Affair doesn't dampen support for Idaho's Chenoweth
(AllPolitics, November 4) -- Republican Rep. Helen Chenoweth won her re-match against attorney Dan Williams (D) in Idaho's 1st congressional district.
Chenoweth, a veteran political activist and two-term representative, shrugged off the fallout from her admission of an adulterous affair to gain a self-limited final term.
Although Idaho is a Republican state, the 1st district was competitive. Two years ago, Chenoweth beat Williams by just 6,500 votes.
This year's re-match received national attention when Chenoweth became one of the first Republicans to make the Monica Lewinsky matter a campaign issue, criticizing President Bill Clinton's behavior and calling for more responsibility and morality in government.
But then the congresswoman had to acknowledge that she, then single, had a five-year affair with a married man in the 1980s after the revelation was published in a local newspaper.
Chenoweth, one of the best-known members of the GOP Class of 1994, says she wants just one more term.
She is a take-no-prisoners conservative who brags about shutting down the federal government in 1995 and has gone out of her way to anger environmentalists, liberals and organized labor.
With the experience of a race under his belt, Democratic challenger Williams began his 1998 bid early. As he did in 1996, Williams tried to portray Chenoweth's staunchly conservative views as extremist.
Williams is a Boise lawyer who worked as an aide during the second tenure of Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus.
Idaho is booming, with lots of high-tech industries in the Boise area and a growing population. One of the big issues in this campaign was what to do with Idaho's wilderness and recreational land.
The federal government owns almost two-thirds of the land in Idaho but Chenoweth said it's badly managed and that the state should own more of the land. Williams argued that would lead to land sales and private ownership.
The two candidates also split on the issue of education: Chenoweth would abolish the federal Department of Education while Williams sees a federal role in education.
But they agreed on some things. Both are against gun control laws and against making hate crimes a federal offense.
CNN's Bruce Morton contributed to this report.
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