Former representative Robert K. Dornan (R) defeated veteran Rep. Jerry M. Patterson in a bitter and expensive race in California's conservative 38th District. Dornan gave up his old Los Angeles County seat in 1982 when he made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate.
Dornan did not try to deny that he moved into the district to run for office. He wrapped his arms around President Reagan, spent more than $1 million and repeatedly told voters that Jerry Patterson was too liberal for Orange County.
Sometimes called "B1 Bob" for his unflagging and emotional support of the B1 bomber, the flamboyant Dornan is likely to concern himself with military and defense matters. In Dornan, the president has picked up a vocal supporter on Capitol Hill. On election night, Dornan told reporters that he could not have won without Reagan's support.
Dornan, 51, is a former Air Force fighter pilot who had a successful career as a local talk-show host in Los Angeles before his first election to Congress in 1976.
The only California Republican to unseat a Democrat this year, Dornan celebrated the day after the election by filing a $10 million unfair-competition suit against Patterson. Dornan's suit was prompted by Patterson's district-wide mailing of an erroneous chart published in a local newspaper that reversed the candidates' congressional voting records and indicated that Dornan had voted against the Reagan tax-cut plan, the proposed constitutional amendment to balance the budget and a bill to deny federal funds for court-ordered busing.
The chart also indicated that Patterson, who voted against all three bills, had voted for them. During the campaign, Dornan called Patterson "a sneaky little dirtbag."
On election night, Patterson announced his intention to run again in 1986 against Dornan.
Dornan and his wife, Sallie, have five grown children.