- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Elizabeth Dole emerged victorious from a crowded field of Republicans in yesterday's primary for the North Carolina Senate seat being vacated by incumbent Republican Sen. Jesse Helms.
On the Democratic side, Clinton administration Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles topped a field of nine candidates for the nomination to face Mrs. Dole.
Mrs. Dole, a Cabinet secretary under Presidents Reagan and George Bush, easily defeated six other Republicans.
North Carolina was one of 12 states and the District of Columbia to hold primaries yesterday. Both parties are closely monitoring the primaries, a sort of Super Tuesday for midterm elections, to gauge support for their agendas and to predict turnout for November's general election.
Congress is split, with Democrats holding a 50-49 edge in the Senate, aided by an independent, and Republicans holding a 223-209 edge in the House, which also has one independent who usually sides with Democrats. There are currently two vacancies in the House.
In New Hampshire, Sen. Robert C. Smith was defeated in his bid for renomination for a third term by Rep. John E. Sununu, becoming the first Republican incumbent in 20 years to lose in a primary. With 87 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Smith trailed by 8 percentage points.
Also in New Hampshire, state Sen. Beverly Hollingworth conceded the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to fellow state Sen. Mark Fernald, who led by 10 percentage points with 90 percent of precincts tallied. On the Republican side, tech-boom multimillionaire Craig Benson beat former U.S. Sen. Gordon Humphrey and former state Sen. Bruce Keough. The seat was left open by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat.
In Georgia, state Rep. Billy McKinney, the father of U.S. Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney, lost his renomination bid in the runoff Democratic primary to John Noel. Mrs. McKinney, who is black, lost her own renomination bid on Aug. 20, and her father had blamed Jewish donors for her ouster.
In Wisconsin, with three-fourths of precincts reporting, Jim Doyle was leading a three-way contest for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination with 38 percent of the vote. They are vying for the chance to take on incumbent Gov. Scott McCallum, who won his party's own primary, but is seen as vulnerable in the general election.
In Florida, former Secretary of State Katherine Harris easily won the Republican nomination in a House district where the Republican nominee is almost certain to win the general election.Democrats were fighting hard for the chance to take on potentially vulnerable Republican incumbents in two primaries:
In Maryland, state Sen. Christopher Van Hollen lead state Delegate Mark K. Shriver 30,885 to 26,525 with 89 percent of precincts reporting in a four-way Democratic field seeking the nomination to take on eight-term Rep. Constance A. Morella. Mrs. Morella, a liberal Republican, has been re-elected consistently in a Democratic-leaning district drawn even more so in redistricting this year.
Back in North Carolina, Chris Kouri topped a field of four candidates in the race to take on Republican Rep. Robin Hayes in the 8th Congressional District.
Democrats feel Mr. Hayes is vulnerable because of his critical vote to give President Bush "fast-track" trade-negotiating authority, which is unpopular among residents who blame free-trade agreements for costing the region many textile jobs. Also, the district was redrawn to be slightly more Democratic.
But the marquee race in North Carolina was for the right to face Mrs. Dole in the contest to succeed the retiring Mr. Helms.Mrs. Dole was handpicked by Republicans in Washington to fill the seat.
On the Democratic side, some observers had given state Rep. Dan Blue a shot at defeating Mr. Bowles, the clear front-runner, calculating that as a black candidate Mr. Blue could draw enough support in a low-turnout election. But Mr. Bowles put together a solid statewide organization and far outraised and outspent his opponents.

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