Party of Virtue, Party of Vice

Nov. 5 1998 3:30 AM

Party of Virtue, Party of Vice

Who needs pundits when you can have weathermen?

(Continued from Page 1)

According to USA Today, most of the country will experience cloudy but good weather Tuesday. Rain will fall from Idaho to Georgia. At first glance, the map looks like good news for the GOP: They have close races in many of the rain-drenched states, and rain generally benefits Republicans, who can count on fervent conservatives to get to the polls in any weather. But a closer analysis of the weather map suggests Mother Nature actually favors the Democrats this year. (The survey starts in the Northeast and works its way clockwise around the country. It covers most but not all close Senate and gubernatorial races.)

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New York: Cool and cloudy but no rain. Democrats should turn out smartly in New York City, helping Chuck Schumer unseat Sen. Al D'Amato.

Maryland: There is a 30 percent chance of rain in Maryland, which means that there is a 30 percent chance of an Ellen Sauerbrey victory in the governor's race. Her fervent Republican followers would go to the polls in a typhoon. Gov. Parris Glendening's supporters are so unenthused that they'll stay home if it merely drizzles. It's raining in Maryland this morning: Chalk this one up for Sauerbrey.

North Carolina: A deceptive forecast. The rain ought to help incumbent Sen. Lauch Faircloth, but it actually favors Democratic challenger John Edwards. Showers are expected only in the western half of the state, which is especially conservative. The rain could suppress Republican turnout in the west without lowering Democratic turnout in the center of the state. Edwards scores an upset. The updated forecast suggests it will rain across the entire state, suppressing Democratic turnout too. This will help Faircloth win.

South Carolina: As in North Carolina, the election could hang on how far east it rains. Northwestern South Carolina, the only part of the state that's supposed to get rain, is heavily Republican. If this forecast holds, Republicans upstate may stay home, but Democrats in the southeast won't. Democratic Sen. Fritz Hollings should hold his seat, and gubernatorial candidate Jim Hodges should upset Republican Gov. David Beasley. If it rains across the whole state, Republican Bob Inglis could go to the Senate, and Beasley could keep the governorship. More bad news for Democrats. Tuesday's forecast calls for rain across the state. Beasley and Inglis benefit.

Georgia: Showers over the entire state will deter Democrats. Republican incumbent Sen. Paul Coverdell and Republican gubernatorial candidate Guy Millner will win their tight races. It stops raining in the western half of the state, perhaps raising turnout in Democratic Atlanta.

Kentucky: A bitter pill for Democratic Senate candidate Scotty Baesler, who has been running even against Republican Jim Bunning. Bunning's campaign manager was quoted on Monday saying that "if it rains, we win." Forecast: rain across the state. Republicans pick up a Senate seat.

Nevada: Dry and warm, as always. This will slightly help Democratic incumbent Sen. Harry Reid in his tossup race with Rep. John Ensign.

California: Clear weather throughout the state keeps turnout high and aids Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gray Davis. They win easily. Rain in Northern California could cut Democratic turnout. This may lead Republican Senate challenger Matt Fong and gubernatorial candidate Dan Lungren to upset victories.

Washington: News flash: It's not going to rain in Seattle! Turnout in the Democratic city will be heavy, and Sen. Patty Murray will hold off Republican challenger Linda Smith. Oops! Now it is supposed to rain in Seattle.

Wisconsin: Cold but dry, which should give a small boost to Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold.

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