UPDATE 11/3/10 @ 1:20PM
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- There were strong attacks across the country in the battle for control of Congress, with some of the strongest battle cries in southern West Virginia.
But, within a couple of hours of polls closing Tuesday night, Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall was projected to have won the race to retain his seat in West Virignia's 3rd Congressional district.
Rahall was in a fierce contest against Republican Spike Maynard, former chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
Much of this campaign was about perceived voter anger, frustration and doubts that led to some serious attacks from both Maynard and Rahall over the last few weeks.
But on Election Day, voters elected Rahall to his 18th term in Congress. He commended Maynard for the fighting hard in the race.
Most of Rahall’s challengers have not come as close as Maynard did to winning. His closest races were in 1976 and 1990.
Congress is now divided with a Republican House of Representatives and a Democratically controlled Senate, but Rahall says it doesn't necessarily mean gridlock.
“I believe you'll see a greater reaching out. And, I think you'll see the Republicans recognizing that now that they are in charge, there comes a certain calmness. It's much more difficult to govern than it is to be on the outside throwing the bombs in,” Rahall said.
Shortly after the race was called for Rahall, he got a phone call from President Barack Obama congratulating him.
Rahall shared with the president his concerns about how outside groups were able to spend money in this election cycle, and said they still have a lot of work to do on the unemployment issue.
Maynard did not attend any Election Day festivities and was not available for comment.
Even with this loss, Republicans say they were glad to see Maynard gaining so much support and running a campaign that had many questioning the future of Rahall’s seat.
West Virginia GOP chair Mike Stuart says there's a lot Maynard could have brought to the table.
“I think common sense. I will say that he's a friend of coal, and I would have loved to have seen somebody like Spike Maynard fighting for West Virginia jobs the way Spike Maynard cares for West Virginia jobs,” Stuart said.
Stuart says Rahall "escaped this time," and that Republicans are already planning their strategies for 2012.
With 570 out of 614 precincts reporting (93 percent), Rahall had 56 percent of the vote to Maynard's 44 percent.
Keep clicking here at WSAZ.com for more information on this developing story.