While Ralph Nader ’58 grabbed the spotlight in the presidential race, several other HLS alumni also sought elective office in the fall. Perhaps the most watched congressional race centered on a district near Los Angeles, where Democrat Adam Schiff ’85 defeated incumbent Republican James Rogan for a U.S. House seat. The combined campaigns spent an estimated $10 million, making theirs the most expensive House race in history, and attracted nationwide attention largely over Rogan’s active role in the impeachment of Bill Clinton.
In another California congressional race, Democrat Jane Lakes Harman ’69 narrowly defeated Republican Rep. Steven Kuykendall to reclaim the seat she previously held. Also in California, Republican Tom Campbell ’76 fell short in his bid to defeat incumbent Democrat Dianne Feinstein for the U.S. Senate. Campbell vacated a House seat to run for the Senate.
Elsewhere, Democrat John Cranley ’99 failed to become the youngest U.S. representative in the nation, losing to Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in the First District of Ohio. After the election, Cranley was featured in an MTV special chronicling his campaign for office. In Michigan, incumbent Sen. E. Spencer Abraham ’78 (’79), a Republican, lost a close race to Democrat Debbie Stabenow. Abraham now heads the Department of Energy. Also running for the Senate, Republican James Jeffords ’62 of Vermont won a third term, defeating Ed Flanagan ’76, the Democratic state auditor. In Indiana, Democrat David Johnson ’79 failed to upset Republican incumbent Richard Lugar. Democrat Regina Montoya Coggins ’79 polled a higher percentage than Al Gore in the home state of George W. Bush but nonetheless lost to two-term Republican Pete Sessions. Democrat Larry Otis Graham ’87 (’88) lost in his first race for Congress in New York against Sue Kelly, a Republican who returns to the House for a fourth term. In Connecticut, former state senator Mark Nielsen ’89, a Republican, lost in a repeat attempt against Democratic incumbent James Maloney. And in another rematch, Barry Ford ’91, running in the Tenth District of New York under the Working Families Party, lost again to Rep. Edolphus Towns, a Democrat.