Big winners, hot issues
Some of last week's races showed not only what happened when the hot buttons got pushed this year, but also how they may work in Election 2000
Race: Kansas' third district
Issue the christian right
The state G.O.P. chairman has called the district "the birthplace of the revolution" that empowered Christian conservatives--among them incumbent Republican Vince Snowbarger. But Democrat Dennis Moore beat back charges that he's soft on crime; he proved a safe choice for Republican moderates, who swarmed to the polls to help elect him, 52% to 48%.
Race: Pennsylvania's 15th district
Issue social security
Candidates in both parties, but usually Democrats, scare seniors with doomsday talk about Social Security. Instead, Republican Patrick Toomey proffered something to support--a plan to partly privatize Social Security. Opponent Roy Afflerbach seemed out of touch and defensive in tagging Toomey's plan too "risky." He lost what had been a Democratic seat, 55% to 45%.
Race: North Carolina's second district
Issue: the lewinsky scandal
In August, Dan Page became the first Republican candidate to assault his foe with a Lewinsky ad. The Washington Post noticed, generating national attention and dollars for Page. Other G.O.P. candidates then made their own scandal spots. But the strategy flopped in a rural district that Bob Dole easily won in 1996. Incumbent Democrat Bob Etheridge won by 15 percentage points.
Race: Mississippi's fourth district
Issue: African-American turnout
The district is represented by a retiring Democrat-turned-Republican, which has made it a bitter battleground. Democrats picked a conservative, Ronnie Shows, who might easily have lost to the G.O.P.'s Delbert Hosemann, an attorney, but for the fact that blacks turned out in big numbers to express support for Clinton. Shows didn't even have to sweat that much; he won, 53% to 45%.
Race: Colorado's second district
Democrats usually edge Republicans here, but it is always close. After nominating conservatives in the past, this time the G.O.P. picked Bob Greenlee, a popular Boulder mayor and zillionaire with a giant campaign fund. Democrat Mark Udall had a giant issue working for him. He said the U.S. should hire 100,000 new teachers. Greenlee scoffed. And lost, 50% to 47%.
Race: Wisconsin's second district
Issue: health-care reform
Even as voters elsewhere crushed gay-marriage proposals, no one in this moderate district much cared that Democrat Tammy Baldwin is a lesbian. And they loved her constant talk about health care. Forget HMOs: Baldwin backed universal care and suggested her opponent, former state insurance commissioner Josephine Musser, would parrot the industry line. The negative ads worked; Musser lost by 6 percentage points.
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Cover Date: November 16, 1998