THOUGH VOTERS in this region didn't exactly hop aboard the GOP bandwagon with the same gusto as their counterparts elsewhere in the country, the election results in this area and those from around the country nevertheless will have a significant and direct impact on the handling of Greater Washington's local affairs from center-city to outlying suburbs.
In the District, where even the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz could have predicted the outcomes before anyone punched a ballot, there will be noticeable changes in the makeup of the city's federal overseers, from the election of a new president to the congressional victories of two Republicans in Northern Virginia and the dramatic change of party control in the Senate.
No doubt the last thing to occur to Ronald Reagan is that he now becomes the municipal stepfather of a fiercely Democratic, mostly black and peculiarly powerless city that has just voted to try to become a state. Though the bad old days of complete federal control over the District are no longer, the president still automatically holds considerable sway over local affairs; and he remains a pivotal figure in efforts to increase self-government and establish the fiscal autonomy of the District. This may not be a riveting concern of the president-elect, but we do hope the new administration will work to understand the unique problems of the District and to speed the day when far fewer of these concerns will require White House time and attention to resolve.
Certainly love and devotion to District affairs were not standards by which voters in nearby Maryland and Virginia chose as they did in their congressional contests. The region's congressional caucus did lose two dedicated members in Reps. Joseph L. Fisher and Herbert Harris, who both recognized the complementary relationship of their constituents' interests and regional concerns.
Their successors, Republicans Frank Wolf and Stanford Parris, may bring to Congress some vastly different ideas about national and world affairs, but each has indicated an intention to continue working on such regional interests as Metro construction, federal employee problems and cutbacks in the flight traffic at National Airport. Neither congressman-to-be is eager to serve on the House District Committee, which many D.C. residents may believe is just as well but which may not protect Virginians' interests to the fullest.
In Maryland, the reelection of Democrats Michael Barnes and Gladys Spellman was solid endorsement of strong regional cooperation. Similarly, the reelection of Republican Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr., coupled with GOP control of the Senate, will mean not only stronger representation of Maryland and Virginia -- Sens. Mathias and John Warner will be the Republicans to see about judgeships, etc. -- but a marked increase in Sen. Mathias' influence over District affairs.
This may not necessarily work to the District's benefit, though, since Sen. Mathias, as chairman of the two Senate subcommittees controlling District affairs, could be instrumental in blocking the gambling initiative or proposals for a fixed federal payment to the District -- which he says he opposes. We prefer to believe that the good judgement and regional understanding that Sen. Mathias has shown over the years will continue to benefit the entire area.