Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat who voted to authorize military force in Iraq, easily dispatched an anti-war rival to win her party’s primary on Tuesday.
In trouncing legal-aid attorney Hong Tran, who made opposing the war in Iraq a central issue in her campaign, Cantwell escaped the fate of her Democratic Senate colleague, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.
Lieberman lost that state’s Democratic primary in August to businessman Ned Lamont in a race the focused on the former vice presidential candidate’s support for the war.
Cantwell won more than 90 percent of the Democratic primary vote. She will face Republican businessman Mike McGavick in the general election.
The freshman senator had upset anti-war Democrats with her vote on Iraq and her unwillingness to renounce it, but Cantwell eventually softened her tone and called for U.S. troops to be brought home.
"We need to change the course in Iraq so our troops can start coming home this year," Cantwell said in a victory statement on her Web site.
McGavick, a former chairman and chief executive at insurer Safeco, also declared victory after grabbing 85 percent of the Republican vote over five lesser-known opponents with about half the votes counted.
McGavick, who trailed Cantwell in the polls this month, suffered a campaign setback last month when he acknowledged being charged in 1993 with driving under the influence of alcohol when he failed a breath test.
© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved.