By Congressional Quarterly
Delahunt can thank the legal system for helping him gain membership in the 105th Congress.
The Democratic front-runner in the battle to succeed retiring 12-term Democratic Rep. Gerry E. Studds, Delahunt was expected to overcome three contenders in the Sept. 17 primary, then move on to face his Republican opponent.
But in a dramatic turn of events, former state Rep. Philip W. Johnston scored a come-from-behind primary victory. He defeated Delahunt, the longtime Norfolk County district attorney, by fewer than 300 votes.
Johnston's upset of Delahunt set into motion several weeks of confusion in the 10th District. Delahunt called for a recount in parts of the district, prompting Johnston to do the same in other communities.
After more than a week, state election officials upheld Johnston as the winner.
But Delahunt was not ready to call it quits. He took the matter to court, charging that ballots that should have counted for him were mistakenly counted as blank.
A state Superior Court judge concurred, and declared Delahunt the primary election winner. Johnston appealed in vain to the state's highest court, which upheld the lower court's ruling.
Among the likely reasons for Delahunt's political near-death experience was negative publicity he suffered during the primary campaign.
In July, a controversy emerged concerning charges to his state campaign fund for restaurant meals and other expenses.
His primary opponents seized upon the issue, but the Delahunt campaign said the expenditures had been found appropriate by the relevant state office.
Awaiting Delahunt after his long-sought primary victory was a general election showdown with Republican state House Minority Leader Edward Teague, who had easily won his primary and had built a fundraising lead.
Republicans had hopes of winning the 10th, one of liberal- leaning Massachusetts' more conservative districts. It seemed possible that Teague would benefit from the turmoil on the Democratic side.
The truncated general election contest was a classic liberal- conservative battle. Delahunt, a longtime public official, focused his campaign on themes such as the economic security of the middle class and support for environmental programs.
Teague, a conservative, highlighted such issues as his opposition to tax increases, his support for the balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution and welfare reform. He also took a tough stand on crime.
Delahunt says he is part of the generation that was inspired to enter politics by another Massachusetts politician, President John F. Kennedy.
Delahunt recalls that as a Middlebury College student he served as a co-chair of a Vermont students-for-Kennedy group. The other chairman was the late Ronald H. Brown, the former Commerce Secretary, who was a fraternity brother of Delahunt.
Prior to his two decades as Norfolk County district attorney, an elected position, Delahunt served in other political capacities, including state representative. As a result of his longtime political involvement, he has worked with several other members of the Massachusetts delegation, including Democratic Reps. John W. Olver, Barney Frank and Edward J. Markey.
Delahunt plans to follow in the footsteps of Studds, a liberal who focused much of his attention on environmental issues important to the coastal district. Delahunt will sit on the Resources Committee, where Studds was a senior member. In addition, because of his background as a district attorney, Delahunt was named to the Judiciary Committee, where he plans to stay involved with such issues as preventing domestic violence.
© 1997, Congressional Quarterly Inc. All rights reserved.
Maine - Senate
Susan Collins (R-Maine)
Born: Dec. 7, 1952, Caribou, Maine.
Education: St. Lawrence U., B.A. 1975.
Occupation: Business center director; state deputy treasurer; SBA official; state financial regulation commissioner; congressional aide.
Religion: Roman Catholic.
Political Career: Republican nominee for governor, 1994.
By Congressional Quarterly
Collins has lived out a dream common among Hill staffers: She won her old boss' job. Collins worked a dozen years for Republican William S. Cohen as an adviser on business issues.
With Collins' victory, Maine in 1996 became the first state to elect two female Republicans to the Senate. She resisted a tide in the state that carried Democrats to victory in the presidential contest and both House seats and can be expected to join fellow Maine Sen. Olympia J. Snowe in the front ranks of moderate Republicans.
Collins not only inherited Cohen's seat, she will succeed him onto the Armed Services Committee. During the campaign, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott appeared in Maine to assure voters that he and Collins would work together to ensure that Maine gets its share of federal shipbuilding contracts. Maine has had to compete with Mississippi in the past for some Navy contracts.
