Despite Nationwide Loss, Democrats May Sweep California State Offices

EDDIE ALVAREZ
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Through the Lens: At the Victory Celebrations

While the political landscape of the country was changed when voters cast their ballots Tuesday night, giving to control of Congress to the Republican Party, locally Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Glendale, won a major victory with 63 percent of the vote.

Schiff said at his victory party Tuesday night “I am glad that I have been once again given the opportunity to represent all the people of the district.”

With his mandate from local voters, Schiff said “I plan to make life of children in the community better by expanding the role of the head start program, and I also would like to continue my work on protecting the civil liberties of Americans.”

Giving up three seats to the Republicans, the Democrats lost control of the Senate, while the GOP kept control of the House, gaining five seats. This gives the GOP control of the White House and Congress until 2004.

With President Bush campaigning in 15 states during the last week before elections, the GOP was counting on his approval rating of 64 percent to carry the elections nationwide. And his popularity seemed to sway the electorate.

The GOP won major Senate races in Georgia, Minnesota and Missouri giving them edge they needed to take back control of the upper house, which they had lost last year when former Republican Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont became an independent.

With the GOP in control of both Congress and the White House, President Bush is now expected to push his agenda, which includes making permanent the tax cut he introduced in 2001.

“The goal of the Senate will be to cut spending, pass homeland security and get seniors a good prescription drug package,” said new majority leader Sen. Trent Lott, R-Mississippi.

Lott said a permanent tax cut would also be a large agenda item.

Schiff said Tuesday “We are going to have to do our best [Democrats] to work together and represent our constituents the best we can in Congress. We have to present a more articulate message to the American people to have a strong base for 2004.”

One possible result of the Democratic election defeat was Thurdsay’s announcement by Democratic minority leader Rep. Richard Gephardt, D- Missouri, that he will not run again for the leadership position, a post that he has held since1994.

Some think he will concentrate on running for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California and Rep. Martin Frost of Texas have already been mentioned as possible candidates for the leadership position.

The Democrats failed to win the gubernatorial race in Florida against the President’s bother Gov. Jeb Bush, despite big spending on the campaign.

Former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore had been helping Democratic hopeful Bill McBride campaign the last week of the election to try to get supporters to the polls.

On the other hand, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic party leader, did announce that the party had gained five gubernatorial seats around the country.

“Fifty-five percent of Americans woke up this morning living under a Democratic governor,” said McAuliffe Wednesday.
Californians returned Gov. Gray Davis to office, despite low voter turnout in the election. The Democrats will have a clean-sweep of all statewide elected offices, if Steve Westley can hold off Republican challenger Tom McClintock in his bid for controller. That election was too close to call as of Thursday.