Regional Election Summary: The Mid-Atlantic
In Delaware's only contest for national office, Rep. Michael N. Castle (R) won easy reelection to the state's lone House seat over Democratic challenger Dennis Williams. Castle, a former governor and chairman of the House Banking subcommittee on monetary policy, has been an influential moderate able to put together bipartisan coalitions in the deeply partisan House.
Voters in the District and North Carolina teamed up to give the city a fresh start. Anthony A. Williams (D), who came to Washington to manage the city's finances only three years ago, won an easy victory for mayor over Carol Schwartz (R). The election ended the 16-year tenure of retiring Mayor Marion Barry. The sense of new beginning was sharpened by the defeat in North Carolina of Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R), who had worked assiduously to trim the mayor's authority under home rule.
Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) easily won a fifth term as the city's nonvoting delegate in the House.
Embattled Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) defeated Republican Ellen Sauerbrey for the second time in four years to retain his office. Glendening garnered 56 percent of the vote to Sauerbrey's 44 percent. Glendening, an awkward campaigner, was considered the most threatened sitting governor in the nation. But the distrust and opposition he earned from black voting blocks in Baltimore and Prince George's County dissipated in the face of the close contest mounted by the conservative Sauerbrey in the most expensive gubernatorial race in state history. Exit polls showed the proportion of black voters increased from 12 percent in the 1994 gubernatorial election to 19 percent this year.
Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, eldest daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, was reelected, as was her cousin, state Del. Mark Shriver, son of former Peace Corps director R. Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Former governor William Donald Schaefer (D) was elected state comptroller, giving him a role in selecting state contractors.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) of Baltimore took 71 percent of the vote to demolish perennial Republican candidate Ross Pierpont.
All Maryland House incumbents won, including Republican Rep. Constance A. Morella, who faced a spirited challenge from civil rights activist Ralph Neas.
In the legislature, Democrats increased their dominance in the 141-seat House, raising their numbers from 100 to at least 105, with four races still undecided. Democrats retain 32 of 47 Senate seats with the possibility of picking up two more.
Five-term Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D) easily defeated 27-year-old political scientist Mike Ferguson (R) despite a $1.8 million ad campaign against him by business groups opposed to reform of health management organizations.
"I will tell the insurance industry right now: We're not scared at all, because we did fine," Pallone said.
Democrats feared a close race, worrying that Green Party candidate Carl Mayer would take away from Pallone's count. But Pallone, who attracted support of ethnic groups, such as Armenian Americans, won by more than 20,000 votes, and Mayer garnered only 1,264 votes.
In a battle with generational and ideological overtones, Democrat John Edwards, 45, ousted one-term GOP Sen. Lauch Faircloth, 70. Edwards, a wealthy trial lawyer from Raleigh making his first bid for elective office, represented the state's moderate, up-and-coming urban and suburban class, while Faircloth, a multimillionaire hog farmer, drew strength from the state's conservative, agrarian roots.
Edwards's victory removes one of President Clinton's most implacable conservative enemies in the Senate, who was also a major political nemesis of the District of Columbia. As chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the District, Faircloth almost singlehandedly stripped outgoing Mayor Marion Barry of most of his authority.
The articulate, telegenic Edwards, running as a "different kind of Democrat," relied on broad themes and funding from his own pocket and well-heeled fellow lawyers.
Some commentators described the contest as a proxy battle between trial lawyers and the insurance industry, two potent lobbies. Edwards put himself squarely behind the movement to reform health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Several health insurance groups ran ads in North Carolina portraying trial lawyers as villains in the health care reform debate, but a group backed by trial lawyers responded with ads of their own.
In a key House race, the GOP picked up the seat vacated by veteran Rep. W.G. "Bill" Hefner (D), when textile heir Robert "Robin" Hayes, an unsuccessful candidate for governor in 1996, narrowly defeated Democratic attorney Mike Taylor. But in the redrawn 12th District, the Democratic incumbent, Rep. Melvin Watt, easily defeated GOP opponent John Scott Keadle, a dentist. Watt will return to Congress to defend President Clinton from his seat on the Judiciary Committee.
With Gov. Tom Ridge (R) and Sen. Arlen Specter (R) cruising to easy victories over two little-known Democratic state representatives, election night interest focused on three tight House races.
Democrats hoped to pick up the Scranton-based seat occupied for 36 years by outgoing Rep. Joseph M. McDade (R) by running attorney Patrick Casey (D), son of popular former governor Bob Casey. But GOP car dealer Donald Sherwood eked out the victory, by fewer than 600 votes.
Democrats had better success in the Philadelphia suburbs, where Joseph Hoeffel III won a rematch with Rep. Jon D. Fox (R) by a comfortable margin. Fox, a member of the Banking Committee, proved unable to consolidate his hold on the district, which he won two years ago by fewer than 100 votes.
Republicans offset that loss in the battle for the open seat representing Allentown, when businessman Patrick Toomey (R) defeated Democratic state Sen. Roy Afflerbach (D).
Democrats picked up one seat in the 203-member Pennsylvania House, reducing the GOP's majority to 103-100. In the Senate, the Republicans held their 30-20 edge of control.
With no statewide offices in play, the most interest was generated by incumbent Democrat James P. Moran Jr.'s House race in a district that covers the close-in Washington suburbs. Moran, who has called on President Clinton to consider resigning over the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal, won by 2 to 1 over Republican Demaris Miller of McLean.
There was no contest for statewide office and the state's three House members, all Democrats, were easily reelected.
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