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Sen. Karen Spilka Wednesday claimed support from enough of her colleagues to become the next Senate president. [Photo: File/SHNS]

Ashland Democrat Sen. Karen Spilka, the lead budget writer for the Senate, emerged Wednesday from a crowded, but fluid field of Democrats interested in becoming the next Senate president to seize the mantle a full nine months before senators are expected to choose their next leader. Spilka, the chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, has the support of more than 25 of her current colleagues to succeed Senate President Harriette Chandler, who has said she would give up the position in January 2018, according to sources close to Spilka.

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