With the television networks declaring President Clinton the winner shortly after 9 p.m., Republicans worried that their supporters on the West Coast would stay home rather than come to the polls and vote for the rest of their candidates.
A dropoff of GOP support could spell doom for several House Republicans in tight races.
In Washington state, for example, voters elected six GOP freshmen two years ago. Two years later, half of them are going back home. Randy Tate, Linda Smith and Jack Metcalf all lost their bid for re-election. Another freshman, George Nethercutt, won his seat. The state also elected the first Asian-American governor on the U.S. mainland in American history, Democrat Gary Locke.
In California, Republican Frank Riggs turned back a challenge from Michela Alioto, whose grandfather was mayor of San Francisco. Andrea Seastrand, another freshman Republican incumbent, was defeated in her rematch with Democrat Walter Capps.
Conservative Rep. Bob Dornan, who unsuccessfully ran for president, had a surprisingly tough race against Democrat Loretta Sanchez. Dornan apparently defeated Sanchez by less than 300 votes.
But some California Democrats are having a tough time of it as well. Vic Fazio, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, was able to win another term in a tough race with Republican Tim LeFever. And Rep. Jane Harman narrowly defeated the candidate who almost beat her two years ago and even came to Washington, D.C., to participate in freshman class activities, Susan Brooks. Harman wasn’t declared the winner until after the absentee ballots were counted.