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Bills can't beat Klobuchar in senate race

Democratic U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar earned Minnesota's first 2012 election night win when news services declared her a re-election victor soon after the polls closed.

The triumph over Republican Rpsemount resident Kurt Bills came as no surprise after she held huge leads in recent polls and one poll showed more than half of Minnesotans did not even recognize Bills' name. Bills struggled to raise money, while Klobuchar put millions in her campaign treasury.

Klobuchar said she won big because "we reached out and found common ground for people in the state."

"I really believe we need more people like that to work for the common ground," she told Forum Communications minutes after she was declared the winner. "It is not always easy. You can make people mad in your own party from time to time."

For much of her campaign, Klobuchar hammered home the theme that she is willing to work with Republicans and Democrats.

Her fellow Democratic U.S. senator was happy.

"Sen. Klobuchar has done an incredible job representing Minnesota in the U.S. Senate, and I'm thrilled that she's won a second term," Al Franken said. "She has always put the middle class first, has been a relentless fighter for our state, and she has a track record of working across the aisle to get things done."

The Klobuchar-Bills race never appeared close.

Bills, 42, often blamed Klobuchar, 52, for lack of budget progress in Washington and said she has not been a leader.

Klobuchar, however, said she was one of the senators who insisted on a debt commission that eventually laid groundwork for the Budget Control Act. She said that law is a framework for a budget, which she said needs to be a combination of budget cuts and raising taxes on rich Americans.

The first term Democratic senator often is mentioned as a potential presidential candidate.

Senators and representatives make $174,000 a year. Senators serve six years, House members two years.