Clinton basks in her Senate victory

THE BALTIMORE SUN

NEW YORK - Moments before Hillary Rodham Clinton's first news conference as senator-elect from New York, a rumor buzzed that the president might leave their hotel suite to join her at the podium. But when the moment finally came, there was no husband in sight: Just Hillary triumphant.

Clinton emerged ebullient after a sleepless night that included congratulatory phone calls from senators and rousing celebrations as each new wave of election returns rolled in. Even as the outcome of the presidential race remained unclear yesterday, Clinton couldn't hide her excitement at her own success - a resounding 12-point victory over Republican Rep. Rick A. Lazio.

"This is so much fun!" she declared, seeming to actually mean it as she wrapped up a half-hour news conference with nearly 100 reporters. She flashed a wide grin before dashing off to shake hands at Grand Central Station.

Clinton's mood was nearly as bright as her aquamarine pantsuit yesterday as she enjoyed a win that allows her to reinvent herself as a national figure on her own terms.

She is also likely to become a leading voice of the Democratic Party and a magnet for the national spotlight - that is, if she chooses to grab it.

Speculation abounds about whether she will. Yesterday, the first-ever first lady to win elective office argued that on certain partisan issues she would step forward to help the party "stand our ground" and battle the Republicans. But on most everything else, she said, she will look, sound and act like a senator trying to deliver for her state.

Throughout yesterday's question-and-answer session before a bank of 30 cameras, Clinton played down her status as a new national voice for her party - calling herself a "first-time candidate" and soon-to-be rookie senator.

"It's like any new job," she said. "You've got to find your footing, you have to be, you know, willing to work hard, to learn the ropes and the rules, build relationships with people - all of which I intend to do."

But she was hardly treated as a back-bencher. The international media contingent kept its cameras trained on her as she talked about the details of the upstate economy (the subject of her first bill, she said). Reporters wondered if she would keep the Secret Service at her side as senator (no decision on that yet, she offered). And even before she could provide details about last night's victory, someone asked whether she was going to run for president anytime soon.

"No," she said curtly. "I'm going to serve my six years as the junior senator from New York."

Uneasy history

Clinton now enters a chamber that once tried to convict her husband after his impeachment, rejected her health care plan and held highly critical hearings on the Whitewater land deal.

But the first lady made no mention of any grudges yesterday. Instead, she repeatedly mentioned that Utah Republican Sen. Orrin G. Hatch had called to congratulate her. She even talked of garnering Republican support to help push through portions of health care reform.

"Nobody will be able to get anything done without building bipartisan coalitions," she said of the Senate, where the GOP is likely to hold a razor-thin margin. "I absolutely believe we can build consensus."

But on other matters, the first lady sounded a defiant note.

"On the issues that are more partisan - like gun safety measures and a woman's right to choose - we have to stand our ground," she said.

'She's a pragmatist'

Political scientists believe Clinton will strike a balance between speaking out on national issues and fighting for state concerns. But, they say, once she gains her senatorial sea legs, she is not likely to stay in the background.

"Is she going to appear on TV as the person most often rebutting [Senate Republican leader] Trent Lott? Will it be her face and name that we see?" asked Stanford University political scientist Luis Fraga. "I'd guess she won't do that for at least two years - she'll establish herself. Otherwise she'd look a little too ambitious. More than anything, she's a pragmatist."

In January, Clinton will rearrive in Washington with solid support of New York voters. She scored a bigger victory Tuesday night than New York Democrat Charles E. Schumer did against incumbent Republican Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato in 1998.

Most decisively, Clinton struck a chord with women, capturing 61 percent of their support, according to exit polls. Those polls also showed Clinton capturing 91 percent of the black vote, 85 percent of the Latino vote and 54 percent of the Jewish vote. She prevailed all across the state, taking 74 percent of the vote in New York City and 54 percent in upstate urban areas.

Spreading blame

While Clinton planned more celebrations yesterday - an upstate victory tour is scheduled for tomorrow - Republicans pointed fingers over their loss.

New York's Daily News featured "Capitol Hil" on its front page, but inside the tabloid quoted Libby Pataki, wife of New York Gov. George E. Pataki, blaming New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani for the defeat by taking too long to bow out.

Giuliani left the race five months ago amid medical and personal problems.

"He hung around way too long," the state's first lady told the paper. "He was just jerking people around. It was terribly unfair." She later apologized.

For her part, Clinton didn't breathe Lazio's name yesterday and instead talked about how she will be juggling her duties as incoming senator and outgoing first lady. Tonight, she and her husband are scheduled to be hosts to George and Barbara Bush and other former first couples for the White House's 200th anniversary celebration.

Then it's onto her new role in a very old club.

"As a freshman senator, she'll have to accustom herself to all the strange tribal rituals there if she wants to be effective," said George Washington University professor Lee Sigelman. "You start out low and work your way up."

