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Tea party picks up third Senate seat in Utah

WASHINGTON (AP) — A third tea party-backed candidate has captured a Senate seat, Republican Mike Lee in Utah.

Lee beat Democratic businessman Sam Granato to join Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Florida’s Marco Rubio as tea party-backed senators.

Tea party activists helped Lee push out Republican Sen. Bob Bennett last spring at a GOP nominating convention.

Republicans who have taken away three Democratic-held seats safely defended one of their own in the swing state of Missouri. GOP Rep. Roy Blunt beat Democrat Robin Carnahan, Missouri’s secretary of state, in the race to fill the seat vacated by Republican Kit Bond.

Republican Sens. David Vitter in Louisiana, Charles Grassley in Iowa and John McCain in Arizona easily won re-election.

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