Nixon Achieves Slim Senate Gain With Upset Victories in the East
A mud-slinging, highly-financed Administration effort to ?in control of the U.S. Senate brought Republicans stunning upset victories in the East yesterday but failed to sway the electorate west of the Mississippi.
Pro-Nixon senatorial candidates rode the law and order issue to victory in New York. Connecticut, Maryland, Tennessce, and Ohio. Democrats held onto seats in Texas, Nevada, Utah, and North Dakota and won a Republican seat in California.
As of 3 a.m. it appeared that the new Senate would include 42 Republicans, 53 Democrats and two Independents, with three races still undecided. The current makeup of the Senate is 57 Democrats and 43 Republicans. The new House will be composed of 256 Democrats and 179 Republicans, a net gain of ten Democratic seats. In 30 states Democrats will occupy the Governor's chair, an amazing not gain of 12.
As feared, liberals in New York split their votes between incumbent liberal Republican Charles Goodell and Democrat Richard Ottinger yesterday, there by handing a plurality to Conservative candidate James L. Buckley. Goodell had been strongly attacked by Agnew during the campaign-and the Administration made little secret of their preference for Buckley in the race. Projected returns around midnight predicted that Buckley would get 38 per cent to Ottinger's 37, with Goodell running a poor third.
Republican Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who gave Goodell little support during the campaign, won handily over former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg-and "Dump Johnson" architect, Rep. Allard Lowenstein, lost in a district that has been redrawn since his election two years ago.
Democratic Rep. John Tunney, aided by the strong showing of gubernatorial candidate Jess Unruh, unseated Republican Sen. George Murphy. Tunney had been leading in the polls, but Republicans hoped the San Jose incident would turn the tide. Unruh ran stronger than expected against Ronald Reagan, winning 42 per cent of the vote.
Liberal Sen. Albert Gore, the main target of the Republican "Southern strategy," went down to defeat in a fairly close race in Tennessee. In his con-cession speech last night, Gore promised that "the truth shall rise again." His opponent, conservative William Brock III, was one of the largest benefactors of Republican financial aid; Gore has served in the House and Senate for 32 years.
In one of the hottest and dirtiest Senate races, liberal Democratic Senator Vance Hartke of Indiana held an inclusive lead over reactionary Republican Richard Roudebush at 3 a.m. Democrat Frank Morrison may have possibly achieved an upset win over Republican Senator Roman Hruska in Nebraska.
In a very close race in Ohio, Republican Robert Taft Jr. appeared to be edging out Democratic liberal Howard Metzenbaum for the seat occupied by retiring Democratic Senator Stephen Young. Metzenbaum had put together an old-style Democratic coalition to beat astronaut John Glenn in the primary but he seems to have been unable to offset the Taft name and a red smear that surfaced a few weeks ago in the election-this despite liberal Democrat John Gilligan's strong victory in the Governor's race.
In Connecticut Democratic peace candidate Rev. Joseph Duffey suffered from a split in his party and was defeated by Republican Rep. Lowell P. Weiker. Incumbent Senator Thomas Dodd, a Democrat running as an Independent, won 28 per cent of the vote, most of it in traditionally Democratic blue collar areas. The gubernatorial race, won by Republican Thomas Meskill with 54 per cent, also helped Weiker's effort.
Duffey's campaign was considered a significant index of the strength of McCarthy-style peace campaigns. Duffey was a strong supporter of McCarthy's presidential bid in 1968.
One of the biggest Republican victories of the night came in Maryland where liberal Democratic Sen. Joseph Tydings was upset by Republican Rep. J. Glenn Beall.
Tydings was a main target of the Administration, and Republican money poured into the state for Beall. Nevertheless, Tydings continued to lead into the polls until the final one, which he lost 52 to 48 per cent.
One of the bright young stars of the emerging Republican majority took a beating in the Texas senatorial race. Rep. George Bush, who received more money than any other senatorial candidate from the Republican National committee, was defeated by Democrat Lloyd Bensten, Bensten, who had to go great lengths to prove he was more conservative than Bush, had defeated liberal Senator Ralph Yarborough in the Democratic primary. President Nixon had been anxious to have Bush in the Senate, but except for the party label, Nixon will not be unhappy with the election of Bensten. Bensten received 55 per cent of the vote.
A strong and expensive law-and-order campaign by incumbent Republican Senator Ralph Smith in Illinois failed to make a difference in his race with Adlai Stevenson III. Stevenson moved considerably towards the right during the campaign, plugging his war experiences and displaying a flag-pin in his lapel-and this evidently enabled him to hold on to his early campaign lead. He is expected to take 58 per cent of the vote in winning the seat from Smith, who had been appointed to finish out the term of the late Everett Dirksen.
Four sparsely populated Western states with Democratic Senators were the special targets of Nixon-Agnew assaults. In all four the voters returned the incumbents to office with convincing majorities. Sen. Howard Cannon of Nevada, Sen. Quentin Burdick of North Dakota, Sen. Gale McGee of Wyoming, and Sen. Frank Moss of Utah all won with better than 55 per cent.
Despite the traditional Republicans complexion of these states and their votes for President Nixon in 1968, the Nixon-Agnew journeys into the West failed to sway the electorate who saw them as outsiders trying to influence local politics.
The Administration's efforts to reunite the bitterly divided Republican Party in Florida failed and Rep. William Cramer, a shoo-in before his primary fight with Harrold Carswell, lost to Democratic State Sen. Lawton Chiles, a political unknown who eschewed TV commercials for a highly publicized hike across the state. "Walkin' Lawton's" running mate, State Sen. Reubin Askew, also won, ending the stormy political career of Gov. Claude Kirk.
Ex-Gov. Philip Hoff lost out in his attempt to become the first Democratic Senator from Vermont in over a hundred years. Incumbent Sen. Winston Prouty is expected to take 57 per cent of the vote in a campaign including such tactics as cartoonist Al Capp's racist appeal (unsolicited by Prouty) on the Senator's behalf.
Nelson Gross had strong Nixon support and four times as much money as his opponent in the race for the Senate in New Jersey, but incumbent Harrison Williams was the victor with 55 per cent of the vote Williams created a stir with his admission that he had conof the vote. Williams screated a stir quered a drinking problem early during the race.