Md. U.S. Senate

TP PR Sarbanes Rappaport

Allegany...36...36...11,986...8,113

Anne Arundel...166...166...97,463...91,162

Baltimore...187...187...168,728...117,413

Baltimore City...325...325...153,187...22,886

Calvert...17...17...14,554...12,942

Caroline...9...9...4,046...4,262

Carroll...43...43...22,571...37,065

Cecil...14...14...13,592...13,442

Charles...28...28...24,164...17,399

Dorchester...36...36 5,413...4,072

Frederick...51...51...35,575...37,140

Garrett...19...19...4,020...5,557

Harford...57...57...39,790...46,090

Howard...85...85 59,322...45,299

Kent...10...10...4,074...3,176

Montgomery...227...227...233,144...102,453

Pr. Georges...199...199...196,440...38,370

Queen Anne's...11...11...7,166...8,290

St Mary's...20...20...14,487...12,509

Somerset...21...21...4,479...2,398

Talbot...16...16...6,502...7,205

Washington...43...43...21,228...22,060

Wicomico...34...34...17,982...11,533

Worcester...12...12...11,178...7,540

Totals 1,666 1,666...1,171,091...678,376

TP = total precincts; PR = precincts reporting

U.S. Senate

* Denotes incumbent

x Denotes winner

ARIZONA 99%

x-Jon Kyl, GOP *...962065...79

William Toel, Ind...97811...8

CALIFORNIA 100%

x-Dianne Feinstein, Dem *...5313355...56

Tom Campbell, GOP...3449647...36

CONNECTICUT 98%

x-Joseph Lieberman, Dem *...807429...63

Phil Giordano, GOP...438441...34

DELAWARE 100%

x-Thomas Carper, Dem 181387...56

William Roth, GOP * 142683...44

FLORIDA 100%

x-Bill Nelson, Dem...2981667...51

Bill McCollum, GOP...2698770...46

GEORGIA 99%

x-Zell Miller, Dem *...1374755...57

Mack Mattingly, GOP...923108...39

HAWAII 100%

x-Daniel Akaka, Dem *...247899...73

John Carroll, GOP...83618...25

INDIANA 99%

x-Richard Lugar, GOP * 1407732...66

David Johnson, Dem...674764...32

MAINE 99%

x-Olympia Snowe, GOP *...429407...69

Mark Lawrence, Dem...196741...31

MARYLAND 100%

x-Paul Sarbanes, Dem *...1171091...63

Paul Rappaport, GOP...678376...37

MASSACHUSETTS 97%

x-ED. Kennedy, Dem *...1818687...73

Jack Robinson, GOP...325554...13

MICHIGAN 99%

x-Debbie Stabenow, Dem...2042086...49

Spencer Abraham, GOP *...1985698...48

MINNESOTA 99%

x-Mark Dayton, Dem...1180659...49

Rod Grams, GOP *...1048949...43

MISSISSIPPI 98%

x-Trent Lott, GOP *...623465...66

Troy Brown, Dem...292100...31

MISSOURI 100%

x-Mel Carnahan, Dem...1191424...50

John Ashcroft, GOP *...1142552...48

MONTANA 99%

x-Conrad Burns, GOP *...206680...50

Brian Schweitzer, Dem...193686...47

NEBRASKA 100% Open

x-Ben Nelson, Dem...329842...51

Don Stenberg, GOP...317436...49

NEVADA 100% Open

x-John Ensign, GOP...330663...55

Ed Bernstein, Dem...238243...40

NEW JERSEY 99% Open

x-Jon Corzine, Dem...1284168...51

Bob Franks, GOP...1184387...47

NEW MEXICO 99%

x-Jeff Bingaman, Dem *...313165...62

Bill Redmond, GOP...187739...37

NEW YORK 99% Open

x-Hillary Clinton, Dem...3410511...55

Rick Lazio, GOP...2669374...43

NORTH DAKOTA 95%

x-Kent Conrad, Dem *...174515...61

Duane Sand, GOP...109404...39

OHIO 99%

x-Mike DeWine, GOP *...2588562...60

Ted Celeste, Dem...1541487...36

PENNSYLVANIA 99%

x-Rick Santorum, GOP *...2462881...52

Ron Klink, Dem...2133834...45

RHODE ISLAND 100%

x-Lincoln Chafee, GOP *...225887...57

Robert Weygand, Dem...164634...41

TENNESSEE 100%

x-Bill Frist, GOP *...1253412...65

Jeff Clark, Dem...619599...32

TEXAS 99%

x-Kay Bailey, GOP *...4074237...65

Gene Kelly, Dem...2021938...32

UTAH 100%

x-Orrin Hatch, GOP *...501919...66

Scott Howell, Dem...241327...32

VERMONT 100%

x-James Jeffords, GOP *...188070...66

Ed Flanagan, Dem...72909...25

VIRGINIA 99%

x-George Allen, GOP...1391078...52

Charles Robb, Dem *...1265514...48

WASHINGTON 99%

Slade Gorton, GOP *...852254...49

Maria Cantwell, Dem...849057...49

WEST VIRGINIA 100%

x-Robert Byrd, Dem *...462340...78

David Gallaher, GOP...118223...20

WISCONSIN 100%

x-Herb Kohl, Dem *...1559669...62

John Gillespie, GOP...939186...37

WYOMING 99%

x-Craig Thomas, GOP *...157101...74

Mel Logan, Dem...47036...22

Md. U.S. House

* Denotes incumbent

x Denotes winner

District 1

269 of 269 precincts - 100 %

x-Wayne Gilchrest, R*...156,042...64

Bennett Bozman, D...86,790...36

District 2

180 of 180 precincts - 100 %

x-Robert Ehrlich Jr., R*...170,656...69

Kenneth Bosley, D...78,215...31

District 3

228 of 228 precincts - 100 %

x-Benjamin Cardin, D*...162,047...76

Colin Harby, R...51,386...24

District 4

152 of 152 precincts - 100 %

x-Albert Wynn, D*...166,326...88

John Kimble, R...23,485...12

District 5

184 of 184 precincts - 100 %

x-Steny Hoyer, D*...159,553...65

Thomas Hutchins, R...84,542...35

District 6

238 of 238 precincts - 100 %

x-Roscoe Bartlett, R*...159,959...61

Donald DeArmon, D...103,759...39

District 7

231 of 231 precincts - 100 %

x-Elijah Cummings, D*...130,253...87

Kenneth Kondner, R...18,807...13

District 8

184 of 184 precincts - 100 %

x-Constance Morella, R*...144,659...52

Terry Lierman, D...127,479...46

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