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Coons in Delaware, Rubio in Florida Win Senate Seats

It looks like Chris Coons, the New Castle (Del.) County executive and Democratic nominee, will be the next U.S. Senator from Delaware, the Associated Press projects.

And in Florida, as expected, Marco Rubio, the GOP candidate and a former state Speaker of the House, won an open Senate seat,

Coons is a member of the board of the Rodel Foundation of Delaware, which worked on the state's winning bid for a slice of the $4 billion Race to the Top Fund.

On his campaign website, Coons says that "Housing, health care, crime and poverty all have a direct impact on a child's development and their ability to learn."

Coons beat out Christine O'Donnell, the tea party backed candidate who won a surprise victory over Rep. Mike Castle, a Republican, in the GOP primary. Castle has a long record of bringing the two parties together to make progress on K-12 issues, and his defeat disappointed many K-12 advocates.

For her part, O'Donnell lambasted the Obama administration and congressional Democrats for an overhaul of the federal student loan program.

In Florida, Rubio beat out Rep. Kendrick Meek, a Democrat, and Gov. Charlie Crist, who ran as an Independent. Crist embraced federal economic-stimulus funding, and vetoed a bill that would have made it easier to fire teachers and linked their pay to student test scores. That helped him earn the endorsement of the state's teachers union.

Rubio wants to boost school choice by offering scholarships to low-income students in failing schools. And he wants to see existing Head Start grant funds be used to fund prekindergarten scholarships for low-income children.

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