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The Dartmouth
May 27, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Midterm elections hit College

Today's elections end a highly volatile political season, but despite economic uncertainty and a looming presidential impeachment inquiry, most political pundits at the College said they do not expect any surprises in the vote tallies.

All 435 House of Representatives seats are up for election as are 34 Senate seats, but all of the people interviewed by The Dartmouth said they do not expect a major shift in Congressional composition.

"My gut sense is the current reading of very minor Republican gains makes sense," Government Professor Richard Winters said.

Robert Pape, assistant government professor, said the polls are so close much will depend on the weather, which affects voter turnout.

"If it turns out to be an awfully bad day you're likely to see Republicans do well in both New Hampshire and Vermont and if it turns out the weather is really terrific ... I think Democrats will do well," Pape said. "There'll be some changes but they probably won't point in any one direction."

Both Pape and Winters said they expect turnout similar to other non-presidential year elections.

"There are no burning economic issues to bring voters out in droves in an off-year election," Pape said. "This is a normal thing to happen."

Winters said he sees the Clinton scandals as a "wash" which galvanized the conservative Republican wing -- but he said party faction is always motivated to vote anyway.

While some recent public opinion polls showed as many people upset with the way Republicans have handled the scandal as Democrats, the GOP recently released a last-minute advertising campaign dealing with Clinton's troubles.

Both Winters and Pape said they predict New Hampshire Democratic Governor Jeanne Shaheen will easily win re-election against her Republican rival Jay Lucas.

"If she doesn't get re-elected the sky has fallen," Winters said.

The main issue in the state's gubernatorial race this year is how to fund public education after the N.H. Supreme Court ruled current methods needed to be changed.

Both the Young Democrats organization and the Conservative Union at Dartmouth have been active during this year's election season, making phone calls and posting signs.

Both groups said they have campaigned heavily for their respective candidates in the Hanover state Senate election.

Republican and Dartmouth alum Clifton Below '78 is running against Democrat Larry Guaraldi in that race.

"It's a classic moderate-to-liberal Democrat versus a very conservative Republican," Young Democrats co-President David Schleicher '00 said. "The race has been neck-and-neck the whole time."

Schleicher said his group has also been very involved in the U.S. Congress race between Republican incumbent Charlie Bass '74 and Democrat Mary Rauh.

CUAD National Chair Paul Biggs '01 said beyond the Below race, his organization also attended the state's Republican convention where they participated in the committee to construct the party's official platform.

Biggs said he expects Republicans to gain three seats in the Senate and between 10 and 15 in the House.

He said he does not think the Clinton scandal will have much of an impact on the elections. "The problem is after the stock market fiasco and his intern troubles he still has a 60 percent approval rating so unfortunately the base population doesn't care enough," Biggs said.

Schleicher said he thinks the Senate make-up will remain virtually the same.

He said there are between 30 and 40 House seats in a statistical tie, and they could go either way.

"I think you're definitely going to see a status quo election," Schleicher said.

George Condodemetraky (D) is running against incumbent republican Judd Gregg for a Senate seat.

WDCR AM-1340 will broadcast continuous election returns from the close of the polls to midnight as part of its Dartmouth Election Network.

Dartmouth Broadcasting News Director Timothy Wright '01 said the major broadcasting event has occurred since 1964 and will involve commentary from two Dartmouth government professors and one professor from Princeton University.

Students can also watch the broadcast live from the Rockefeller Center.

Voters registered in Hanover can vote today in the Richmond School between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., and unregistered voters can both register and vote today.