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The Political Beat Goes On for Congressman-Elect Sonny Bono


RIVERSIDE — Republican Congressman-elect Sonny Bono wasn't humming "I've Got You, Babe" or "And the Beat Goes On" when he crawled into bed early Wednesday morning as California's newest celebrity-turned-officeholder.

Instead, he harked back to "Laugh at Me," one of the lesser-known tunes he sang with his former wife, Cher.

"I wrote it after I got kicked out of a restaurant, back when people made less of us because of the way we dressed and didn't look at our substance, or what we could deliver," Bono said.

Whether Bono, 59, can muster the substance of a successful congressman remains to be seen. But he clearly delivered the stuff of a politician. In unofficial returns, Bono cruised past Democrat Steve Clute, 56% to 38%, to succeed retiring GOP Rep. Al McCandless in the 44th Congressional District.

Bono spent much of Wednesday fielding calls from his new congressional colleagues, as well as from Larry King and Jay Leno, who want him on their shows.

At Bono's side Tuesday night were his wife, Mary; their two children, son Chianna, 3, and daughter Chesare, 6; his daughter Christy, 35, from his first marriage, and daughter Chastity, 25, from his marriage to Cher.

Congratulations from Hollywood have not been forthcoming, Bono said. "I've pretty much lost contact with the celebrity world, but I think they're probably in as much shock as I am."

Nor has he heard from Cher. "But she's probably saying, 'I'll be damned. He did it,' " Bono said.

A representative for Cher said she would not comment on Bono's election.

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