|Wednesday, November 4, 1998||
Volume 64, Issue 52
Local Election Results
|Despite White House
scandal, national partisan status quo is expected to remain
By Jim Parsons
Special to The Daily Cougar Online
With so many seats up for grabs in this election -- 34 in the U.S. Senate, all 435 in the House of Representatives and the governorships of 36 states -- both Democrats and Republicans found themselves scrambling to see which party could steal potentially valuable positions from the other and upset the balance of power.
In the end, however, the status quo was expected to remain in the House, and Republicans still controlled the Senate despite the loss of two incumbents, proving that the Clinton scandal might not have drummed up as much Democratic support as expected.
In fact, voters said Tuesday that the scandal wasnit on their minds when they went to the polls. About 20 percent said education -- one of the principal campaign issues for both Texas gubernatorial candidates -- was their chief concern.
Following education were moral and ethical issues, on the minds of 19 percent of voters; the economy with 14 percent; and taxes and Social Security, each with 12 percent, according to The Associated Press.
In gubernatorial races, even though the Bushes scored two victories for Republicans with George in Texas and Jeb in Florida, Democrats managed to oust a pair of southern GOP governors and take one of the electionis biggest prizes: the California governoris office.
One potentially influential Southern position open was that of Georgia governor, formerly held by Zell Miller, who announced in October his intention not to run for the office again. Democrat Roy Barnes won the race for that position.
In South Carolina, Democrat Jim Hodges defeated first-term GOP Gov. David Beasley, while Alabama Gov. Fob James, also a Republican, was defeated as well.
And in California, the nationis most populous state, Gray Davis won the governorship for the Democrats for the first time in 16 years.
And in what turned out to be a unique three-way race for the governorship of Minnesota, the winner turned out to be none other than former pro wrestler Jesse "The Body" Ventura, a member of the Reform Party who defeated Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Hubert Humphrey III.
"I think we proved the American dream still exists," Ventura said. "Iill tell you what, Iill bet you (the other candidates) are never going to take the people lightly again, are they?"
Several Senate races were closely watched. In New York, Democratic Rep. Charles Schumer defeated incumbent GOP Sen. Alphonse DiAmato, while John Edwards defeated Republican Sen. Lauch Faircloth. Both DiAmato and Faircloth were vigorous critics of President Clinton, and Faircloth suggested Kenneth Starr to head the independent investigation into the Whitewater scandal.
Also in the Senate, Democrat Ernest Hollings of South Carolina won his race for a sixth term. In Arkansas, Democrat Blanche Lincoln was elected to a first term, as was Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican. And in Indiana, former Gov. Evan Bayh, a Democrat, took a Senate position that had been in Republican hands since 1980.
In Ohio, however, Republican George Voinovich took the Senate seat vacated by astronaut John Glenn, who was orbiting in outer space on Election night.
Some positions were much less contested. Republican Arlen Specter was easily re-elected to his Pennsylvania seat in the Senate, and Richard Shelby, who ran with the GOP for the first time since switching parties in 1994, took a Senate seat in Alabama.
Howard Dean and Jeanne Shaheen, both Democrats, coasted to re-election as governors of New Hampshire and Vermont, respectively. Also, Democrat Parris Glendening was re-elected as governor of Maryland.
In Arkansas, Republican Mike Huckabee won his first full term as governor, having taken over a seat vacated when his predecessor resigned after a Whitewater conviction. In Idaho, Dirk Kempthorne gave up a seat in the U.S. Senate for the office of governor.
With votes still being counted on the West Coast at press time, however, neither party was able to claim definite success in the elections.
As usual, the trend this year was favorable toward incumbents everywhere. Only one incumbent member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Vince Snowbarger, R-Kan.) was not re-elected.
With some question as to exactly what the partisan makeup of local governments would be, and the Houseis partisan balance expected to remain the same even though 34 seats were open, Republicans expressed some displeasure Tuesday night.
"Iim a bit saddened by our failures throughout the country," Sen. John McCain of Arizona told reporters.
For final results of elections nationwide, link to www.webwhiteblue.org/results.html.
Reach Parsons at