top democrat senator defeated

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    The United States Congress's top Democrat, Tom Daschle, has lost his bid for re-election to the Senate.

    The Democrats have also failed to win control of either chamber of the US legislature, according to US television network projections.

    Daschle, arguably the most powerful Democrat in the US Congress, lost the Senate's most closely watched election in a squeaker to Republican challenger John Thune, a former member of the House of Representatives.

    In failing to hold on to the seat he first won in 1986, Daschle becomes the first Senate leader to lose re-election in more than half a century.

    Mr Daschle and Mr Thune spent more than $53.5 million in what was also the Senate's most expensive and bitterly contested race.

    Although a long-time South Dakota incumbent and the state's top politician, Daschle faced a tough race as a Democrat in an overwhelmingly Republican state.

    Republicans made beating Daschle a priority and tapped the telegenic Thune, a former basketball star from the hamlet of Murdo, as their standard bearer.


    Dave R.
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