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August 06, 2008

Kilpatrick declares victory

Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) appears as if she may survive her biggest political challenge since first elected, as she narrowly leads a Democratic primary rival who made her family ties to scandal-plagued Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick the central issue of her campaign.

Kilpatrick declared victory early this morning, according to the Detroit Free Press.

"I will be your congresswoman,” she said, “and I am honored."

With 71 percent of precincts reporting, Kilpatrick is leading former state Rep. Mary Waters by 929 votes and only 1 point (38 percent to 37 percent). The presence of a third candidate on the ballot, state Sen. Martha Scott, split the anti-Kilpatrick vote and is helping the congresswoman hold a plurality of the vote.

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that most of the remaining precincts are from inner-city Detroit, where Kilpatrick has performed strongest. The early tallies from the more affluent Detroit suburbs showed Kilpatrick finishing in third place. 

Waters is a former Democratic floor leader in the state Legislature and has been working for Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy, who is handling the case against the mayor.

Despite operating a campaign on a bare budget, Waters gained attention after airing a television ad featuring footage of Kilpatrick angrily defending her son at a 2005 rally for his reelection.

Kilpatrick, who heads the Congressional Black Caucus, received high-profile help from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel, among other Democratic leaders, during the campaign.

Kwame Kilpatrick is facing eight felony counts for lying under oath about engaging in an extramarital relationship with his chief of staff, Christine Beatty. The perjury charges stem from a 2007 trial in which a jury ruled that Kilpatrick unfairly dismissed two city employees who were investigating him.

UPDATE:  With all precincts reporting, Kilpatrick had 39.1 percent of the vote to Waters' 36 percent. State Sen. Martha Scott had 24.9 percent, according to AP.