WASHINGTON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Democrat Joe Manchin won the U.S. Senate race in West Virginia on Tuesday, beating back a late surge by Republican rival John Raese, NBC projected.
Manchin, the state's governor, won after distancing himself from President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul and winning key support from the state's coal industry.
The victory over Raese, a local businessman, could help Democrats stave off the net gain of 10 seats that Republicans need to win control of the Senate in the midterm elections.
Manchin will fill the seat of the legendary Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, who died earlier this year as the longest serving senator in U.S. history. (Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky; Editing by Frances Kerry)