ORLANDO, Fla. -

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida has won a third term after defeating Republican Congressman Connie Mack.

The win will go a long way to helping Democrats try to keep control of the U.S. Senate.

The 70-year-old Nelson won even though he was up against the son of Florida's former U.S. Senator. Mack is also named after his great-grandfather, a baseball Hall of Famer.

"I am thankful to the Lord, and I am humbled by the support of the people of Florida," Nelson said.  "Grace and I are grateful for this continued privilege of public service."

Nelson also called for bipartisan cooperation to solve the pressing challenges facing the nation.

“I’d like to say that Connie Mack was my opponent -- not my enemy." Nelson said. "You know, these days the extremists in our political system try to divide.  We need to unify.  So I promise tonight to continue to try and break that partisan gridlock."

The victory continues Nelson's 40-year political career and ends, for now, the political career of Mack. He had been representing southwest Florida in Congress.

Nelson portrayed himself as a moderate during the campaign while Mack tried to tie Nelson to President Barack Obama by noting his votes for the stimulus and health care overhaul.