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Insights: Politics—The Election's Even Split

The 2001 Congress will likely be divided down the middle
Dick Morris
From the Print Edition:
Kevin Costner, Nov/Dec 00

Gridlock, deadlock and brinkmanship are the likely outcomes of the 2000 congressional elections. While Senate and House races are notoriously volatile and seats can swing one way or the other in a matter of hours, the likely result of November's legislative elections will be a narrow--very narrow--Republican majority in the Senate and a Democratic win in the House.  

The Senate features 14 close races (out of 34), any of which could go either way. Democrats hold only four of these contested seats while the GOP holds 10. This math alone indicates the greater vulnerability of the Republicans as Election Day approaches.  

Before the first ballot is counted in the Senate races, the Republicans have suffered four major setbacks:  

1. Republican Senator Paul Coverdell of Georgia died this summer, putting a strong GOP seat in play. With a Democratic governor, the interim Senate appointment went to popular former Governor Zell Miller, who is likely to win the seat in his own right in November. As a result, a sure Republican seat will likely go Democratic.  

2. New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani decided not to fight Hillary Clinton for the seat being vacated by Democrat Pat Moynihan in the Empire State. Congressman Rick Lazio, the GOP candidate, may yet win, but he is not the candidate Giuliani would have been.  

3. New Jersey Republican Governor Christine Todd Whitman took herself out of the running for the seat vacated by Democrat Frank Lautenberg. Congressman Bob Franks will be a weaker candidate in the fall elections.  

4. Florida Senator Connie Mack decided to retire, putting a safe GOP seat into play in the November election.  

Coming off these adverse developments, the GOP hold on the Senate is more tenuous than any would have felt possible earlier in the political season.  

Six seats now controlled by the Republicans are likely to go Democratic. Here's the rundown (with key information provided by, my favorite source for this kind of information). These are, in my view:  


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