Civil rights leader John Lewis on Wednesday savored his dramatic runoff victory over his old friend Julian Bond for the Democratic nomination for a House seat from Georgia, and primary winners in Florida and Nevada kicked off their campaigns for the fall elections.
In Florida, voters set up a double-barreled runoff for Sept. 30, denying a majority to gubernatorial candidates in both parties Tuesday. Former state Rep. Steve Pajcic will face Atty. Gen. Jim Smith on the Democratic side, and Democrat-turned-Republican Bob Martinez will battle former congressman Louis Frey Jr. for the GOP nomination.
Lewis scored his come-from-behind victory over Bond on the strength of overwhelming white support in the 5th District, which includes Atlanta, after losing the black vote by a substantial majority. In complete but unofficial returns, Lewis had 35,142 votes, or 52%, to Bond's 32,447 votes, or 48%. Lewis, a former Atlanta city councilman, will face journalist Portia Scott in the Nov. 4 election.
Lewis and Bond worked side by side in the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and were friends until their sometimes bitter congressional campaign. But, on the morning after the election, they agreed that their relationship could be repaired.
"Time is a great healer," Bond said.
"We will shake hands. The wounds will heal," Lewis said.
In contrast to Lewis' dramatic victory, the Senate primary races in Florida and Nevada were a mere prelude to confrontations that could be pivotal in determining which party controls the Senate next year.
Freshman Sen. Paula Hawkins in Florida won 89% of the Republican vote, and Gov. Bob Graham had 85% of the Senate Democratic primary vote.
In Nevada, where Republican Sen. Paul Laxalt is retiring to consider a race for the presidency, former Democratic Rep. Jim Santini won the GOP nomination to succeed him. Santini, recruited by national GOP leaders as their best hope to hold the seat, received more than 80% of the vote over two little-known opponents.
The Democratic nomination went to Rep. Harry Reid, who received more than 82% of the vote.
The two men swiftly swapped campaign charges, with Santini saying that Reid "can't deny he's anything but a liberal" for opposing some of President Reagan's proposals. Reid replied that Santini has "the worst voting record in the history of a congressman from Nevada. He can run, but he can't hide from that record."
Democratic Gov. Richard H. Bryan easily won renomination in his campaign for a second term, picking up nearly 80% of the vote. Bryan will face state Treasurer Patty Cafferata, the winner in a five-way GOP primary.