Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell won a third term Tuesday, defeating Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner. "I'm not going back...

Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell won a third term Tuesday, defeating Republican state Sen. Michael Baumgartner.

“I’m not going back to the United States Senate to salute stalemate. I’m going back there to put in economic policies to get our people back to work,” said Cantwell, who drew 59 percent of the initial vote count.

Her priority will be “getting more aviation jobs in Washington state,” she said Tuesday night, adding that voters signaled they want more bipartisanship.

Cantwell built her campaign on job creation and going after anything she believes impedes a fair and competitive free market.

Her re-election seemed virtually assured against Baumgartner, a freshman state senator from Spokane who ran a vastly underfinanced campaign with little official GOP support.

An economic-development expert, Baumgartner accused Cantwell of lacking a plan to balance the budget and helping to double the deficit over the past six years. He also criticized her vote to invade Iraq and to fund more troops in Afghanistan.

Cantwell said she voted for tax hikes on the wealthy to pay for the wars and has pushed President Obama to withdraw troops faster than proposed.

Seattle Times staff reporter Brian M. Rosenthal contributed to this story, which includes information from Seattle Times archives.

Steve Miletich: smiletich@seattletimes.com