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Democrat Elizabeth Warren takes the stage after defeating incumbent GOP Sen. Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race, during an election night rally at the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel in Boston, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Elizabeth Warren took back a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts for Democrats after beating Republican Sen. Scott Brown, helping her party hang onto its majority in the chamber, according to NBC News projections.
With 95 percent of the vote in, the Harvard law professor and consumer advocate had 54 percent of the vote compared to 46 percent for Brown, NBC News reported.
"For every family that has been chipped and squeezed and hammered, we're going to fight for you," Warren said in a victory speech Tuesday night. "We're going to fight for a level playing field and we're going to put people back to work."
Warren's projected victory came after a tough, contentious battle against the incumbent, who stunned the political establishment in 2010 when he won the seat held for 47 years by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. She will become the first woman to represent Massachusetts in the Senate.
Warren, 63, had the backing of the president, who tapped her to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and gave her a prime speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention this fall. She cast herself as a champion of consumers, the middle class and women, who overwhelmingly supported her bid, according to The New York Times.
Brown, 53, portrayed himself as a moderate everyman in a state dominated by Democrats.
"You've got no business in politics unless you respect the judgment of people," Brown said in a concession speech Tuesday. "And if you run for office, you've got to be able to take it either way, winning or losing, and I accept the decision of voters."
The race drew national attention for the amount of money poured into it — at least $68 million, according to The Associated Press — and for several flaps that came out of the months-long contest.
It was Warren's speech about the role of government in private sector success that morphed into the "you didn't build that" line Republicans used against the president.
"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own, nobody," Warren said last August, according to the Los Angeles Times. "You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for, you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate, you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for."
President Obama riffed on that speech with his own, which became fodder for the Mitt Romney campaign and led to accusations that he was anti-business.
Warren also came under scrutiny after admitting that she had identified herself as a minority, claiming Native American ancestry in a law faculty directory.