Voters in the Northeast dumped a Republican governor in Rhode Island, installed an independent governor in Connecticut, elected the first GOP governor in Massachusetts in 16 years and sent a Vermont socialist to Congress as anger over the troubled economy fueled a shake-up across the region.

Tuesday's returns also contained strong messages for two of the Democratic Party's potential 1992 presidential candidates, with New Jersey voters throwing a scare into Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.) and 46 percent of New Yorkers voting for obscure opponents against Gov. Mario M. Cuomo (D).

While most members of Congress in the region were reelected, conservative Rep. Chuck Douglas (R-N.H.) and moderate Rep. Doug Walgren (D-Pa.) fell victim to the anti-incumbent tide.CONNECTICUT

Former Republican senator Lowell P. Weicker Jr. led the three-way race for governor from the day he bolted the party and declared his independent candidacy. Weicker squeaked by with 40 percent of the vote, followed by conservative Rep. John G. Rowland (R) with 38 percent and liberal Rep. Bruce A. Morrison (D) with 20 percent. Rowland closed strongly by questioning Weicker's financial dealings and conduct in the Senate.

Although the state's ailing economy prompted the retirement of Gov. William A. O'Neill (D), Weicker said little about his fiscal plans, calling on voters to reject the two-party system and back his newly formed Connecticut Party. The liberal Weicker, who lost his Senate seat to Joseph I. Lieberman (D) two years ago, appealed strongly to Democratic voters after concluding he would have trouble getting his own party's nomination.

Weicker "has built an entire career on being an outsider," said political analyst Jay Severin. "He's been called maverick so many times that Connecticut voters believe it's on his birth certificate."

One surprise came in the 5th District, where former representative Toby Moffett (D), who had recently moved into the district, was upset by Gary Franks, a black Republican. Moffett had been a prominent House liberal in the 1970s and the contest was seen as a test of whether his philosophy could prevail in the 1990s.

Weicker spokeswoman Avice Meehan said the former senator benefited from "the collapse of the Democratic Party" and a strong pro-abortion rights stance that contrasted with Rowland's belated switch to advocating abortion rights. With voters worried about the economy, she said, Weicker's experience -- "the only man in the race with gray hair" -- proved reassuring. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Sharon Pratt Dixon (D) won election as mayor with 85 percent of the vote, crushing former D.C. police chief Maurice T. Turner (R). Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) easily defeated Harry Singleton (R) for the District's nonvoting congressional seat, despite controversy over Norton's failure to file income tax returns. DELAWARE

The ill-fated 1988 presidential candidacy of Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D) did not hurt him back home as Biden captured 63 percent of the vote in winning a fourth term against M. Jane Brady (R), a deputy state attorney general. Brady tried to revive some of the plagiarism charges against Biden that wrecked his presidential bid, but made little headway. MAINE

After a see-saw battle, Gov. John R. "Jock" McKernan Jr. (R) held on to win a second term against former governor Joseph E. Brennan (D), 47 percent to 44 percent. Brennan tried to reclaim his old job after four years in the House and took an early lead by attacking McKernan's handling of the economic downturn. But the federal budget deadlock put the congressman on the defensive.

"Brennan tried to pin the economic and development problems that hit most of the states on McKernan," said Willis Lyford, spokesman for the governor. He said McKernan "tried to demonstrate that he did a better job than other governors in the East" without raising taxes.

McKernan criticized Brennan for flip-flopping on abortion (both candidates now say they support abortion rights) and whether to keep the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant open. MARYLAND

Rep. Roy Dyson (D), a pro-defense lawmaker who was rocked by disclosures about his financial ties to military contractors and his use of conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War, lost to high school teacher Wayne T. Gilchrest (R). As expected, Gov. William Donald Schaefer (D) cruised to a second term with 60 percent of the vote, defeating William S. Shepard (R), a political novice who picked his wife as his running mate. MASSACHUSETTS

Former assistant U.S. attorney general William F. Weld (R), who trailed in the governor's race a week ago, rode a late surge and widepsread public anger at the Democratic Party to overtake Boston University President John R. Silber (D), 52 percent to 48 percent.

Weld, a wealthy Boston Brahmin, won despite the fact that the tax-cutting initiative he embraced was defeated by a wide margin. A moderate on social issues and supporter of abortion rights, the former U.S. attorney in Boston portrayed himself as "Attila the Hun" on crime and exploited the public resentment at retiring Gov. Michael S. Dukakis (D), who raised taxes after his "Massachusetts Miracle" collapsed.

Silber, who became known for his "Silber shockers" that offended blacks, the elderly and other groups, sparked new controversy in recent days by declaring that working women should stay at home with their children and by shouting at a popular Boston anchorwoman.

