- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Republicans held control of both chambers of Congress last night, but Democrats made major gains in the Senate.
Well after 1 a.m. in the East, the national trend showed Republicans had won 202 seats and were leading in 21 more, with 218 required to maintain control. Democrats had won 180 seats, and were leading in 30 more.
In the Senate, Democrats gained three seats and were close in another race, meaning they stood a chance of tying the Senate 50-50. Republican Vice President Richard B. Cheney would break any tie votes, giving Republicans control.
Democrats grabbed an open Senate seat in Florida, formerly held by Republican Sen. Connie Mack, as state Insurance Commissioner Bill Nelson defeated Rep. Bill McCollum.
In Delaware, Gov. Thomas R. Carper unseated 30-year incumbent Sen. William V. Roth Jr., a Republican.
Democrat Mark Dayton beat Republican freshman Sen. Rod Grams, who was widely seen as too conservative for the liberal state of Minnesota and waged an anemic campaign against the well-funded department store heir.
In Missouri, Sen. John Ashcroft lost to the late Gov. Mel Carnahan, who died in a plane crash last month. The Democratic governor has said he will appoint Mr. Carnahan's widow, Jean, to fill her husband's term, but Republicans have hinted they might challenge the election.
In Washington state, former Rep. Maria Cantwell knocked off Sen. Slade Gorton.
By 2 a.m., Democrats had picked up one open seat and four Republican seats while Republicans had won two Democratic seats, a net gain for the Democrats of at least three seats. The race in Michigan was too close to call.
"We're very encouraged… . We've got a lot to look forward to tonight," Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, told CNN as he watched his number of seats increase.
Democrats successfully defended two key open seats that Republicans had hoped to pick up: First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton beat Rep. Rick Lazio to succeed Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, and businessman Jon Corzine beat Rep. Bob Franks to replace Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey.
Despite gains in the Senate, Democrats fell short of gaining control of the House, where they needed only eight seats. They failed to defeat vulnerable Republican incumbents and even lost one of their own seasoned veterans, Rep. Sam Gejdenson of Connecticut.
Mr. Gejdenson, a 10-term incumbent and one of the most strident Democratic partisans in the House, lost to Rob Simmons, a former Senate staffer.
Democrat Brad Carson did manage to pick up an open Republican seat in Oklahoma, vacated by Rep. Tom Coburn. It was a major success for Democrats in the state, who had seen their once-dominant position collapse over the last decade.
Republicans were able to protect vulnerable GOP incumbents in Kentucky and Indiana and managed to protect an open seat in Illinois, despite a strong showing in the state by Mr. Gore. They held the New York seat being vacated by Mr. Lazio and picked up a seat in Pennsylvania vacated by Rep. Ron Klink, who ran unsuccessfully for Senate.
The early results appeared to dash hopes by Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, of becoming speaker. He had been confidently predicting a Democratic triumph for more than two years and even backed away from an expected primary challenge to Mr. Gore after Democrats unexpectedly picked up five seats in the 1998 election, putting him within striking distance of becoming speaker.
Democrats relentlessly criticized the Republicans, saying they were unable to get anything done. Mr. Gephardt once said Republicans were unable to "run a one-car funeral."
But Republicans said Democrats were deliberately stalling bills and obstructing progress.
"Gephardt and company starting with Al Gore at the very top never reached out to Republicans," said Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican and a member of the centrist Republican Mainstreet Partnership.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican, appeared confident as the last polls closed on the West Coast.
"We're doing as well as we can expect," he told CNN. "It's going to be a very long night, we've got to see what happens in California obviously, but I feel good about the position we're in."
The position was less promising for Republican leaders in the Senate, where the GOP picked up only two Democratic seats: in Nevada, where John Ensign took a seat vacated by retiring Democrat Richard H. Bryan, and in Virginia, where former Gov. George F. Allen beat Democratic Sen. Charles S. Robb, also a former governor.
Republicans did manage to protect Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who had been considered vulnerable early in the campaign season. Even Democrats admitted that Mr. Klink ran a poor race against the freshman Republican.
Democrats were particularly interested in defeating Mr. McCollum, who was one of the House managers who prosecuted the impeachment case against President Clinton in the Senate. Despite his low-key style, Mr. McCollum is one of the most outspoken Republican partisans in the House.
In Delaware, Mr. Roth was apparently hurt by his age 79 and his dry campaign style against the dynamic and popular governor. Mr. Roth is the chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.
Republicans took some comfort, however, in the defeat of Mr. Robb, considered the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent. His popularity sagged after the married senator was romantically linked with a former beauty queen. He narrowly held off a challenge by Oliver L. North in 1994 and Republicans have been eager for a rematch.
Senate Democrats held out little hope of picking up control of the Senate until this summer, when Georgia Sen. Paul Coverdell died unexpectedly of a stroke. The Democratic governor of Georgia quickly appointed the popular former Democratic Gov. Zell Miller to fill the seat.
That change cut the Republican lead to 54-46 and put the Democrats within striking distance to tie or even take control. Mr. Miller won a full term last night.
Democrats had less success in the House. In Kentucky, Mrs. Northup beat state Rep. Eleanor Jordan and Mr. Fletcher beat former Rep. Scotty Baesler, who held the seat before Mr. Fletcher.
Kentucky was considered a major battleground a heavily Democratic state with Republican congressmen who looked ripe for picking. Mr. Fletcher, a freshmen, won his 1998 race with only 53 percent of the vote. Mrs. Northup, in her second term, won by only 51 percent in 1998.
Mr. Baesler, however, waged a relatively low-key campaign and was hurt by interference by national Democratic officials, who ran an ad in the district that turned out to be untrue and was removed from several TV stations.
In Mrs. Northup's district, around Louisville, Mrs. Jordan was unable to overcome her low name recognition and a concerted effort by national Republicans to prop up their incumbent.
While both sides had some reason to cheer after early returns, the makeup of the next Congress was far from settled as polls closed across the East Coast. Democrats were counting on close races in California and Washington to bolster their House numbers.
The most closely watched race in California was between Rep. James E. Rogan and state Sen. Adam Schiff. Mr. Rogan, another of the House impeachment managers, has never even gotten 51 percent of the vote in either of his previous races and was considered the most vulnerable Republican even before his role in impeachment.
Republicans, meanwhile, were hoping for an upset victory in California's San Joaquin Valley, where former Fresno TV anchorman Rich Rodriguez had run an unexpectedly strong race against 10-year Democratic incumbent Cal Dooley, a close ally of Vice President Al Gore.

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