A double runoff for a senatorial nomination in Oklahoma, the abortion issue in Massachusetts and a tough battle for governor in Washington state highlight the primary election contests today.
In Washington, political maverick Dixy Lee Ray, the nuclear power advocate who swept into the governor's chair four years ago, faces a stiff challenge from liberal state Sen. Jim McDermottt, a Democrat. At the same time, three of the state's top Republicans are seeking the GOP nomination.
Republicans also are choosing a nominee to challenge the state's senior senator, Warren G. Magnuson, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate president pro tem. Magnuson, 75, is seeking his seventh term.
Both Democrats and Republicans will vote in Oklahoma to nominate candidates for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Henry Bellmon. The two Democratic candidates in the runoff are Robert Kerr Jr., son of the late U.S. senator and Oklahoma governor, and Andy Coats, a former Oklahoma County district attorney. The Republican senatorial race is between Tulsa businessman John Zink and state Sen. Don Nickles.
In Massachusetts, where two congressional seats are at stake, Roman Catholic Cardinal Humberto Medeiros has sent a letter to all parishes in the Boston Archdiocese urging Catholics to "vote to save our children, born and unborn."
In the 5th District, anti-abortion forces campaigned against incumbent James Shannon, who was challenged by businessman Robert Hatem.
In the 4th District, Barney Frank, a liberal Boston legislator, squares off against Arthur Clark, conservtive mayor of Waltham for the right to succeed U.S. Rep. Robert Drinan, a Jesuit priest who is retiring at the direction of the Vatican. Drinan has endorsed Frank.