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National Perspective | ELECTIONS

Voter Tip Sheet

November 03, 1998

Here's a look at key races elsewhere in the country that political pros will be watching today. The outcomes in several of the East Coast and Midwestern contests should provide a clear indication of the day's trends, even as polls remain open in the West.

U.S. SENATE

Current breakdown

GOP: 55

Democrats: 45

New York

Candidates: Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R) vs. Rep. Charles E. Schumer (D)

Mudslinging slugfest is bellwether of backlash against GOP impeachment drive, which Schumer has attacked. Democrats would revel in D'Amato's defeat.

*

Illinois

Candidates: Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun (D) vs. Peter Fitzgerald (R)

Braun, The most heralded representative of 1992's "Year of the Woman" has been dogged by ethic troubles. She now finds herself the most vulnerable Democratic Senate incumbent.

*

Kentucky

Candidates: Rep. Jim Bunning (R) vs. Rep. Scotty Baesler (D)

A real derby of a race, and perhaps the most significant among contests. With a veteran Democratic retiring, the GOP has counted on gaining this seat. A Democratic win could signal a good night for the party.

*

Wisconsin

Candidates: Sen. Russell Feingold (D) vs. Rep. Mark Neumann (R)

Feingold, a campaign finance reform leader, stuck to spending rules he wants to impose on others. Republicans responded by pouring in money into the race; they would rejoice in beating him.

*

North Carolina

Candidates: Sen. Launch Faircloth (R) vs. John Edwards (D)

State-of-the-art centrist Democrat has run a good campaign; the conservative incumbent is fighting for his political life.

Party affiliations of the incumbent candidates

Democrat (15)

California

Connecticut

Florida

Hawaii

Illinois

Louisiana

Maryland

Nevada

North Dakota

Oregon

South Carolina

South Dakota

Washington

Vermont

Wisconsin

****

Republican (14)

Alaska

Arizona

Colorado

Georgia

Iowa

Kansas

Mississippi

Missouri

New Hampshire

New York

North Carolina

Oklahoma

Pennsylvania

Utah

****

Open seats (5)

Arkansas

Idaho

Indiana

Kentucky

Ohio

****

No races (16)

Alabama

Delaware

Maine

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Montana

Nebraska

New Jersey

New Mexico

Rhode Island

Tennessee

Texas

Virginia

West Virginia

Wyoming

U.S. HOUSE

Current breakdown

GOP: 227

Democrats: 206

Ind.: 1

State/district: Indiana #9

Candidates: Baron Hill (D) vs. Jean Leising (R)

The state's polls close early, making this race for an open seat now held by a Democrat a potential indicator of things to come. If Republicans falter in this conservative district, their hopes for large gains would seem dashed.

*

State/district: Ohio #6

Candidates: Rep. Ted Strickland (D) vs. Nancy Hollister (R)

Political ping pong match: Can Strickland hold on to the seat he won in 1992, lost in 1994 and won back in 1996? District's mercurial track-record makes it a solid bellwether.

*

State/district: Kentucky #3

Candidates: Rep. Anne Northrup (R) vs. Chris Gorman (D)

Northrup is a rising star among GOP freshman, but Gorman urged voters to show their disenchantment with the impeachment push by defeating her. Northrup loss would be a bad sign for Republicans.

*

State/district: Illinois 17

Candidates: Rep. Lane Evans (D) vs. Mark Baker (R)

Strong GOP challenge to eight-term incumbent. Evans loss would be a bad sign for Democrats.

*

State/district: Wisconsin #2

Candidates: Tammy Baldwin (D) vs. Jo Musser (R)

Democrats try to recapture this open seat, and in the process send first openly gay woman to House. A close contest.

*

State/district: Colorado #1

Candidates: Mark Udall (D) vs. Bob Greenlee

Son of former Arizone Rep. Morris Udall tries to keep this open seat Democratic in battle race with moderate Republican. Race turned surprisingly nasty.

*

State/district: New Mexico #3

Candidates: Rep. Bill Redmond (R) vs. Tom Udall (D) vs. Carol Miller (Green).

Another Udall heir--the nephew of the former congressman--hopes to regain seat the GOP won when Green Party candidate drew off Democratic votes in special election. One of the most likely Democratic pickups.

*

State/district: Idaho #1

Candidates: Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R) vs. Dan Williams

Arch-conservative Chenoweth hurt by admission of adulterous affair.

*

State/district: Washington #1

Candidates: Rep. Rick White (R) vs. Jay Inslee (D) vs. Bruce Craswell (I)

The Democratic challenger criticized GOP impeachment drive, hoping to ride scandal backlash to power. If he wins, that strategy will gain wide attention.

GOVERNORS

Current lineup: 32 Republicans, 17 Democrats, 1 independent

Maryland

Candidates: Gov. Parris Glendening (D) vs. Ellen Sauerbrey

The Vulnerable incumbent in a rematch against conservative who lost by only 6,000 votes in 1994. A Republican win in this heavily Democratic state would get the night off to good start for the Republicans.

*

Texas

Candidiates: Gov. George W. Bush (R) vs. Gary Mauro (D)

Bush seeks huge victory margin as prelude to likely presidential bid.

*

Florida

Candidates: Jeb Bush (R) vs. Buddy MacKay (D)

Another son of the former president boy expected to win, reversing 1994 loss.

*

Georgia

Candidates: Roy Barnes (D) vs. Guy Milner (R)

Republicans appeared poised for first gubernatorial win in the state since Reconstruction, but the race has tightened.

*

Minnesota

Candidates: Hubert H. Humphrey III (D) vs. Norm Coleman (R) vs. Jesse Ventura (Reform)

Looked like a slam dunk for Humphrey. But he may get body-slammed by a wrestler-turned-third-party-candidate, who could get enough votes to set up a GOP win.

Compiled by JANET HOOK / Los Angeles Times

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Voter turnout

Here are the percentages of eligible voters who cast ballots in elections from 1960 to 1996.

Presidential years

1996: 49.0%

'92: 55.2%

'88: 50.1%

'84: 53.1%

'80: 52.6%

'76: 53.5%

'72: 55.2%

'68: 60.9%

'64: 61.9%

'60: 62.8%

Midterm elections

'94: 38.8%

'90: 36.5%

'86: 36.4%

'82: 40.1%

'78: 37.8%

'74: 38.8%

'70: 46.8%

'66: 48.6%

'62: 47.6%

Source: Committee for the Study of the American Electorate

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