"A huge percentage of Weld's vote were people who were afraid of Silber," said Democratic consultant Michael Goldman. "If John Silber hand't screwed up in the last week, he would've won this fight."

Silber blunted his anti-establishment message by appearing with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D), Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II (D) and local mayors even as he was denouncing the party apparatus, Goldman said.

Weld, who was endorsed by the liberal Boston Globe, courted Democratic constituencies in a state where no Republican has won statewide office since the early 1970s. Weld staged a rally last weekend with feminists, gay rights activists, union members and environmentalists. Silber dismissed him as an "orange-headed WASP."

Rep. Barney Frank (D) was reelected with 66 percent of the vote, despite having been disciplined by the House ethics committee over his relationship with a male prostitute. Sen. John F. Kerry (D) easily defeated millionaire developer Jim Rappaport (R). NEW HAMPSHIRE

Despite the economic slump, Gov. Judd Gregg (R), who succeeded White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu, crushed former Democratic state chairman J. Joseph Grandmaison.

Gregg, elected in 1988 on an antitax platform, this year signed into law millions of dollars in tax and fee increases to close a budget deficit. Nevertheless, when Grandmaison suggested that some taxes should be considered to relieve the burden on property levies, the governor assailed him as a high-tax liberal. Gregg also criticized President Bush for abandoning his no-new-taxes pledge.

Conservative Rep. Robert Smith (R) easily beat former senator John Durkin (D) to win the Senate seat being vacated by Gordon J. Humphrey (R).

Rep. Douglas (R), an outspoken opponent of abortion, was defeated by architect Dick Swett (D), the son-in-law of Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), who helped Swett raise funds. A Douglas aide said the abortion issue was not a major factor in the race, but said the freshman congressman was handicapped by being stuck in Washington during the budget deadlock. Douglas was also hurt by publicity about his three divorces, which may have prompted Swett's campaign slogan: "Integrity for a Change." NEW JERSEY

After spending $12 million against little-known challenger Christine Todd Whitman (R), Bradley escaped with a narrow, 51-49 victory that stunned the political establishment.

Bradley was nearly buried by a voter revolt against Gov. Jim Florio (D) over the largest tax increase in state history. Analysts said Bradley hurt himself by refusing to take a position on the tax issue and running low-key commercials with pictures of him shooting baskets.

"Bradley ducked the {tax} issue . . . . He never gave people a reason to vote for him," said GOP consultant Stephen Salmore.

"It's been a few years since I was in a double overtime," the former basketball star told supporters. He said he had learned "that you don't think politicians have much to offer . . . . You've got my word, I'll try to make things better."

Whitman, a former public utilities commissioner who raised $1 million, made herself a credible alternative. Janice Ballou, director of the Eagleton Institute at Rutgers University, said Bradley's insistence that he was in no position to affect a state tax increase "was not really satisfying to voters. Whitman was able to personify the uneasiness and dissatisfaction . . . . Whitman capitalized by saying, 'You're supposed to be a tax expert, don't you even have a position on it?' "

In a recent debate, Bradley said voters were angry over the state tax increase but that "I'm not going to exploit that anger for political purposes."

"You should have an opinion on this," Whitman shot back.

Bradley spokesman Bob McHugh said the Florio tax backlash was a factor and that the senator "had only a week to campaign" because of the prolonged congressional budget debate. NEW YORK

Cuomo, who was reelected in 1986 with 65 percent of the vote, slipped to 53 percent in winning a third term. Millionaire economist Pierre Rinfret (R), whose candidacy became a national joke when he attacked the GOP leaders who picked him, had 22 percent, edging Conservative Party nominee Herbert London, who had 21 percent. An environmental bond issue championed by Cuomo also was defeated.

Analyst Severin said Cuomo's showing was unimpressive against a "buffoon" like Rinfret, who proposed selling off New York's bridges and airports and promised to leave the state if he lost.

"Cuomo has been a Teflon governor, and part of that is the romance of people thinking of him as a potential national candidate," Severin said. "But there are serious problems in New York and Cuomo has to do something about them. No less a liberal ally than the New York Times has pointed out the gap between his soaring rhetoric and his mediocre performance."

Cuomo, who raised more than $8 million, yesterday called his vote "particularly generous" in light of "the anti-incumbent sentiment" and "the difficult challenges facing local governments across the nation." He said he was saddened that the Democrats had failed to win control of the state Senate, despite his campaign efforts.

Gary Fryer, Cuomo's spokesman, said there was clearly a protest vote against the governor, who has raised taxes by $1 billion in each of the last two years. The voters' mood was such that an obscure Republican "who barely left his living room" won 34 percent of the vote against popular state Attorney General Robert Abrams (D), Fryer said.

