by Joe Holden
editor in chief
“It’s a going to be won by a whisker. From the beginning of September all indicators pointed to this happening,” said Dr. James Hedtke, associate professor and chair of history and political science. In the closest and most heated election race in U.S. history, candidates George W. Bush, Republican, and Al Gore, Democrat, were in a dead heat, making every vote count from the state of Florida. At press time Wednesday, 2/10s of one percent of the vote would determine the next president.
Early Tuesday evening Florida’s 25 electoral votes were given to Gore by all major television networks. Not long after it was reported that the vote in Florida was too close to count and was pulled from Gore’s possession, leaving the 25 electoral votes game for either candidate. With more than 100,000 absentee ballots to count from Florida, voting officials cannot tell who will win the electoral votes or when a decision will be available; however the state was given to Bush at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning and then taken back due to the closeness of the race. Gore and Bush are tied with 249 electoral votes apiece with 270 electoral votes needed to win. The 25 electoral votes up in the air from Florida will make it 274 electoral votes for one of the two.
“This is election is close. That’s it, it’s close. In the tainted election of 1824 where John Quincy Adams won by a small margin, he was only a one-term president,” Hedtke said. “In every close election, great reforms were made.”
Gore prevailed in all of the Mid-Atlantic States and northeast states with the exception of New Hampshire, which went to Bush. Bush also garnered most of the Mid-Western and Plains States. California, which has 54 electoral votes, can almost always be counted on to support the Democratic candidate and it did. It was reported early on that Gore swept the state despite rigorous campaigning by Bush over the past few weeks. While Bush spent millions of dollars in last-minute ads to sway the vote to the Republican side, the elder Bush and Bob Dole abandoned hopes for victory in California during their own campaigns for the presidency. Though Bush did not win California, his campaigning helped other Republicans triumph over Democrats for congressional seats. Gore lost his home state of Tennessee by a wide margin. He secured less than 40 percent of the vote there.
Nader’s heavy campaigning in the Pacific Northwest to gain five percent of the vote proved unsuccessful. He had hoped for strong support from Washington and Oregon. Five percent of the vote is needed to receive federal campaign funds. This would have placed the Green party in a crucial position in the election of 2004.
Locally,Pennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Rick Santorum defeated Democratic candidate Ron Klink. Klink had an underfunded campaign, which made for an easy win for the Santorum team. Democrat John Corzine won the heated New Jersey senate seat race over Republican Bob Franks. A year ago Corzine was a political novice. He spent over $65 million of his own money in campaign ads shattering all national records. Former Delaware governor Tom Carper beat out 79-year-old Bill Roth for the Delaware senate race. Roth’s name is most commonly associated with the IRA investment programs. First Lady Hillary Clinton outdid Republican contender Rich Lazio for the New York senate seat.
The House of Representatives will remain under the control of the Republican Party. Though they do have control, there was a lot of seat switching between the parties throughout the states. Republicans also retain control of the Senate, but only by one to two votes.