The New Senate
Former Indiana governor Evan Bayh brings to the Senate a familiar name, following the path of his father, Birch Bayh, who served as an Indiana senator from 1962 until he was defeated by Dan Quayle in 1980.
Like his father, Evan Bayh broke into politics at a young age, winning the governor's spot when he was 32. A Democrat, he was returned to office in 1992 for a second term by a comfortable margin, signaling the popularity that carried him easily into the Senate.
Bayh, 42, defeated Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke, a Republican who had trouble raising funds.
As governor, Bayh focused on improving education, early childhood programs, adult literacy and achievement tests required for high school graduation. He became known for his opposition to higher taxes and big government and he maintained that conservatism throughout this race. After a five-year stint practicing law, he served as secretary of state before moving to the governor's mansion in 1988.
Jim Bunning, a former major league baseball pitcher, may have pulled off the toughest win of his career in capturing Kentucky's open U.S. Senate seat for the Republicans.
The six-term House member defeated colleague Rep. Scott Baesler in a contest so close it nearly went into extra innings. Baesler, a Democrat, was refusing to concede the election, which was decided with only a 4,100-vote margin out of 1 million votes, according to unofficial returns. The winner claims the seat vacated by the retiring Democratic Sen. Wendell H. Ford, who held the office for 24 years.
A baseball Hall of Famer who pitched a perfect game for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964, Bunning, 67, hammered away at Baesler for his support for the North American Free Trade Agreement, charging that the treaty has sent thousands of Kentucky jobs south of the border. One of the more memorable images from the campaign's TV ad wars featured a Mexican man saying, "Muchas gracias, Señor Baesler."
After Harvard Law School, Michael D. Crapo practiced law in San Diego a year before his brother, Terry, convinced him to return to Idaho Falls and join his law practice. Four years later after his brother, a state legislator, died from cancer, Michael followed him into Idaho politics. The 47-year-old Crapo (pronounced Cray-po) easily defeated his Democratic opponent, Bill Mauk, to capture the Senate seat vacated by fellow Republican Dirk Kempthorne.
What the Senate will get with Crapo will be no surprise. He is a Mormon, father of five and a solid conservative who has counted himself a strong ally of House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
From the first, he has been on Gingrich's team; elected as the "new member leader" to the Republican leadership in 1992, then picked as one of the leaders of the sophomore class in 1994 and appointed "strategic planning leader" in 1996.
John Edwards, 45, a Democrat who defeated one-term conservative Republican Lauch Faircloth for the North Carolina Senate seat, rose from modest roots to become a wealthy personal injury lawyer who spent millions of his own money on the Senate race, his first bid for public office.
The telegenic Raleigh attorney grew up in the small town of Robbins, N.C., where his father managed a textile mill and his mother ran an antique shop. His wife, Elizabeth, is also an attorney. The couple has two young daughters, but experienced tragedy two years ago when a teenage son died in an automobile accident.
Edwards's success in suing corporations on behalf of what he called "regular people" made him rich and earned him a national reputation. With his background of filing liability suits against insurance companies, he is likely to be a strong Senate ally of President Clinton in efforts to reform the managed-care health insurance system.
Peter Fitzgerald, a millionaire Republican Illinois state senator who defeated Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, the first female African American senator, benefited more from his opponent's problems than his own name recognition or reputation.
He spent nearly $12 million borrowed against family banking funds for an ad campaign reminding voters of investigations into Moseley-Braun's finances.
Republican moderates supported his opponent in the GOP primary, concerned that his strong anti-abortion and anti-gun control stance would make him less electable, particularly among women. Fitzgerald has supported efforts to allow state residents to carry concealed weapons and opposes abortion except when the mother's life is in danger. He also is known as an energetic opponent of higher taxes.
Fitzgerald, 38, was elected to the state senate in 1993 and holds a law degree from the University of Michigan.
Two years after she quit the House to care for her infant twin sons, Blanche Lambert Lincoln is returning to Washington to replace retiring Arkansas Sen. Dale Bumpers.
Lincoln, a centrist Democrat, defeated state Sen. Fay Boozman, a conservative Republican. She becomes the first female senator from Arkansas since 1932, when Huey Long crossed state lines from Louisiana to stump for Hattie Caraway, the first woman elected to the Senate.
From an east Arkansas farming family, Lincoln, 38, began her political career answering telephones for then-Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then became a Washington lobbyist. In 1992, with Alexander mired in a House banking scandal, Lincoln defeated him in the Democratic primary and went on to win his seat.
An energetic campaigner, she traded this year on both her Washington experience and her homemaker image, readily producing snapshots of her toddlers.
Rep. Charles E. Schumer, a pugnacious Democrat, provided perhaps his party's biggest election night victory by defeating three-term New York Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato.
A Harvard-trained lawyer, the Brooklyn-born Schumer has evolved from liberal to moderate during his nine terms in the House. In his campaign, Schumer highlighted his support of gun control measures and his sponsorship of a federal law against impeding access to abortion clinics. Schumer also touted his anti-crime stance, which includes his support of the death penalty.
In the expensive race with his Republican opponent, Schumer proved to be a tough fighter, using a series of ads to drive home his theme that D'Amato, who has been accused of a series of ethical lapses, "represented too many lies for too long."
Schumer, 47, began his political career in 1974, when he was elected to the New York Assembly. He was elected to the House in 1980.
George Voinovich, a Republican who in 10 years as mayor brought the city of Cleveland out of bankrupcy and went on to become a popular two-term governor, will replace retiring Sen. John Glenn in the Senate. Voinovich, 62, a plain-spoken man who carries his lunch to the governor's office, was defeated in an earlier 1988 race against Howard Metzenbaum but this time defeated his Democratic opponent, Mary Boyle.
In his eight years as governor, Voinovich showed the annual growth of the state budget, while pursuing an activist policies on education, welfare, health care and business expansion. He has championed efforts to pour more money into Head Start and elementary and secondary education and to expand health care to uninsured families. He is opposed to abortion, but says that abortion is the law of the land and adds "let's deal in the real world." His trademark pledge is to "work harder and smarter and do more with less."
© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post