Collins was also named to the Governmental Affairs and Select Aging committees.
Collins, who has never previously held elective office, had greatly improved as a campaigner since her 1994 bid for governor, becoming famous for her trademark red dresses. She was the Republican gubernatorial nominee, but finished a distant third behind Democrat Joseph E. Brennan and winning independent Angus King.
Many conservatives abandoned Collins in favor of King in 1994 because of her moderate stances on such issues as abortion and gay rights. After a contentious Senate primary in 1996, they returned to the Republican ranks in supporting her. And in the Senate contest it was Brennan -- a former governor and House member who was again the Democratic nominee -- who won criticism from within his party's ranks.
Despite increased political activity among unionized workers and seniors -- two traditional Brennan constituencies -- Collins defeated him, although with less than 50 percent of the vote.
Many Democrats felt that Brennan had lost too often recently to have a hope of picking up the Senate seat. State party leaders openly urged him not to run, and during the campaign, Sen. Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, serving as chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), publicly knocked Brennan in September for the lackluster quality of his campaign, saying Brennan had not presented his differences with Collins clearly enough.
Collins emerged unscathed from an ugly GOP primary, easily outdistancing her two rivals, state Sen. W. John Hathaway and wealthy businessman Robert A. G. Monks. A week before the primary, allegations surfaced that Hathaway had sexually abused his family's adolescent babysitter over an 18-month period in the early 1990s. Alabama prosecutors confirmed that Hathaway had been under investigation; one said that he had not been charged out of concern for the child's welfare.
Yet in the end, the story appeared to hurt Monks more than Hathaway. Hathaway accused him of planting the story in the media and ran TV ads bemoaning Monks' "last-minute character assassination attempt."
Monks, who spent $2 million of his own money in a campaign that broke Maine primary spending records, denied spreading the story, but acknowledged that he had hired an investigator to look into Hathaway's past. Hathaway finished with about a third of the primary vote.
Maine voters were disheartened by the invasion of their usually genteel politics by such hardball tactics, and were alarmed again with an October 1996 revelation that the DSCC hired an investigator in the general election season. Collins admitted her campaign engaged in similar "opposition research" about Brennan, but had not hired an investigator.
In addition to working for Cohen and for an investigative Senate subcommittee, Collins spent a year as the New England regional administrator of the Small Business Administration. She won some criticism during the 1996 campaign for increasing staff levels at the agency. Monks tried to make an issue of her long career in government, saying he had done more to create jobs with his success in the private sector.
Collins also worked for Maine Gov. John R. McKernan Jr. in the 1980s as commissioner of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. She describes small-business protection and job creation as priorities. She promises to work to reduce estate taxes to make it easier for families to pass on their businesses. Collins would also like to make it easier for Congress to repeal burdensome regulations and wants to see a seven-year expiration date put on regulations in general.
Collins supports a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget and has come out in favor of a requirement for a supermajority vote in Congress to increase taxes. She gave the Republican response to President Clinton's weekly radio address a week after the election. Clinton had said that if the 105th Congress was going to pass a balanced-budget amendment, which he opposes, it should add certain provisions. Collins complained that "the president's version sounds like a fish net with more holes than rope."
Like Snowe, Collins supports abortion rights, favoring federal funding of the procedure. She will vote for a ban on so-called partial-birth abortions, however, so long as there are exceptions made for the life or health of the woman. She also opposes the death penalty and favors protections of gay rights, although she has said she would oppose federal gay rights legislation.
Collins may be liberal about certain aspects of social policy, but she stands with conservatives in some areas. She favors repealing the ban on certain assault-style weapons, for instance, and she initially objected to the 90-cent increase in the minimum wage enacted in 1996. She preferred a more modest boost of 50 cents per hour, but after the raise was enacted, Collins said she would have supported the larger increase over none at all.
© 1997, Congressional Quarterly Inc. All rights reserved.
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