MIAMI — Vice President George Bush sailed to a whopping victory in Florida, but his coattails appeared too short to help Republican Rep. Connie Mack III defeat Democratic Rep. Kenneth (Buddy) MacKay for a U.S. Senate seat.
In a controversial referendum that stirred deep resentment among Latinos, Florida voted overwhelmingly to declare English the state's official language. With more than half the ballots counted, the measure was winning 83% to 17%.
In an extremely close race for the seat of retiring Democrat Lawton Chiles, MacKay was holding a narrow lead over Mack, conservative grandson of a Baseball Hall of Famer, and ABC projected MacKay would win.
Bush became the eighth Republican presidential candidate in the last 10 elections to carry Florida, a state that Michael S. Dukakis virtually surrendered in mid-campaign.