New-look Senate, old-look leadership


WASHINGTON -- With the addition of newly elected women and minorities, the Senate next year will sport a new look, but the chamber's leadership will look pretty much as it did in the last Congress.

Senators chose every incumbent leader yesterday, Republican and Democratic, who sought positions. To fill two vacant spots -- created when voters turned out two male senators -- two incumbent males were selected.

The only close races were on the Republican side, where there is a struggle for the soul of the party in the wake of President Bush's failed re-election bid. The conservative wing of the party, represented by Phil Gramm of Texas and Alan Simpson of Wyoming, won the most hotly contested elections.

Mr. Gramm was re-elected chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, defeating Mitch McConnell of Kentucky by one vote. In the contest for Senate minority whip, the incumbent Mr. Simpson survived a challenge from Slade Gorton of Washington on a 25-14 vote.

In other GOP contests, Bob Dole of Kansas easily won re-election as minority leader. Trent Lott of Mississippi won a three-way race for secretary of the Republican Conference, defeating Christopher Bond of Missouri and Frank Murkowski of Alaska. Mr. Lott replaces Robert Kasten of Wisconsin, who lost a bid for another term last week.

Among the Democrats, Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine hinted that there could be at least one change in his party's posts when the Senate convenes next year.

In other elections among Democratic senators, Wendell Ford of Kentucky was re-elected majority whip and David Pryor of Arkansas was re-elected secretary of the Democratic Conference. John Breaux of Louisiana was elected chief deputy whip, succeeding Alan Dixon of Illinois, who was defeated in the primary.

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