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Hassan Declared Winner In NH Senate Race; Ayotte Concedes

CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) - New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan has been named the winner in the very close U.S. Senate race, unseating incumbent republican Senator Kelly Ayotte.

Read: NH Election Results

At a hastily arranged press conference Wednesday morning Hassan was already looking ahead to working with a Republican President and Congress. "It's up to all of us elected leaders and citizens now to come together and focus on common challenges and our common opportunities," Hassan said.

NH senate race
Hassan leads by a slim margin with 100 percent of precincts reporting. (WBZ-TV)

She wasn't waiting for a final tally from Secretary of State Bill Gardner, already seeing the numbers in her favor. By mid-afternoon a slim margin of 1,023 votes had been confirmed turning the senate seat from Republican to Democrat.

"This is less than one percent. It's one tenth of one percent," according to Gardner.

There was speculation throughout the day that Ayotte would seek a recount, but just before 5:00 p.m. she conceded the race saying she called Hassan to congratulate her. "This is a critical time for New Hampshire and our country, and now more than ever we need to work together to address our challenges," Ayotte said in a statement.

maggie hassan and Kelly Ayotte
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan and Sen. Kelly Ayotte. (WBZ-TV)

Still some Ayotte supporters believe a recount would have been reassuring. "Something this close and this important you should not take for granted, ask for the recount," said Alaina Begg.

But Maggie Hassan says she now goes to Washington looking for ways to heal the divisions. "If elected officials follow the example of the people of New Hampshire they'll make good progress regardless of political party," Hassan said.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Kim Tunnicliffe reports

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