A tough race for South Carolina's Sen. Hollings
By Stuart Rothenberg
South Carolina Senate An August 29-September 1 poll by Mason-Dixon/Political Media Research showed the South Carolina Senate race is still extremely close, and that veteran Democrat Ernest "Fritz" Hollings is in serious trouble.
The survey of 806 likely voters found Hollings leading Republican Bob Inglis 48-40 percent. Inglis continues to trail in name identification, and fewer voters have an opinion one way or the other about the GOP challenger.
While Democrats are relieved that Hollings has maintained his lead and continues to run an aggressive campaign against the challenger, Republicans argue that Hollings's inability to "put away" Inglis reflects that voters have grown fatigued with the veteran Democratic senator and are willing to consider someone else.
Inglis, who is on the House Judiciary Committee and recently called for the resignation of President Bill Clinton, is likely to get major financial help from the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The GOP challenger doesn't accept PAC money and is at a significant financial disadvantage to Hollings, but national GOP operatives are convinced they can knock off Hollings and will help get the anti-Hollings message out.
The senator's biggest problems may actually come from Washington, D.C. That's because South Carolina has become one of the most Republican states east of the Mississippi, and the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal could well polarize voters along partisan and Clinton lines, giving Republican challenger Inglis a major advantage against the incumbent Democratic senator.
Troubles for Democrats in Wisconsin's 2nd district
Wisconsin 2 The primary results are in from the 2nd C.D., and Democrats have reason to worry.
The district, which includes the city of Madison, is dominated by Dane County, which includes the Democratic city and the more Republican suburban areas. But the district also includes five full counties and parts of two others. Those more rural counties trend Republican.
Wisconsin 2 gave Bill Clinton solid wins in 1992 and 1996. The Democrat won 50 percent of the vote to George Bush's 32 percent in 1992, and an even larger 55 percent to Bob Dole's 33 percent four years later.
Both parties faced crowded primaries, and observers knew that the outcomes would determine how competitive the general election would be.
The Democrats nominated state Rep. Tammy Baldwin over former Dane County executive Rick Phelps and state Sen. Joe Wineke. Baldwin, one of four openly lesbian hopefuls running for Congress this year, was the most liberal of the Democratic candidates. Baldwin has proven to be a strong national fund-raiser, in part, no doubt, from her appeal in the gay and lesbian community.
Baldwin, 36, started her political career by winning a seat on the Dane County board of supervisors. She served four terms on that body before winning a four-way Democratic primary for the Legislature. She supports legal abortion, universal health care and an increase in the minimum wage. She opposes any privatization of Social Security, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and fast-track trade authority for the president.
The Republicans selected Josephine Musser, the state insurance commissioner. One of a number of moderates in the primary, she narrowly beat out conservative Ron Greer for the nomination.
Musser, 47, is a former nurse who also earned an MBA from the University of Chicago. She had not been active in elective politics when the governor, Tommy Thompson (R) recruited her to be state commissioner of insurance. She served in that capacity from 1993 until she resigned to run for Congress earlier this year.
Musser is pro-choice, favors fast-track authority for the president, and would not vote to repeal the assault weapons ban.
While the district is undeniably Democratic, Baldwin may be too far left for 2nd C.D. voters, especially since the GOP selected a moderate nominee. The current congressman, moderate Republican Scott Klug, was first elected in 1990, and he was re-elected three times, including a 57-41 percent victory over the mayor of Madison in 1996, a poor year for Republicans nationally. Even Democrats are now mumbling that their outlook in this race has gone from a "certain takeover" to a virtual tossup.
Monday, September 14, 1998
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