Still, he said, "Mario Cuomo ended up with a plurality of over 1 million votes, the second time he has done that," while other Northeast governors "are either retired or badly bloodied."

Rinfret's candidacy virtually collapsed after he attacked his party's leadership as "the Geritol set" and the Manhattan GOP chairman who recruited him as "one of the most destructive people in this state." Rinfret accepted the nomination after 18 other Republicans declined.

In Staten Island, residents voted overwhelmingly to create a commission that could set in motion a plan for the borough to secede from New York City. PENNSYLVANIA

Gov. Robert P. Casey (D) cruised to a second term with 68 percent of the vote against an poorly funded challenger, state auditor Barbara Hafer (R). The campaign initially looked like it might be a referendum on Casey's decision to sign two strict antiabortion measures, but Hafer, a strong supporter of abortion, never expanded her support beyond that issue. Casey solidified his support with initiatives on education, jobs and the environment.

While Hafer said the governor might boost taxes to rescue Philadelphia from near-bankruptcy, Casey boasted that he was the first Pennsylvania governor in 43 years not to raise taxes.

Rep. Walgren, a seven-term incumbent, was edged by Pittsburgh lawyer Rick Santorum (R), 51 percent to 49 percent. Walgren spokesman John Delano attributed the defeat to an anti-incumbent mood in what has been a traditionally Republican district. He said Walgren's support of abortion may have been a factor in his defeat and that Santorum drew strong backing from antiabortion activists. RHODE ISLAND

Millionaire broadcasting executive Bruce Sundlun (D) won a decisive 74 percent of the vote in ousting Gov. Edward D. DiPrete (R), whose negative ratings reached record heights because of the slumping regional economy and scandals in his administration. Sundlun had lost to DiPrete twice before.

"I think . . . the voters of Rhode Island said, 'He's been out there twice and he's been right on all the issues,' " Sundlun said.

DiPrete was badly damaged by the disclosure that his family made $2 million in one day on a real estate deal in Cranston, where he had served as mayor. DiPrete was further hurt by allegations that major campaign donors received state building contracts.

"Sundlun ran as the independent businessman against professional politicians," said Sundlun spokesman George Burger. He said Sundlun did not rule out new taxes but promised to slash state spending first.

Sundlun released a 61-page homily called "Hope," in which he described himself as a formerly shy Jewish kid who grew up in Providence during the Depression and admired President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Five-term Sen. Claiborne Pell (D), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, captured 62 percent of the vote in turning back what had once been viewed as a stiff challenge from Rep. Claudine Schneider (R). The congresswoman, 43, sought to contrast her energetic style with the increasing frailty of the 71-year-old incumbent, but the Persian Gulf crisis turned the focus back to foreign affairs and Schneider's candidacy never caught fire.

In a somewhat closer contest, former Providence mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, a convicted felon, held a 121-vote lead over his nearest rival in the race to win back his old job. Cianci resigned in 1984 after pleading no contest to charges of assaulting the alleged lover of his estranged wife. VERMONT

Former Burlington mayor Bernard Sanders, an avowed socialist, won 56 percent of the vote in defeating freshman Rep. Peter Smith (R) and a little-known Democratic opponent in Sanders's second try at winning Vermont's House seat.

Sanders, who plans to caucus with the Democrats, said his victory reflected the "frustration and anger" of voters. "They are disgusted with status-quo politics," he said. "Congress is very much out of touch with the needs of ordinary people. . . . People instinctively understand that Washington is dominated by big money."

Sanders ran a classic populist campaign, criticizing tax breaks for the rich, bloated military budgets, cuts in social programs and inadequate health care.

Smith gained national publicity when he criticized the Bush administration while introducing the president at a Vermont fundraiser. He also suffered a backlash from an ad that attempted to link Sanders with Fidel Castro.

"I am a socialist and everyone knows that," Sanders said. "They also understand that my kind of democratic socialism has nothing to do with authoritarian communism."

Former governor Richard A. Snelling (R) regained his old job by defeating former state senator Peter F. Welch (D), 52 percent to 48 percent. The vacancy was created when Gov. Madeleine M. Kunin (D), who had been hurt by the ailing economy and lukewarm support from liberals, decided against seeking a third term. Snelling tried to link Welch to Kunin while using his generally popular record as a four-term governor to blunt Welch's liberal criticism.


Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D) won 69 percent of the vote in a one-sided race against Harpers Ferry lawyer John Yoder (R). Despite criticism that he accepted more than $1 million from political action committees, Rockefeller needed only a fraction of the $12 million in personal funds he spent in winning the seat six years ago.