Cover Story: Races to Watch

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The youngest Republican in the House of Representatives after the 1972 election, Texas Congressman Alan Steelman, 32, is one of a new breed of progressive Southern Republicans. But his political future is already in doubt. Hardly had he been elect ed in 1972 when his Fifth District was reapportipned, leaving him with a voting population that is 60% Democratic.

His challenger is Mike McKool, 55, a Democratic work horse who has run for about every available office with only one success in 25 years. Even though he is a liberal with labor support, McKool is more acceptable to local business interests be cause he favored the controversial, $1.6 billion Trinity River Canal that was to have linked Dallas and Fort Worth with the Gulf of Mexico. Steelman led the fight to stop it because it would have endangered the ecology of the area. So far, Steel man has been too busy in Washington to return home to save his G.O.P. outpost.

A standoff.

MEYNER v. MARAZITI When Robert Meyner was Governor of New Jersey, Helen Meyner recalls, the inevitable introduction was: "This is Governor Meyner and his lovely wife Helen." Now Helen, 45, is looking forward to a different sort of introduction:

"Here is Congresswoman Meyner and her lovely husband Bob." To accomplish this switch, she must defeat G.O.P. Incumbent Joseph Maraziti, 62, in the heavily Republican 13th District. She tried in 1972 and lost, though she gained a respectable 43% of the vote in a Republican year.

"My people are conservative, I'm conservative," says Maraziti. As a defender of Nixon on the House Judiciary Committee, he voted against every article of impeachment. But Meyner is not making an issue of Watergate ("It is pouring salt into the wounds"). Instead, she concentrates on the economy—what she calls "supermarket tragedies." Not keen on running again, she was talked into it by New Jersey Democrats who thought they saw a chance to take a safe G.O.P. seat. That's about what she has—a chance.

FORD v. KUYKENDALL Memphis remains one of the more segregated cities in the South. Whites vote almost solidly for white candidates, blacks for black. Harold Ford's task is somehow to bridge the two worlds in his attempt to capture the Eighth District seat, which includes most of Memphis. The 29-year-old son of a local undertaker, Ford piled up a large black vote in the Democratic primary, but he must win anywhere from 10% to 20% of the white vote to unseat G.O.P. Incumbent Dan Kuykendall, 50.

A former insurance salesman as well as a skilled wood craftsman, Kuykendall was one of Nixon's staunchest supporters in the House. In 1973 he voted in support of the President 70% of the time. Ford hopes to win by harping on this close association.

"We're just taking his record," he says, "and beating him with it." Kuykendall, on the other hand, has much more money than Ford, who has raised only $15,000. Too close to call.

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