GOP snares Virginia General Assembly; Mississippi governorship still undecided
Eight major cities pick Democrats for mayor
November 3, 1999
Web posted at: 6:40 p.m. EST (2340 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- For the first time in history,
Republicans won control Tuesday of both houses of Virginia's
legislature. But in the off-year elections, the Mississippi governorship is a dead heat, and Democrats recorded significant victories by winning the Kentucky governorship and at least eight major mayoral races.
Already in charge of the Senate and governor's office in
Virginia, the GOP captured enough seats in the General
Assembly to overcome its one-vote minority. The win has
implications for both redistricting and the U.S.
Senate race in Virginia next year.
Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Houston, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio, and Salt Lake City, Utah, all elected Democrat mayors.
In the Mississippi governor's race, Democrat Ronnie Musgrove holds a slight lead late Wednesday over Republican Mike Parker, a former congressman. But an unknown number of absentee ballots remain to be counted, which could take up to 10 days.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Musgrove, the state's lieutenant governor, had 373,420 votes, or 50 percent, and Parker, a former Democrat who switched to the Republican Party, had 366,784 or 49 percent. A Reform Party candidate and an independent split the rest of the votes.
The candidate with the most votes may not end up with a majority, which is 50 percent plus one vote. When no candidate gets a majority in Mississippi, state law calls for the House to elect the governor during its session next year. Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than two to one in the state House.
Musgrove told a news conference Wednesday that he expects to be the next
governor, saying a House vote is a "formality." Parker issued a statement saying he will remain in the race, saying it would be unfair to voters to do otherwise.
But House Speaker Tim Ford cautioned both candidates that while Democrats are the majority, no one has a lock on the governor's office.
"If it goes to the House of Representatives you can pretty much say Ronnie Musgrove will be made governor," said state Rep. George Flaggs, a Democrat from Vicksburg. "I can't see after eight years them not voting Democratic."
But former state Rep. Gene Saucier, a Republican from Hattiesburg, wasn't so sure. "We'd see some real arm-twisting. You'd see an awful lot of Democrats come flat out for Parker," he said.
A win by Musgrove would be a boost for Democrats, who recaptured the governorships of South Carolina and Alabama last year. Mississippi was the tie-breaker of the three 1999 governor's races after Republican Gov. Mike Foster of Louisiana was re-elected last month, and Patton easily won re-election in Kentucky.
One of the Democratic Party's most flamboyant figures, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, trying to become the city's first mayor in 16 years to win re-election, was forced into a runoff by a last-minute write-in campaign.
San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown jokes around with supporters at an event celebrating his bid for re-election Tuesday
Brown still led the 15-candidate field in the nonpartisan race,
which included former mayor and Police Chief Frank Jordan and
millionaire political consultant Clint Reilly.
But with the late addition of Board of Supervisors President
Tom Ammiano as a write-in candidate, Brown was unable to get
the majority necessary to avoid a December 14 runoff.
Exactly who Brown will face in the runoff is unclear. Jordan was second in the vote but Reilly was still in the running and counting write-in votes Ammiano was expected to take hours.
With 90 percent of precincts reporting, Brown had 60,506 votes, or 48 percent. Jordan had 26,567, or 21 percent, while Reilly had 19,402 votes, or 15 percent. As of early Wednesday, Ammiano was fourth with 9,535 votes or 8 percent.
Ammiano, who is gay, draws strong support among the city's
large and politically active gay community. He said he got
into the race on October 13 because he felt "despair that was
palpable" among the city's voters.
Philadelphia: Most expensive campaign ever
In a tightly fought mayoral race in Philadelphia, Democrat
John F. Street narrowly defeated Republican Sam Katz in the
city's most expensive election campaign ever.
Democrat John Street won a tough race with Republican Sam Katz to succeed Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell
In the final week of the race, Democrats had faced the
possibility of an embarrassing defeat in the nation's fifth
largest city, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 4-to-1,
as polls showed the two candidates running in a dead heat.
But Street, known for his skills as a
political technocrat, took 51 percent of the vote to Katz's
48 percent, with 94 percent of precincts reporting. There was a high turnout in heavily African-American and
Democratic areas, where labor unions conducted a get-out-the-
vote campaign, according to analysts.
Democrats also scored mayoral victories in Indianapolis,
where Bart Peterson has become the first Democrat elected
mayor since 1963; in Columbus, where Democrat Michael
Coleman broke a 28-year-long losing streak for Democrats;
and in Houston, where Lee Brown won re-election as mayor.
Democrats also won mayoral races in Baltimore, Cincinnati and
Salt Lake City.
"These elections are precursors to the most important
election in a generation in 2000," said Democratic National
Committee chairman Joe Andrew. "It will show us how well the
parties are prepared to flex their political muscles."
"We'll all read a lot into the results," said Jim Nicholson,
chairman of the Republican National Committee.
The RNC spent about $1.5 million, twice the total of the
cash-strapped DNC, to influence voting.
Kentucky's Democratic Gov. Paul Patton easily won re-election Tuesday, making him -- thanks to a change in the state constitution -- the first governor in his state in two
centuries to win a second consecutive term.
Patton as he celebrates their victory on Tuesday
Patton had been strongly favored to win re-election
over Republican Peppy Martin, a freelance publicist, and
Reform candidate Gatewood Galbraith, a marijuana-legalization
Celebrating his victory Tuesday night, Patton said his win
marked a "new beginning" and he is going to enter his second
term with "renewed vigor and energy."
Kentucky voters changed the state constitution in 1992 to
allow the governor to serve successive terms beginning with
this year's election, making Patton the first Kentucky
governor able to seek election to a second consecutive term
Martin, who made increasingly outrageous comments as the
election drew to a close, had been denounced by some state
Republican party officials. Galbraith, who has previously run
for elected office as a Democrat, also charged Patton with
violating campaign finance laws.
