Against Long Odds: Citizens Who Challenge Congressional Incumbents

By James L. Merriner; Thomas P. Senter | Go to book overview

5
VIRGINIA
JAMES C. MILLER (R) v. SENATOR JOHN WARNER (R)

James C. Miller III was not the only Virginia Republican who remained disgruntled with Senator John Warner for having torpedoed Oliver North's campaign in 1994. Actually, Warner's transgressions against conservative rectitude predated 1994. He had voted against President Ronald Reagan's nominee for the Supreme Court, Robert H. Bork, in 1987. In 1989 he cooperated with Senate Democrats in rejecting President George Bush's nomination of former Senator John Tower of Texas as secretary of defense. In 1993, Warner opposed Michael P. Farris, a hard-liner of the Christian right, for lieutenant governor.

So Miller challenged Warner in 1996 and the Washington press could not resist portraying the contest as "a battle for the soul of the Republican Party." It was not. It was a battle of a challenger against an incumbent.

Still, for the record, these were the candidates' differences on issues: Miller was for tax cuts, a flat income tax, term limits, and against abortion except when the mother's life was endangered; Warner supported selected spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit, opposed term limits, and was against abortion except in cases of mothers' endangerment, rape, or incest, although he had voted for Medicaid funding of abortions on demand.

-43-

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