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ELECTION 98 MAIN|
|REMOTE NAVIGATOR
REAL-TIME RESULTS: SENATE | HOUSE | GOVERNORS | BALLOTS

BALANCE OF POWER

oldnew+/-
SENATE
GOP:
DEMS:

55
45

55
45

0
0
HOUSE
GOP:
DEMS:
IND:

228
206
1

223
211
1

-5
+5
0
GOVERNOR
GOP:
DEMS:
IND:

32
17
1

31
17
2

-1
0
+1


RELATED STORIES

Americans head to the polls (11-3-98)

Stuart Rothenberg: Taking stock as Election Day draws near (11-2-98)

Democrats, GOP rally bases as election nears (11-1-98)

GOP finally raises Lewinsky scandal in ads (10-28-98)

GOP finally raises Lewinsky scandal in ads (10-28-98)

Poll: GOP enthusiasm higher as election approaches (10-26-98)

Voter turnout: the greatest unknown in Election '98 (10-23-98)

Election '98


VIDEO

CNN's Bill Schneider analyzes the exit polls (11-4-98)
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COMMUNITY

Post your opinions on the November races

Democrats enjoy a big night after a hard-to-read election

They beat history and pick up five House seats

(AllPolitics, November 3) -- In a surprise turnabout, Democrats not only held their own but gained seats in Congress in Tuesday's off-year election, though they didn't do well enough to wrest control back from the Republicans.

By CNN estimates, Democrats picked up five seats in the House of Representatives. It is the first time since 1934 that the party controlling the White House gained seats midway through a president's second term.

Early Tuesday, only one race was still undecided, Oregon's first congressional district.

Election '98

Democrats found plenty to smile about in Tuesday results, with big wins in New York, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, California and Washington state. The Democrats were able to chalk up victories in some tough races that looked just days ago like they could go either way.

In New York, Democratic Rep. Charles Schumer beat incumbent Republican Sen. Al D'Amato in what was perhaps the nastiest race in the country. Schumer benefited from help from President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton, who came to New York City repeatedly to energize Democratic voters.

In South Carolina, Democratic Sen. Fritz Hollings won re-election against a tough challenge from Rep. Bob Inglis, and Democrat Jim Hodges unseated incumbent Republican Gov. David Beasley in a race marked by controversy over state-authorized gambling.

In Alabama, Democratic Lt. Gov. Don Siegelman won an expected victory over incumbent Republican Gov. Fob James, and in Arkansas, Democrat Blanche Lincoln beat Republican Fay Boozman. She will succeed Democratic Sen. Dale Bumpers , who is retiring. In another Southern win, Democrat Roy Barnes beat Republican Guy Millner in the open Georgia governor's race.

On the West Coast, California Sen. Barbara Boxer held on to win a second term over Republican Matt Fong, and Sen. Patty Murray defeated Republican Linda Smith in Washington.

"The mood is really upbeat," said one senior White House official. "Given what we've gone through the past few months, the outcome is truly remarkable. Think about all of the predictions, the ones that said Republicans would sweep to a huge majority. It didn't happen,"

Roy Romer, general chairman of the Democratic Party, proclaimed, "We didn't just do well, we did well against history and against dollars."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live," said she was pleasantly surprised at the results. "The issues are with the Democrats," Feinstein said.

But House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who easily won re-election in his suburban Atlanta district, said when the night was over, Republicans would again control the House.

"This will be the first time in 70 years that Republicans kept control of the House for a third term," Gingrich said. "We will gain seats this evening as the evening goes on."

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, appearing on CNN, said it would be "a historic reversal" if Democrats hold steady or even gain a few seats. He said what drove the results was voters' interest in electing a Congress that works on health care, education and Social Security issues.

"People stood up and said something tonight," Gephardt said.

Republicans saw their hopes evaporate for reaching 60 votes in the Senate, the threshold needed to cut off debate and move legislation unimpeded.

In Indiana, former Gov. Evan Bayh, a Democrat, easily beat Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke for the Senate seat, but that had been expected.

Other winners included Republican George Voinovich, who captured retiring Ohio Sen. John Glenn's seat, and Republican Jeb Bush, who beat Democrat Buddy MacKay in the Florida governor's race. Bush, son of the former president, succeeds outgoing Democrat Lawton Chiles. Jeb Bush's brother, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, also a Republican, easily won re-election.

Thirty-four U.S. Senate seats, 36 governorships and all 435 House seats were up in Tuesday's balloting, but no single national issue -- especially not Monica Lewinsky or the pending House impeachment inquiry -- became the pivotal point on which Election '98 would turn.

The right direction

Exit polls showed 55 percent of voters approved of Clinton's job performance, while 60 percent had an unfavorable view of him as a person. And 60 percent of voters who were surveyed said they thought the country was moving in the right direction.

Instead, the election was a pastiche of hundreds of local races, with factors like who was retiring, who had the most campaign money for the final push and who could buy the most TV ads likely to affect the final outcome.

Republicans had hoped an energized base of anti-Clinton voters would show up to vote. In a last-minute strategy shift, the Republicans ran TV ads late last week in some targeted districts questioning President Clinton's trustworthiness, hoping that would boost turnout.

Democrats hoped that the GOP strategy would backfire and instead bring out a sizable bloc of people who wish they had never heard of Independent Counsel Ken Starr or Lewinsky.

Most voters told pollsters they would not be trying to send a message about Clinton or the impeachment inquiry when they cast their ballots.

In a final pre-election CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll over the weekend, about one-quarter of likely voters said they would be sending a message of opposition to Clinton and another one-quarter a message of support, but 52 percent said the scandal would not be a factor in their vote.

Outside Washington, in places like Albany, Sacramento and Tallahassee, the election had import, too.

Who controls governors' mansions and state legislatures is even more important heading into the 2000 census, which will provide raw numbers for the ultimate political power struggle: the once-a-decade process of redistricting.



OVERVIEW:

SENATE RACES:

HOUSE RACES:

GOVERNORS' RACES:

BALLOT RACES:

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