Key Senate Primaries Held In Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina
Voters reject tax initiatives to pay for stadiums, schools
(AllPolitics, May 6) -- Famous family names and a bad day for baseball marked Tuesday's primary elections, which also set the stage for three high-profile Senate races.
In Indiana, former two-term Governor Evan Bayh ran unopposed for the seat formerly held by his father, Birch Bayh. The seat, which has been in Republican hands since the elder Bayh lost to Dan Quayle in 1980, is being vacated by two-term Republican Dan Coats.
Bayh will face 10-year Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke, who won a tight race against two Indianapolis lawyers for the GOP nomination. A poll released last week gave Bayh a 30-point edge over any of the Republican contenders.
In Ohio, another candidate continued a family tradition. Robert Taft II, great-grandson of President William Howard Taft and the latest in an Ohio dynasty, will face Democratic former Attorney General Lee Fisher in the race for governor. Neither man had primary opposition, and Taft is widely favored.
Gov. George Voinovich won handily in the GOP Senate primary, and is favored to beat Mary O. Boyle for the seat now held by retiring Democrat John Glenn. Boyle, a former Cuyahoga County commissioner, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
In North Carolina, Republican Lauch Faircloth easily won the Republican primary over two political unknowns. He will run against Democrat John Edwards, a wealthy lawyer who has already spent $3 million of his own money on campaign ads.
Edwards, running against six opponents, managed to avoid a primary runoff, garnering 51 percent of the vote. A recent poll showed Faircloth leading the November race, 45 percent to 38 percent, but with 17 percent of the voters undecided.
House seats open
Indiana and Ohio both had primaries to replace long-time congressmen who had retired.
In southeastern Indiana's 9th district, Tuesday's election was the first in 34 years without Democrat Lee Hamilton's name on it. Baron Hill is Hamilton's successor as the Democratic nominee, and will face Republican Jean Leising, who lost to Hamilton in the last two elections.
In Ohio's 11th district, Democrat Louis Stokes, the state's only black representative, is retiring. Cuyahoga County prosecutor Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who won a five-way race for the Democratic nomination, will face talk show host James Hereford.
Voters reject tax increases, gay rights repeal
In ballot initiatives, voters rejected tax increases to pay for stadiums and schools, and a Michigan city upheld an gay rights law.
In Toledo, Ohio, voters rejected a duarter-cent, three-year tax increase to pay for a $37 million, 12,900-seat stadium for the minor league Mud Hens. Local leaders expressed fears that the team, made famous nationally on the TV show M.A.S.H., would leave the city without a new park.
Team officials have not threatened to leave, but say that they cannot play many more years in their current racetrack-turned-ballpark, which needs $10 million in repairs.
Statewide, Ohio voters rejected a one-cent sales tax increase, expected to raise $1.1 billion to be split between school improvements and property tax relief.
Voters in North Carolina's Triad area -- the region that includes the cities of Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and High Point -- rejected a proposal to build a major league baseball stadium without a team. Leaders in the region are pursuing a major-league baseball team, and have been said to be interested in the Minnesota Twins.
In Ypsilanti, Michigan, voters rejected a ballot initiative that would repeal the city's civil rights law. Fifty-six percent of voters voted in favor of keeping the law, which includes protections for homosexuals, and 44 pervent voted to repeal it.
"Ypsilanti has decided that it's going to be a place for everybody to live," said Paul Heaton, who led the campaign to retain the law.