Profiles of Non-Incumbent Winners
Profiles by Washington Post Staff Writers
November 3, 2004
Illinois -- Melissa Bean (D)
Democrat Melissa Bean, 42, a high-tech consultant, ousted the House's longest-serving member, Illinois Republican Rep. Philip M. Crane, in a race that turned on criticism that Crane was Congress's "junket king," and that, despite his seniority, he had failed to deliver for his district.
Bean's success in exurban Chicago -- the state's most Republican congressional district -- reflected the growing dissatisfaction with Crane's performance after 17 terms in Congress.
Bean, who ran a strong race against Crane in 2002, highlighted her business background in stressing the need for Congress to foster job creation and economic development.
Her candidacy was boosted by a flurry of endorsements, notably from the Chicago Tribune, which predicted that she would bring energy to a congressional office that Crane, 74, had come to treat as a "cozy sinecure."
Kentucky -- Geoff Davis (R)
Republicans wrested a hotly contested open House seat from the Democratic column in electing business consultant Geoff Davis over well-known former TV anchorman Nick Clooney.
Davis, who said his priorities would be cutting health care costs and creating jobs, won in a conservative district that stretches east from Louisville to the West Virginia border. He was aided on the stump by appearances with Vice President Cheney and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Clooney, brother of the late singer Rosemary Clooney and father of Hollywood actor George Clooney, was not without star power of his own.
Davis, who won an appointment to West Point in 1977, has said he will bring to Congress his experience in the military and in the Middle East. In 1985, Davis served as director of U.S. Army Aviation Operations, overseeing the enforcement of the peace accords between Israel and Egypt. He subsequently started a consulting business that worked with the military.
New York -- Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.)
The son of a schoolteacher and a bricklayer, Democratic New York Assemblyman Brian Higgins won a House seat in the South Buffalo area by stressing his blue-collar roots and support from labor unions. He beat Erie County Comptroller Nancy A. Naples, a former Wall Street banker, for the House seat held for years by GOP Rep. Jack Quinn, who is retiring.
Quinn was widely known as one of the most pro-labor Republicans in Congress. Higgins had fought his way to the general election this week by winning a tough four-way Democratic primary in September.
In recent weeks, Higgins arranged visits to the district by a string of Democratic luminaries such as New York Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles E. Schumer.
A former Buffalo city council member, Higgins enjoyed an advantage in his race because Democrats outnumber Republicans in the heavily working-class district by 73,000.
Wisconsin -- Gwendolynn Moore (D)
Wisconsin will send its first African American to Congress after electing Gwendolynn S. Moore, a Milwaukee Democrat, who has spent a decade in the state Senate.
Moore campaigned on a commitment to the progressive politics of retiring Democratic Rep. Gerald D. Kleczka, including strong opposition to U.S. military interventionism abroad.
Moore, 53, graduated from Marquette University and spent a career in government after an inauspicious early start as a teenage mother who needed help from welfare. She drew heavily on her own story in relating to constituents, defeating Milwaukee lawyer and Persian Gulf War Marine veteran Gerald H. Boyle for the right to represent the heavily Democratic district.
The campaign centered on health care, Social Security and the war in Iraq, which Moore contended is based on "misinformation and lies" and has cost the United States international respect.
Texas -- Ted Poe (R)
Republican Ted Poe, who won a newly created House seat in Texas by beating Democratic incumbent Rep. Nick Lampson, is a former state district judge who earned a national reputation for crafting creative sentences that shamed convicted criminals. He called his approach -- including such sentences as requiring murderers to hang pictures of their victims on their prison cell walls -- "Poe-tic justice."
His unusual courtroom tactics during a 22-year judicial career led to an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's television show, among other media invitations.
The recently redrawn 2nd Congressional District outside Houston that Poe won includes the city of Beaumont and some well-to-do suburbs whose conservative residents responded well to his tough law enforcement stands.
Poe favors a flat income tax, whereby all taxpayers pay the same percentage while limiting deductions, as well as President Bush's foreign policy priorities, including strong support for Israel.
Washington -- David G. Reichert (R)
Republican David G. Reichert, who won the open House seat of retiring six-term GOP Rep. Jennifer Dunn in suburban Seattle, has served for seven years as the sheriff of King County, Wash.
With his meticulously coiffed silvery mane and muscular bearing, Reichert used his image as a solid law-enforcement officer to political advantage. Until now, his claim to fame has been his work as a young detective decades ago in investigating the Green River serial killer. Last year, a man named Gary Ridgway pleaded guilty to the murder of 48 women, many of them prostitutes.
During the campaign against Democrat Dave Ross, a liberal radio talk-show host, Reichert at times showed a lack of familiarity with the minutiae of some policy debates, but his campaign stressed his gritty face-offs with criminals during his law enforcement career.
Reichert is more conservative than Dunn. He opposes abortion except in cases of incest or rape, and is against renewing the ban on assault weapons.
More New Representative ProfilesCalifornia
Dan Lungren (R)
Jim Costa (D)
John Salazar (D)
Connie Mack (R)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D)
Cynthia McKinney (D)
Thomas Price (R)
Lynn Westmoreland (R)
Daniel Lipinski (D)
John "Joe" Schwarz (R)
Russ Carnahan (D)
Emanuel Cleaver (D)
Jeff Fortenberry (R)
John Kuhl (R)
Virginia Foxx (R)
Patrick McHenry (R)
Dan Boren (D)
Mike Fitzpatrick (R)
Allyson Schwartz (D)
Charlie Dent (R)
Bob Inglis (R)
Louis Gohmert (R)
Al Green (D)
Michael McCaul (R)
Mike Conoway (R)
Kenny Marchant (R)
Henry Cuellar (D)
Thelma Drake (R)
Cathy McMorris (R)