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Stabenow Wins Michigan Senate Race

November 8, 2000

DETROIT (AP) _ Republican incumbent Spence Abraham tumbled out of the U.S. Senate after a single term, defeated Tuesday by Democrat Debbie Stabenow. She is the first woman elected to the Senate from Michigan.

With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Stabenow led by about 32,800 votes. She had 49 percent to Abraham’s 48 percent.

Abraham and Stabenow spent more than $18 million _ the most expensive campaign in Michigan history _ in a fight that drew national attention as Republicans fought to hold onto their majority in the U.S. Senate.

Abraham, a former state GOP chairman from Auburn Hills who never held elected office until his 1994 Senate election, was considered one of the GOP’s most vulnerable candidates.

Stabenow, a 25-year veteran of political campaigns, had name recognition that gave her a bigger edge than most challengers. The Democrat from Lansing served four years in Congress, 16 years as a state lawmaker and ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 1994.

Abraham and Stabenow had significant differences over taxes, education and patients’ rights. In ads and campaign speeches, they most frequently highlighted their opposing plans for enlarging coverage of prescription drugs.

Stabenow favored adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare and charging seniors a monthly fee to use it. Abraham called that a ``big government″ plan and supported letting private companies manage drug coverage through contracts with the government.

The two stayed close in the polls all spring, but Abraham quickly surpassed Stabenow in fund raising. Federal records show Abraham spent $11.6 million as of Oct. 18, compared with $6.7 million spent by Stabenow.

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