Charlton Heston vs. Kim Basinger

November 21, 1992

The 1992 Senate election season is not over. Next Tuesday Georgia voters go back to the polls to vote in a race they thought they had settled Nov. 3. On Dec. 4, voters in North Dakota will vote in a special election to fill a vacancy caused by a death. And after the Electoral College meets to cast presidential-vice presidential votes, Sen. Albert Gore Jr. will resign and the governor of Tennessee will appoint a replacement.

The most interesting of these developments is in Georgia. First term Sen. Wyche Fowler, a Democrat, came in first on Election Day. He got 49 percent in a three-man race. His opponent, Republican Paul Coverdell, an insurance man and former Peace Corps director, got 48 percent. Georgia law requires a runoff to establish a clear majority.

The moderate Senator Fowler is probably the underdog. The coalition that gave Bill Clinton Georgia may not come back to the polls. Democrats are especially worried about a falloff of the black vote. The white vote in the state on Nov. 3 probably split about 2-1 against the Democratic ticket, and may again Tuesday. Without a good black turnout, Senator Fowler can't win. Republicans' fear is that the suburban whites who voted for a Ross Perot-Paul Coverdell ticket might not come back to the polls for the runoff, either.

Both parties have been bringing in big guns to try to spark interest in the runoff. There are the usual politicos plus such attention-getters as Charlton Heston for the Republicans and Kim Basinger for the Democrats.

Meanwhile, in North Dakota, Sen. Kent Conrad is favored to win the special election for the late Quentin Burdick's seat. An interesting twist there is that Senator Conrad, elected as a freshman Democrat in Mr. Fowler's class, is giving up the state's other Senate seat, having pledged in 1986 to do so unless major progress were made on debt reduction. He is favored to beat Republican state Rep. Jack Dalrymple.

In Tennessee, Gov. Ned McWherter is a Democrat and will name a Democrat to replace Senator Gore. So there's no partisan suspense. There is personal suspense as the governor mulls over several names -- including those of several women.

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