Republican businessman Ray Clatworthy lost his David vs. Goliath bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D). The incumbent won by a margin of 58 percent to 41 percent, and will return to the Senate for a sixth term.
District of Columbia
Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) overcame a sloppy campaign to defeat Republican Council member Carol Schwartz. With most precincts reporting, Williams led his challenger by a margin of 61 percent to 34 percent. Schwartz said she hesitated to run against Williams a second time because he soundly defeated her four years ago. She took a chance after hundreds of signatures on the mayor's nominating petitions were faked before the primary.
U.S. Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) defeated Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (D) 51 percent to 48 percent to become the first Republican governor in Maryland since Spiro T. Agnew was elected in 1966. Ehrlich took advantage of Townsend's disorganized campaign, casting himself as a GOP moderate in a state that has long been a Democratic stronghold.
In another fierce contest, state Sen. Christopher Van Hollen (D) defeated 16-year incumbent Rep. Constance A. Morella (R), an eight-term incumbent by a 52 percent to 48 percent margin. Morella was one of the GOP's most liberal members, and hoped voters in the overwhelmingly Democratic district would be impressed by her independent voting record. But Van Hollen counterpunched by appealing directly to Democrats, saying his presence in the House would help tip the balance for the party.
Baltimore County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) defeated former representative Helen Delich Bentley (R) 55 percent to 45 percent in their race for the House seat left open by Ehrlich's departure. Ruppersberger survived a difficult primary to face Bentley, a hawk on defense and anti-free trade, a platform that played well in suburban Baltimore.
Three-term former Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D) defeated Douglas Forrester (R), winning by 54 percent to 44 percent, and will return to the Senate after a two-year retirement. It was a stunning turnaround for Forrester, who just five weeks ago appeared to be headed to the Senate against disgraced Sen. Robert G. Torricelli (D). But Torricelli suddenly folded his seemingly doomed reelection bid Sept. 30, allowing Lautenberg to step in and quickly overtake the Republican, who was unable to use ethics concerns about Torricelli in his appeal to voters.
State Assemblyman Scott Garrett (R) defeated ophthalmologist Anne Sumers (D), who recently switched parties and adopted the rhetoric of outgoing Rep. Marge Roukema (R), who supported abortion rights and environmental conservation. In a strong Republican district, Garrett was elected to the House by a 60 percent to 38 percent margin.
Former secretary of state Forest Buster Soaries (R) lost badly in his bid to become the first African American Republican elected to the House from New Jersey. Running in a district that is only marginally Democratic, Rep. Rush D. Holt (D) won by a margin of 60 percent to 37 percent.
In the battle between former presidential Cabinet members, Elizabeth Dole (R) handily defeated challenger Erskine Bowles (D), 54 percent to 45 percent. Dole, who was labor secretary during the first Bush administration and transportation secretary under President Ronald Reagan, will succeed retiring Sen. Jesse Helms (R). With Dole's election, the wives of both candidates in the 1996 presidential election will now be senators.
Bowles, a chief of staff for President Clinton, trailed Dole from the outset of the race. Observers thought he would get a boost when his opponent in the primary, former state House Speaker Dan Blue, threw his support behind Bowles, giving the Democrat the black vote he desperately needed to make a run at Dole.
North Carolina gained a House seat in the Raleigh area, and it will be filled by state Sen. Brad Miller (D), who took 55 percent of the vote in his race against Republican investment broker Carolyn Grant. Rep. Robin Hayes (R) overcame controversy over a vote for presidential trade authority to defeat attorney Chris Kouri (D) by a 54 percent to 45 percent margin. State Sen. Frank Ballance (D) cruised to victory over Greg Dority (R) in a race to succeed retiring Rep. Eva Clayton (D).
Former Philadelphia mayor Edward Rendell (D) became the first Philadelphia leader to be elected governor in nearly a century, beating state Attorney General Mike Fisher (R) 53 percent to 44 percent. Rendell owed his victory to his popularity in the Philadelphia suburbs.
The closely watched House race between Rep. Tim Holden (D) and Rep. George W. Gekas (R) ended with a tight, 51 to 49 percent victory for Holden. The two incumbents from central Pennsylvania were thrown together after the state lost two House seats in reapportionment. Holden was thought to have an advantage in a close race, enough to bring both President Bush and Vice President Cheney to the Keystone State to campaign on behalf of Gekas.
Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski (D) defeated Hazleton Mayor Louis Barletta (R) 56 percent to 42 percent in northeast Pennsylvania. Kanjorski's campaign was haunted by claims that he steered federal funds into a family business, and for a while he appeared to be in danger of losing a safe seat. Optometrist Melissa Brown (R) poured a substantial amount of her own cash into her campaign against incumbent Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel III (D), but lost by a 51 percent to 47 percent margin in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Republican Sen. John W. Warner glided to a fifth term. Democrats decided against challenging him.
Former state senator Jay Wolfe (R) took another beating, this time from incumbent Sen. John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D). Rockefeller won a fourth term by a 63 percent to 37 percent margin. Wolfe previously lost an election to Democratic Sen. Robert C. Byrd.
In a rematch election between Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) and trial lawyer Jim Humphreys (D), Capito won by 60 percent to 40 percent. Capito was the favorite from start to finish despite the $5.2 million Humphreys spent on his campaign, making their race the nation's most expensive, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.