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 TIME on politics TIME CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and TIME

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.


In this story:

Philadelphia: Most expensive campaign ever
Governors
State legislatures
Mayors
Ballot initiatives

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.

Brown
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.

Street
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.

Governors

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
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 advocate.

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 since 1800.

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.

State legislatures

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.

Gilmore celebration
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.

Mayors

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 campaign.

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 seat.

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 commissioner.

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 battleground state.

Brown, a former Houston, Atlanta and New York City police chief, faced minor opposition for his second term as Houston mayor.

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 September.

O'Malley, who is white, will take over from the city's first elected black mayor, Kurt Schmoke, who decided not to seek a fourth term.

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.

Ballot initiatives

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 sport stadiums.

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.


INTERACTIVE

1999 Kentucky gubernatorial candidate information


INTERACTIVE

1999 Mississippi gubernatorial candidate information


ELECTION 1999

1999 elections may give clue about 2000 races (10-29-99)

California voters get crack at ATM fees (10-27-99)

Mississippi gubernatorial candidates face off in final election debate (10-26-99)

Philadelphia mayor candidates debate taxes, education (10-12-99)

Analysis: The races for governor in 1999 (10-6-99)

Philly Mayor Rendell likely next chairman of DNC (9-23-99)

Musgrove, Parker win Mississippi gubernatorial primaries(8-4-99)

Publicist wins GOP gubernatorial primary in Kentucky (5-26-99)

Analysis: Mississippi's gov. race may determine bragging rights for Election '99 (2-25-99)

ELECTION 2000


ROTHENBERG

What's at stake in Election 2000
Senate Overview
House Overview
Governors Overview


CALENDAR

See how quickly the primary and caucus season will take off with this calendar.


RACES

If you need to know who's up in 1999 or 2000 and what seats are open launch this quick guide.


POLLS

Check out the latest numbers or dig back into the poll archives.


MESSAGE BOARDS

Governor's races

Democratic Presidential Primary

GOP Presidential Primary

Third Party Candidates

Congressional races

Senator Hillary Clinton?



MORE STORIES:

Wednesday, November 3, 1999

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