GOP Has Edge as Parties Target Vulnerable Senators for 1998

By Roman, Nancy E. | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 2, 1997 | Go to article overview

GOP Has Edge as Parties Target Vulnerable Senators for 1998


Roman, Nancy E., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Democrats are salivating at the thought of knocking off Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato, the brash New York Republican who pays more attention to politics and potholes than to policy.

Across the aisle, Republicans see an opportunity in Illinois, where the Democrat, Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, handed the GOP a gift last summer when she visited Nigerian dictator Gen. Sani Abacha with her ex-campaign manager and ex-fiance Kgosie Matthews, who once worked as a paid lobbyist for Nigeria.

The battles to knock off those vulnerable incumbents in two of the nation's most populous states will be among the most expensive and dramatic Senate races in the country next year.

While control of the Senate is unlikely to change after next November's elections, both parties see chances to pick up individual seats.

Republicans also plan to go after two other female senators elected in 1992 whom they see as vulnerable: Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, and Patty Murray, Washington Democrat. Democrats see opportunities to pick up seats in North Carolina, Indiana and Colorado.

The New York battle will likely be the most expensive race in the nation next year. Mr. D'Amato already has raised $8 million, and Rep. Charles E. Schumer has $6 million in his campaign coffers.

However, Mr. Schumer may face a bruising primary challenge from former vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. Mrs. Ferraro's contract with CNN forbids her to raise money for a campaign, but she is confident that national name recognition will allow her to catch up if she jumps into the race.

Mike Russell, spokesman for the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, warns that "whoever takes on D'Amato is going to get bruised."

Michael Tucker, director of communications for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, conceded Mr. D'Amato is a "brilliant politician" but noted, with satisfaction, that his already high negatives climbed higher after he began advertising.

"He's got problems," Mr. Tucker said. "We hope to take advantage of that."

In California, Mrs. Boxer also has a problem with high negatives. According to a Charlton Research survey, Mrs. Boxer has a favorable rating of 37 percent and an unfavorable rating of 38 percent.

Democrats know Mrs. Boxer has problems, but they take comfort in the difficult primary her rivals are sure to face: State Treasurer Matt Fong, San Diego Mayor Susan Golding and Darrel Issa, the wealthy founder of an electronics company, are all vying for a chance to take on Mrs. Boxer.

In Washington, Mrs. …

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GOP Has Edge as Parties Target Vulnerable Senators for 1998
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