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They Came, They Voted ... They Quit

More than 70 people who started the 104th Congress will not be on the ballot for those same seats in the 105th. With the advantage of incumbency thus forfeited, the outcome of this year's election may depend less on who's running than on who's not.

A record 14 Senators and 50 Representatives--short of the 1992 record of 65--decided not to run for re-election. Almost all were considered "safe"--expected by their party to win. Six of the newly open Senate seats are held by Republicans; 29 of the 50 House members leaving are Democrats. Though the exodus is bipartisan, the overall magnitude of potential realignment makes this year's battle for control of Congress more unpredictable than in most election years.

Their reasons for leaving vary. Bob Dole (R-Kans.) stepped down because he wants to be President. Fourteen of the incumbent seats being vacated in the House belong to those (all men) who wanted to run for the Senate--seven Republicans, seven Democrats. (Four of them did not survive the primary.)

Family was cited frequently by those giving up their seats. Representative Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-Ark.) had initially decided to stay on in the House despite being pregnant. "I envisioned boarding a plane twice a week with an infant, a diaper bag and a briefcase," she said. "[Then] we learned we were having twins." Representative Jimmy Quillen (R-Tenn.) had quintuple-bypass surgery in 1993 but held out for one more session. "I'll be 81 at the end of this term, and my wife needs me," he explained. Senator William Cohen (R-Maine), who surprised even his mother with his January announcement, claimed that part of the reason for leaving was his desire to get married. But he also admitted, "The recent budget stalemate in Washington over the past several weeks has been instrumental in crystalizing this for me."

Yes, there were serious ideological, even institutional, reasons for leaving. "Going from being in the majority, from being chairman of a committee, to minority status is difficult and quite a change," complained Representative Charlie Rose (D-N.C.) upon announcing that he would quit after 12 terms in the House.

A sense that moderation has been a victim of recent political shifts is evident in many of the departures. Maine's Cohen leaves, along with fellow moderate Republicans Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas and Mark Hatfield of Oregon. Democrats Sam Nunn of Georgia, Bill Bradley of New Jersey and Jim Exon of Nebraska are all considered middle-of-the-road Democrats. What worries many observers is that Congress's tradition of comity and compromise is disappearing along with the centrists. Not every case is so laden with deeper meaning. "It is a simple matter," said Representative Pat Williams (D-Mont.), about his decision to leave after 18 years. "Carol and I are homesick. We miss Montana ... I drive by the fishing holes, but can't cast my line. I drive by the hiking trails and want [to walk] on them." That says more about the simple attractions of home than the shortcomings of life on Capitol Hill.

Senate

Bill Bradley, D-NJ

Hank Brown, R-CO

William S. Cohen, R-ME

Bob Dole, R-KS

Jim Exon, D-NE.

Mark O. Hatfield, R-OR

Howell Heflin, D-AL

J. Bennett Johnston, D-LA

Nancy Landon Kassebaum, R-KS

Sam Nunn, D-GA

Claiborne Pell, D-RI

David Pryor, D-AR

Paul Simon, D-IL

Alan K. Simpson, R-WY

House

Wayne Allard, R-CO (District 4)

Anthony C. Beilenson, D-CA (24)

Tom Bevill, D-AL (4)

Bill Brewster, D-OK (3)

Glen Browder, D-AL (3)

Sam Brownback, R-KS (2)

John Bryant, D-TX (5)

Jim Chapman, D-TX (1)

William F. Clinger, R-A (5)

Ronald D. Coleman, D-TX (16)

Barbara-Rose Collins, D-MI (15)

Cardiss Collins, D-IL (7)

Wes Cooley R-OR (2)

Richard J. Durbin, D-IL (20)

E. ("Kika") de la Garza, D-TX (15)

Cleo Fields D-LA (4)

Jack Fields, R-TX (8)

Harold E. Ford, D-TN (9)

Pete Geren, D-TX (12)

Sam M. Gibbons, D-FL (11)

Enid Greene [Waldholtz], R-UT (2)

Steve Gunderson, R-WI (3)

Mel Hancock, R-MT (7)

Jimmy Hayes, R-LA (7)

Tim Hutchinson, R-AR (3)

Andrew Jacobs Jr., D-IN (10)

Tim Johnson, D-SD. (at large)

Harry A. Johnston, D-FL (19)

Greg Laughlin, R-TX (14)

Jim Ross Lightfoot, R-IA (3)

Blanche Lambert Lincoln, D-AR (1)

Jan Meyers, R-KS (3)

G.V. ("Sonny") Montgomery, D-MS (3)

Carlos J. Moorhead, R-CA (27)

John T. Myers, R-IN (7)

L.F. Payne Jr., D-VA (5)

Pete Peterson, D-FL (2)

James H. Quillen, R-TN (1)

Jack Reed, D-RI (2)

Pat Roberts, R-KS (1)

Charlie Rose, D-NC (7)

Toby Roth, R-WI (8)

Patricia Schroeder, D-CO (1)

Gerry E. Studds, D-MA (10)

Robert G. Torricelli, D-NJ (9)

Ray Thornton, D-AR (2)

Barbara F. Vucanovich, R-NV (2)

Robert S. Walker, R-PA (16)

Pat Williams, D-MT (at large)

Charles Wilson, D-TX (2)

Bill Zeliff, R-NH (1)

Dick Zimmer, R.-NJ (12)

Already Out

Representatives Mel Reynolds and Walter Tucker and Senator Bob Packwood quit because of scandal. Representative Kweisi Mfume took over the NAACP. Representative Norman Mineta took a job at Lockheed. Representative Bill Emerson died of lung cancer.



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