BOCA RATON, Fla. – Following a campaign where he repeatedly stressed that voters want new voices in Washington, Democrat Ron Klein ousted 13-term Congressman Clay Shaw on Tuesday, capping a costly, fierce race for Florida's 22nd District seat.
With 94 percent of the expected vote counted, Klein had 51 percent of the vote, compared with 47 percent for Shaw — helping the Democrats take control of the House for the first time since 1994.
"One thing I heard very clearly, all of us ... we need to work together for a new direction in this country," Klein told cheering supporters afterward.
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Klein had predicted that this midterm election would be the start for "a new generation of leaders in Washington," and both men acknowledged the closeness of this race — one of the most expensive in the country.
After receiving a congratulatory call from Shaw at about 11 p.m., Klein strode in moments later to strains of "Celebrate Good Times," belted out by a local five-piece band.
"Thank you, thank you so much," Klein said.
"We are all here together to thank Congressman Shaw for his 26 years service," he said. "Congressman Shaw offered his services, his staff for a smooth transition. I accepted and asked for his advice as I move through this period."
Shaw's wife expressed relief that it was over.
"Our family has shared him and I have shared him for more than 30 years," said a teary Emilie Shaw, standing by her husband's side as a room full of supporters gathered around them. "And now we've got him back, all to ourselves."