- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 7, 2000

Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, under fire for supporting homosexual rights, won re-election Tuesday over a challenger opposed to the new law creating civil unions for same-sex couples.
In West Virginia, a Democrat ousted Gov. Cecil Underwood, a Republican.
Delaware voters elected a woman as governor for the first time Tuesday, but a similar trailblazing bid by cancer-stricken Heidi Heitkamp fell short in North Dakota.
In all, 11 governorships were at stake, seven of them held by Democrats.
Two races remained unsettled early Wednesday — in GOP-held Montana and Democratic-held Missouri.
Of the first nine races decided, only the West Virginia result marked a change in party control. Mr. Underwood, at 78 the nation's oldest governor, was defeated by U.S. Rep. Bob Wise.
In Vermont, Mr. Dean won a fifth term despite furor over the civil-union bill that he signed in April, giving marriage-like rights to gay and lesbian couples.
With 72 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Dean had 51 percent of the votes, compared to 38 percent for Republican Ruth Dwyer, who favored repealing the law.
Vermont's Constitution says the Legislature chooses the governor if no candidate gets 50 percent. But Miss Dwyer conceded the race and indicated she would not pursue her campaign even if Mr. Dean did fall short of the outright majority.
Heading into the election, the states had 30 Republican governors, 18 Democrats and two independents.
The Republicans retained control in Utah, where Gov. Mike Leavitt won re-election, and in North Dakota, where Miss Heitkamp lost to banker John Hoeven.
Miss Heitkamp, the Democratic attorney general, was diagnosed with breast cancer in September, had her right breast removed and is undergoing chemotherapy.
Democrats retained control in Washington, Delaware, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Indiana.
In Washington, incumbent Gary Locke, the nation's first Chinese-American governor, defeated Republican John Carlson, a former radio talk-show host.
Delaware's Lt. Gov. Ruth Ann Minner, who in the 1970s worked as a statehouse receptionist, easily defeated former state lawmaker John Burris, a Republican. In near-complete returns, she had 59 percent of the votes.
For New Hampshire, beset by a school-financing crisis, it was a milestone election. Incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, shifting from her previous stance, became the first candidate in decades to win without taking "the pledge" to veto a state income tax.
In North Carolina, Attorney General Mike Easley defeated Republican Richard Vinroot, a former mayor of Charlotte. Popular Gov. James Hunt, a Democrat, was barred by a term limit from re-election.
Gov. Frank O'Bannon won a second four-year term in Indiana, defeating Republican U.S. Rep. David McIntosh. Mr. O'Bannon led 57 percent to 42 percent with 89 percent of the precincts reporting.
One of the closest races was in Missouri, where outgoing Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash last month while campaigning for the U.S. Senate. His successor will be either State Treasurer Bob Holden, a Democrat, or U.S. Rep. Jim Talent, a Republican.
In Vermont, exit polling illustrated the divisiveness of civil unions.
Of 832 responses — the largest sample yet polled on the issue in Vermont — 51 percent declared themselves either enthusiastic or supportive of the law, and 47 percent were opposed to or angry about the new law. The four-point difference was equal to the margin of sampling error in the Voter News Service poll.

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