A tight North Carolina Senate race
GOP has edge in N.Y.'s 22nd C.D.
By Stuart Rothenberg
North Carolina Senate Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R) and challenger John Edwards (D) are locked in one of the more heated Senate races of 1998, with both parties' Senate campaign committees and state parties participating in the slugfest.
An October 11-13 Mason-Dixon/Political Media Research poll shows Faircloth leading 45-43 percent, a considerable tightening from the 50-40 percent Faircloth lead in a September Mason-Dixon survey.
The Republican leads by a dozen points among men, but trails by eight points among women. Edwards leads 82-6 percent among blacks, while Faircloth leads 55-33 percent among whites.
Democratic ads have attacked the senator for allegedly having a poor attendance record, and for failing to support Social Security and Medicare. Republicans have hammered Edwards, an attorney, for raising money from "trial lawyers" and for allegedly avoiding paying Medicare taxes. Republicans, of course, have also called Edwards "a liberal," but the attorney has never before run for elective office and has no record.
North Carolina Republicans have grown increasingly nervous about the Senate race. Edwards has considerable financial resources and appears to have turned up his efforts after a surprising lull following his primary win. The Democrat has made health care reform -- and HMO reform -- a particularly significant issue.
Faircloth tried to boost his re-election bid with an early wave of positive TV spots, but his negatives have risen as a result of the Democratic attacks.
North Carolina has seen its share of close, hard fought battles and in recent years the conservative Republican has out-dueled the more liberal Democrat. But Edwards is running toward the middle, on crime, for example, and the age and style contrast between the major party candidates has never been so extreme.
Picking Rep. Solomon's successor
New York 22 The fight to fill the seat of 10-term incumbent Cong. Gerald Solomon (R) pits a state GOP insider against a local city councilwoman. Democrats would love to pick off this open seat, but the odds seem long.
John Sweeney, 43, a former state labor commissioner from Troy, is the Republican heavyweight. An attorney and former executive director of the state Republican party, Sweeney was appointed Commissioner of Labor for New York State by newly elected Gov. George Pataki in 1995. In 1997, he became Deputy Secretary to Gov. Pataki.
Sweeney trumpets his close ties to Pataki (who has endorsed his candidacy, along with Cong. Solomon) and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He also stakes claim to his role in the accomplishments of the Pataki administration, including tax cuts and the creation of 300,000 jobs in the state.
The message of his campaign is that he can bring his experience creating jobs home to the district. The Sweeney campaign had raised more than $375,000 as of late September.
Sweeney is opposed to term limits, is personally opposed to abortion but believes that government should not make these decisions for a woman, would vote to repeal the assault weapons ban, opposes "most-favored-nation" trade status for China, is reluctant to support fast track trade authority for the president, and opposes increasing the minimum wage right now. Sweeney believes that President Clinton should resign from office over the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
He easily defeated three other Republican candidates in the September primary, taking 50 percent of the vote. Sweeney's name will appear three times on the ballot, as the nominee on the Republican, Conservative and Independence lines.
Sweeney faces Democrat Jean Bordewich, 41, an elected member of the Red Hook town council. She was unopposed in the September primary.
Bordewich was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Florida. A graduate of Brown University, Bordewich worked as press secretary to U.S. Sen. Richard Stone (D) of Florida from 1975 to 1981. During the mid-1980s she served as head of corporate communications for the BASIX Corporation in New York City and now co-owns and operates a small publishing company.
The Bordewich campaign, which had raised just over $137,000 as of the September primary, made much of a late August poll by Abacus Associates that found her leading at 29-28 percent.
However, given Sweeney's financial advantage, his ties to the GOP establishment, and the GOP-leaning district where both Pataki and D'Amato are likely to do well in November, the Republican is a solid favorite to hold this district.
Friday, October 16, 1998
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