Tuesday voting: new governors, familiar mayors, 70 propositions
The election of Democratic governors in Mississippi and Kentucky is nothing new, but both victors in Tuesday's balloting portray themselves as reformers who will depart from politics-as-usual in those states. The elections of Ray Mabus in Mississippi and Wallace Wilkinson in Kentucky come just 10 days after another new-day Democratic candidate, Buddy Roemer, wrested the Louisiana governor's mansion from incumbent Edwin Edwards.
Mr. Mabus had 53 percent of the vote in Mississippi, compared with 47 percent for Republican businessman Jack Reed. Mabus had campaigned as a crusader after a term as state auditor spent probing irregularities by county supervisors around the state.
In Kentucky, Mr. Wilkinson, a political newcomer, received nearly 65 percent of the vote in defeating Republican John Harper. Wilkinson said his victory margin, a state record, is a mandate for his platform opposing higher taxes and favoring a state lottery. He had defeated two former governors to win an eight-way Democratic primary earlier in the year.
Mayoral races. In Philadelphia, incumbent Wilson Goode, a Democrat, appeared to have won a narrow 51-to-49 percent victory over former mayor Frank Rizzo, after a bitter campaign. Balloting was sharply divided along racial lines, with Mr. Goode, the city's first black mayor, receiving 98 percent of the black vote and just 20 percent support from whites. Mr. Rizzo, who refused to concede, said he might challenge the outcome in court on charges of vote fraud.
Democrat Kurt Schmoke became Baltimore's first elected black mayor. Other victorious blacks included Democrats Thomas Barnes in Gary, Ind., and Carrie Saxon Perry in Hartford, Conn., the first black woman elected mayor of a Northeastern city. But in Charlotte, N.C., Democrat Harvey Gantt, the city's first black mayor, was upset in his bid for a third term by Republican former city councilor Sue Myrick, who is white.
Most big-city incumbents easily won new terms. Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn (D) received a record 67 percent of the vote in his bid for a second four-year term. In Houston, Kathy Whitmire swept to a fourth two-year term with 73 percent, rivaling the largest victory margins in the city's history. Republican William Hudnut won an unprecedented fourth four-year term in Indianapolis, and Palmer DePaulis was returned to office in Salt Lake City.
Runoff elections will be held in San Francisco and Miami. California Assemblyman Art Agnos (D) fell just short of a majority in the crowded competition to succeed San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein. Mr. Agnos will face the second-place finisher, city supervisor John Molinari, on Dec. 8. And Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez, with 42.6 percent of the vote, was forced into a Nov. 10 runoff against Maurice Ferre, the man he ousted two years ago, who captured 32.4 percent.
Ballot measures. More than 70 propositions appeared on Tuesday's ballots. Texas voters approved parimutuel betting at horse and dog tracks, while Virginia voters created a state lottery.
On environmental issues, Maine voters, for the third time in less than a decade, refused to close Maine Yankee, a nuclear power plant that supplies 25 percent of the state's electricity. Also defeated: a bill to require deposits on all beverage containers sold in the District of Columbia.