State Journal: Winners and losers; An Election Day postscript

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Gov. Edward D. DiPrete of Rhode Island, whose re-election bid was almost undone by ethically questionable business practices by his family, received another familial jolt on Election Day, when his son was arrested after being caught tearing down a campaign sign touting his father's Democratic opponent, Bruce Sundlun.

Mr. Sundlun's campaign, however, had little time and apparently little incentive to play up the incident. DiPrete campaign workers, it turns out, had caught two Sundlun workers ripping up DiPrete posters about an hour before the Governor's son was apprehended.

Thomas DiPrete, 21, was ordered to appear in court Dec. 15 to face a charge of malicious mischief, but the owner of the business that the sign was posted on has said he will not press charges.

Mr. Sundlun, meanwhile, officially requested a recount on Nov. 11. A spokesman for state board of elections said he expected that the final vote tally would be certified by the first week of December.

A last-minute promise by Gov. Arch A. Moore Jr. to raise West Virginia teachers' salaries apparently did little to win their support. Leaders of the West Virginia Education Association say that union members voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic Governor-elect, Gaston Caperton.

In letters mailed to some 15,000 teachers just days before the election, the outgoing Republican governor pledged he would raise teacher pay by 15 percent if re-elected. Mr. Moore did not specify where the cash-starved state would come up with the funds for the raises.

At a Nov. 4 press conference, wvea officials alleged that Mr. Moore planned to force districts to lay off teachers in order to provide higher pay to those who remained.

In a symbolic gesture, Mr. Caperton selected a high school in Nitro as the site of his first official visit as Governor-elect. He said the Nov. 9 trip was "a significant indication of my real commitment to education."

In North Dakota, a similar 11th-hour attempt to wrest control of the education issue failed to provide the winning edge for the Republican gubernatorial hopeful, Leon Mallberg.

Shortly before Election Day, Mr. Mallberg claimed that the Democratic incumbent, George A. Sinner, was preparing a budget for the upcoming biennium that would reduce state school aid by 10 percent.

Mr. Sinner, who was re-elected by a wide margin, emphatically denied the charge. "What's he going to do tomorrow? Accuse me of starving my dog?" he asked.

A day after the election, Mr. Sinner predicted that the upcoming legislative session would be "very placid but difficult." State officials expect that tax revenues will plummet as a result of the drought this past summer.

Also, congratulations are due to Wayne Sanstead, who was not listed in previous issues among those who sought election to their state's highest precollegiate-education post. Mr. Sanstead ran unopposed in his bid for a new four-year term as North Dakota's superintendent of public instruction.

New Hampshire's outgoing governor, John Sununu, will soon become one of the nation's top experts on easing the transition from one Administration to another.

President-elect George Bush last week announced his selection of the Republican governor as his chief of staff. Mr. Sununu's prime responsibility will be to select Mr. Bush's White House staff and to advise the President-elect on appointments to the Cabinet and other high-level posts.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sununu is busy helping his successor, Judd Gregg, ease into his new office.

When asked what advice he would give to Mr. Gregg, Mr. Sununu responded: "Say no, just say no" to calls for higher spending.

At a victory celebration on Nov. 8, Mr. Gregg said his first major task would be to submit a budget for the upcoming year. "It's going to be a tough nut, because we're going into some difficult financial times," he said.

Election officials in Washington State say it may be weeks before the winner in the race to succeed Frank B. Brouillet as state school superintendent is officially announced.

Unofficial vote counts indicate that Judith Billings was clinging to a fraction of a percent lead over Dennis Heck for the nonpartisan post.

Mr. Brouillet, meanwhile, narrowly lost his bid to regain the state House seat that he left some 16 years ago when he was first elected as state school chief. The winner was Randy Tate, a 22-year-old student at Western Washington University.

Mr. Brouillet, a Democrat, attributed his defeat to a brouchure distributed late in the campaign that criticized him for failing to keep child molesters out of the teaching force. A Spokane newspaper ran a series of articles shortly before the election about teachers who had sexually abused their students and other children.

Mr. Tate had distanced himself from the brochure, saying that it was prepared by the state Republican party without his knowledge. Party officials, however, said they only sent out materials that were approved by candidates.--tm

Vol. 08, Issue 12

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