One for the History Books

Article excerpt

ELECTION 2000--WHAT A WAY TO start a century!

It will likely go down as one of the most unusual elections in history. Even as you read this, the presidential race may not be settled.

What is certain, though, is that it was the most expensive race we've even witnessed. One record-setting House race, in California's 27th District, cost the two candidates a combined $10 million. And in New Jersey, the garden state, Democrat John Corzine spent an estimated $60 million to unseat Republican Bob Franks, making it home to the most expensive state race ever.

The 2000 elections, in fact, saw the presidential and congressional candidates spending an estimated $3 billion. That's roughly the equivalent of half a year's worth of all taxable sales and purchases in my state of North Dakota. It isn't chicken feed.

My favorite quote of the campaign came shortly after the networks retracted their early erroneous call on Florida. CBS anchor Dan Rather acknowledged the goof and said: "To err is human, but to really foul up requires a computer.

Missouri voters, of course, elected a dead man, the late Mel Carnahan. Hillary Clinton became the first First Lady ever to win public office. And we all learned that even a single vote really can make a difference in a national election.

Not only was it one for the history books, but we all now know a whole lot more about the Electoral College (not to mention chads) than we ever thought necessary.

The closeness of the elections this year also makes it difficult to predict a precise outlook for banking-industry issues in the next Congress (not that it's ever been easy to predict what Congress will do). …