Primary Results: The Lewinsky Effect

Poor turnout in early balloting spells trouble for Democrats this November

  • Share
  • Read Later
Good-bye, Geraldine. Hello, Hubert. The primary race claimed its usual share of winners and losers Tuesday, as former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro ended her historic career while the son of a former vice president -- Hubert Humphrey III, Minnesota's attorney general -- won his party's nod for governor. But thanks to President Clinton's deepening crisis, turnout in just about every Democratic primary across nine states and the District of Columbia was at a record low -- raising fears that the whole party could be a loser come November. The fact that Clinton gave Humphrey a congratulatory call may even make things worse for the rising young star.

The sense of apathy and despondency among Dems also extended inside the ballot booth. In a macabre commentary on the state of the party, Oklahoma housewife Jacquelyn Ledgerwood managed to take almost a quarter of the vote in a Democratic Senatorial runoff, despite the fact that she died more than two months ago. Such embarrassments might help explain why party chiefs in Washington are throwing their support behind a quick-and-dirty congressional censure for Clinton. But with a mere six weeks to go and 469 seats in the Capitol at stake, it's unlikey that even the speediest of punishments will resurrect Democratic hopes from the dead.