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Edu-Funding Champion Sen. Murray Re-Elected

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Political junkies have probably already heard the news that Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., prevailed in her very close race with Republican Dino Rossi, and will be headed back to Washington.

Murray's victory is good news for folks that want to see more education funding, and a focus on services such as early childhood education. And she got some campaign help from the National Education Association, the largest teachers' union, which has got to be toasting her victory right now.

Murray was a Senate champion of the edujobs bill, which passed this summer and provided $10 billion to help avert teacher layoffs. And, two years ago, she helped block an effort by the Obama administration and some Democrats on the Senate subcommittee that oversees education spending to shift funding from formula grants for teachers to performance pay programs.

Probably most importantly, Murray is the author of the Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act, the most comprehensive, high-profile reading bill going. It's seen as a potential successor to the Reading First program, which was scrapped after some pretty disastrous conflict of interest claims.

Murray's victory means there's just one Senate race outstanding: Alaska, where Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican who lost the GOP nomination to Joe Miller, tea party-friendly lawyer.

Murkowski ran as a write-in candidate and got the backing of the state's NEA affiliate. So far, more Alaskans voted by write-in than supported either Miller or Scott McAdams, the Democratic nominee. It's not clear yet just how many of those votes are for Murkowski. But, if she takes the seat, that's another win for the union.

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