Update, 10:13 p.m.: The New York Times is projecting that the Democratic Party will retain control of the U.S. Senate, but lose the House of Representatives.

Update, 11:37 p.m.: Republican Carly Fiorina refuses to concede during a speech, saying, “This is going to be a long night.” Around the same time, Boxer spoke to her supporters, claiming victory and saying she underwent the “toughest and roughest campaign of my life.”

In the toughest political battle of her career, Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer held off Republican challenger Carly Fiorina and won her fourth term as California's U.S. Senator tonight, according to Fox News and the Los Angeles Times.

Boxer side-steps anti-incumbent anger that's consumed much of the country this election season, and may help the Democrats retain control of the U.S. Senate. The victory also shows that California remains to be a Democratic stronghold.

President Barack Obama campaigned and raised money for Boxer throughout the campaign, making sure the Democrats wouldn't lose the U.S. Senate seat. Experts say such a defeat would have hurt his re-election campaign in 2012.

Republican Fiorina ran as a hard-nosed conservative in a heavily Democratic state with many Independent, middle-of-the-road voters. Political observers questioned the wisdom of running to the political right, saying she would turn off moderates. Those experts appear to be right.

While the anti-incumbent, anti-Democrat mood of the country switched control of the House of Representatives from Democratic to Republican, California voters did not follow that trend and sent longtime Democratic U.S. Senator Boxer, who was first elected in 1992, back to Washington.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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