Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, who spent a campaign tapping into voter dissatisfaction with the Bush White House and the war in Iraq, won a seat in the U.S. Senate Tuesday, toppling popular liberal Republican Lincoln Chafee, whose family has held the seat for three decades.

With 73 percent of precincts reporting, Whitehouse was seen with 52 percent, or 145,839 votes, to Chafee's 48 percent, or 133,483 votes. Democrats hoped the seat would help them seize back control of the U.S. Senate.

In a state dominated by Democrats, Whitehouse's message resonated: The 51-year-old former state attorney general cast the single-term Chafee as part of a larger failing in Republicans controlling Congress and the White House.

Chafee, 53, was the sole Republican to vote against the war in Iraq and did not vote for Bush in the last election, instead writing in the name of Bush's father, former President George H.W. Bush.

But his party affiliation was too much for him to overcome, with even his own supporters saying they were unhappy with the performance of President Bush and the Republican-controlled Senate.

Whitehouse's last run for political office was in 2002, when he ran for governor and lost in the primary after failing to get his party's backing.

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