SENATE TESTER
Reed Saxon  /  AP
Democrat Jon Tester celebrates with family and friends, including his mother, Helen, right, as he declared victory in his election battle for the Senate seat held by incumbent Republican Conrad Burns.
updated 11/9/2006 1:43:24 PM ET 2006-11-09T18:43:24

U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns conceded defeat to Jon Tester on Thursday, acknowledging that a tight election had gone to the Democrats' favor, Burns' campaign told The Associated Press.

Burns, a three-term senator whose campaign was troubled by verbal gaffes and voter discontent, congratulated Tester, a farmer and state legislator.

"I stand ready to help as Montana transitions to a new United States Senator," Burns said in a statement provided to the AP. "We fought the good fight and we came up just a bit short. We've had a good 18 years and I am proud of my record."

Burns, 71, did not plan any public appearances Thursday, his campaign said.

Burns did not give any indication of what he plans to do now, though he indicated he was looking forward to taking some time off. "I hope there is still a good-sized buck out there, because I am going hunting," he wrote.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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