.