Tags: With | Slim | GOP | Hold | House | Parties | Seek

With Slim GOP Hold on House, Parties Seek Defectors

Wednesday, 08 November 2000 12:00 AM

The extremely tight margin already has politicians beckoning their opponents to switch parties. Overall, the races were some of the closest ever.

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman and Virginia Republican Rep. Tom Davis claimed victory Wednesday. "For the first time in decades, America has re-elected a House Republican majority for four consecutive elections," Davis said.

Davis invited House Democrats to switch parties to help the GOP cushion its shrinking majority.

"Several House Democrats have already signaled that they are pondering crossing party lines to join our ranks. We will welcome these Democrats with open arms," Davis said.

Democrats won a net total of two seats from Republicans Tuesday, leaving the new majority in the House at only 221-212. Republicans had held a 223-210 majority in the 106th Congress.

A handful of races are so close they will be recounted, and some will almost certainly be challenged by disgruntled losers in unbelievably tight contests.

"It was the night of close elections," Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Executive Director David Ploufle said.

Some of those close decisions are being recounted. In others, Democrats or Republicans could make a legal challenge in an effort to reverse the results.

Democrats do not like the looks of an apparent victory by Republican Mark Kennedy over Democrat Rep. David Minge in Minnesota's 2nd District. Minge's campaign manager, Alana Christensen, said Wednesday Minge will seek relief in the courts.

"We have received enough information about mangled ballots and other problems to conclude that it would be irresponsible not to proceed with a recount in this situation," Chirstensen said.

A win in Michigan's 8th Congressional District by Republican challenger Michael Rogers over Rep. Dianne Yvonne Byrum has Democrats raising their eyebrows as well.

But Republicans are so far unwilling to admit defeat in some races also. A tight Democrat victory by Elaine Bloom over incumbent GOP Rep. E. Clay Shaw is in the midst of a recount.

Republicans are also closely looking at an apparent Democrat victory in California's 36th Congressional District, where Republican Steven Kuykendall lost to Democrat challenger Jane Harman. Republicans so far are also unwilling to concede a Democrat win by Richard Larsen against Rep. John Koster in Washington's 2nd District.

Besides recounts, disgruntled losers have a bevy of legal options at their disposal to challenge a victory.

But in the end, Democrats will probably walk away from it all with two more seats than they had in the 106th Congress.

House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt said the election showed support for Democrats.

"Yesterday, we succeeded in our quest to try to win more seats in Congress to fulfill America's unfinished agenda," Gephardt said. "For the third consecutive election, Democrats picked up seats in the House, we made real gains in the Senate, and Al Gore has won the popular vote.

"In my view, this election indicates that the people do want their unfinished agenda fulfilled."

Both sides scored some marked victories Tuesday.

In Connecticut's 10th District, Republican challenger Robert Simmons defeated incumbent Democrat Rep. Sam Gejdenson. Republicans also picked up a seat in Virginia's 2nd District, where Republican Edward Schrock beat Democrat Jody Wagner. And in Missouri's 6th District, Republican Samuel Graves toppled Democrat Steve Danner, son of the retiring incumbent, Pat Danner. Republicans also picked up seats in New York, West Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Democrats, on the other hand, have picked up a congressional seat in Oklahoma that was a vital part of their bid to regain control of the House. In the 2nd Congressional District there, attorney Brad Carson beat auto dealer Andy Ewing. They scored another seven victories in Arkansas, Oklahoma, New York, Utah and Washington.

Democrats also nearly swept California, where they picked up no less than four seats from Republican incumbents. Included in the Democrats' California tally is a high-profile win by state Sen. Adam Schiff over incumbent Rep. James Rogan. Rogan was a manager in the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, and Democrats used that against Rogan in their bid to unseat him.

Copyright 2000 by United Press International. All rights reserved.

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The extremely tight margin already has politicians beckoning their opponents to switch parties. Overall, the races were some of the closest ever. National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman and Virginia Republican Rep. Tom Davis claimed victory Wednesday. For...
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Wednesday, 08 November 2000 12:00 AM
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