Matthew G. Martinez, a prominent Democratic voice on the House education committee, became the only incumbent in Congress to lose his primary election last week, after a tumultuous campaign in which even his own sister endorsed his opponent.
Mr. Martinez, a 71-year-old Californian who was seeking his ninth full term in Congress, lost overwhelmingly to state Sen. Hilda Solis, who maintained that he was a lackluster legislator and out of touch with his district.
He is a senior member of the Education and the Workforce Committee, and is the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee on postsecondary education and workforce training.
The Department of Education will spend an estimated $3 million extra over the next four years to support postgraduate studies in the arts, humanities, and social studies after a contractor told the wrong students that their fellowship applications had been successful.
The 39 students should have been named "alternates" for the prestigious Jacob K. Javits Fellowships, which pay about $15,000 per student annually for up to four years, as well as $10,500 annually to the institutions they choose to attend.
But in February, DTI Associates of Arlington, Va.—the contractor hired to process the applications—sent the same congratulatory letter to those runners-up as they did to the 138 actual winners.
Department officials discovered the error a few days later, and phoned the alternates with the bad news. But the officials decided later to give them the fellowships anyway.
Bruce Rankin, a spokesman for DTI Associates, said in a statement that "an unfortunate miscommunication between both parties led to a clerical error," and that the company was working with the department to resolve the issue.
—Joetta L. Sack & Andrew Trotter
Vol. 19, Issue 27, Page 36Published in Print: March 15, 2000, as Federal File