In Mississippi, Parker and Musgrove battled for the right to
replace Gov. Kirk Fordice, who is term-limited.
Virginia Republicans already held a 21-19 edge in the Senate
and maintained a majority Tuesday night. But in the General
Assembly Democrats, who had held control with 50 Democrats,
49 Republicans and one independent, who usually voted with
the GOP, lost at least two seats to the GOP.
Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore celebrates his party's victories at the polls along with his wife, Roxane, in Richmond on Tuesday
"Free at last, free at last, free at long last," Virginia's
Republican Gov. Jim Gilmore cheered after the results were
announced. "To all Virginians -- thank you for putting your
faith and trust in the Republican Party."
Republicans unseated one of the Democrats' most enduring
figures, Sen. Stanley C. Walker of Norfolk. Walker, the
Senate's president pro tempore, served 28 years in the
Senate after eight years in the House.
The win leaves Republicans free to rewrite the state's
political maps in redistricting after the 2000 census.
"If Republicans have control of the governorship, if they
have control of both the House and the Senate, they will be
able to redraw every single legislative district line after
the 2000 census. Obviously they'll be able to draw them to
their liking," said Paul Bradley of the Richmond Times-
Dispatch before the election.
The win may also gives Republicans the upper hand in a key
2000 Senate race that is likely to pit Democratic Sen. Chuck
Robb against former GOP Gov. George Allen.
The fight to control the House of Delegates centered on five
open seats, and Schneider said total spending in the race for
control could reach $25 million.
In New Jersey it appeared that Democrats were able to slightly reduce the GOP's 48-32 edge in the state assembly. Although one race remained too close to call, it appeared Wednesday morning that Democrats picked up three seats.
In Washington state, a special election for a state House seat assured the state of a continued 49-49 partisan split for another year. A Re Republican incumbent defeated his Democratic challenger in a special election in a district along the Idaho line that hasn't sent a Democrat to the Statehouse since 1936. Democrats control the state Senate and the governor's office.
Indianapolis voters chose Peterson, a former chief of staff
to former Democratic Gov. Evan Bayh, to succeed outgoing
Republican Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, now chief domestic
adviser for Texas Gov. George W. Bush's presidential
The Republican in the race, Sue Anne Gilroy, made a strong
bid for Goldsmith's seat, but Democrats had counted on both
an increase in the number of minority voters in Indianapolis
and the fact that Republicans have flocked to the suburbs, to
strengthen their bid to pick up the traditionally Republican
Together Peterson and Gilroy spent more than $5 million on
the campaign, easily making it the most expensive mayoral
race in Indianapolis history.
In addition to being the first Democrat elected mayor of
Columbus, Ohio in 28 years, Coleman earned the distinction
Tuesday night of becoming that city's first African-American
mayor. Coleman, the City Council's president, defeated
Republican Dorothy Teater, a former teacher and county
CNN's Bill Schneider had predicted that if Teater had won the race she
would have become an important figure in the 2000 election as
a woman Republican mayor of the largest city in a
Brown, a former Houston, Atlanta and New York City police
chief, faced minor opposition for his second term as Houston
In Baltimore, where Democrats outnumber Republicans about 9-
to-1, Martin O'Malley easily defeated his Republican challenger David Tufaro, a real estate developer, to win the
mayors race. O'Malley had already won the city's critical
election -- the crowded Democratic primary held in
O'Malley, who is white, will take over from the city's first
elected black mayor, Kurt Schmoke, who decided not to seek a
In Cincinnati, former Democratic Rep. Charles Luken won a
second chance at the mayor's office by earning the most
votes of 20 candidates who were running for nine City Council
seats. Luken previously was the city's mayor from 1984 to 1990.
The current mayor, Democrat Roxanne Qualls was prevented by
law from seeking another term.
Democrat Ross "Rocky" Anderson won the Salt Lake City
mayor's race Tuesday, defeating fellow Democrat Stuart Reid.
Anderson's win seemed preordained after he topped an 11-man
field during October's primary.
One of the most watched ballot initiatives this year was
voted on in San Francisco, where voters approved a proposal that would ban the $1 and $2 surcharges paid by users of automated teller machines.
It passed 58 percent to 42 percent, but the banking industry has promised a court fight, saying federally chartered banks are not subject to local and state laws. No court in the nation has ruled specifically on an ATM fee ban.
Voters in Maine approved Tuesday a proposition legalizing
marijuana for medicinal uses but rejected another proposal
banning late-term abortions by a vote of 55 percent to 45 percent.
The medical-marijuana referendum, which passed 62 percent to 38 percent, authorizes possession and use for specific medical conditions when patients are advised by a doctor they might benefit from the drug.
In Washington, voters approved a sweeping tax-revolt plan. Initiative 695, a citizen plan that developed when the state amassed a billion-dollar surplus but lawmakers did nothing to reduce one of the country's highest car license fees, passed 57 percent to 43 percent.
The initiative also included a requirement for a public vote on all future tax increases at the state or local level.
Four cities also voted on initiatives involving professional
Voters in St. Paul, Minnesota, rejected a measure increasing
sales taxes to help fund a new baseball stadium for the
Minnesota Twins. A proposition in Scottsdale, Arizona,
to allow developers of a new arena for the NHL's Phoenix
Coyotes to recover all sales taxes generated at the venue for
five years was approved.
In Texas, Houston residents defeated a measure that called for spending $100 million in public funds on a downtown arena for the Houston Rockets and a possible future hockey team. San Antonio voters approved an increase in hotel and car rental taxes to help fund a $175 million arena for the Spurs basketball team.
CNN's Bruce Morton and The Associated Press.