N.M., N.J. voters pick Senate nominees
By BARRY MASSEY, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 13
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce
and Democrat U.S. Rep. Tom Udall won their parties'
nominations for New Mexico's soon-to-be-vacant Senate
seat, while New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg strolled
past primary opposition in his bid to join the winner
on Capitol Hill.
Udall was unopposed Tuesday for his party's Senate
nomination while Republicans had a bruising two-way
primary fight for the seat being vacated by six-term
GOP incumbent Pete Domenici.
Pearce defeated U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson with 51
percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts
reporting. The party faithful selected a conservative
rather than the more moderate Wilson to run
against Udall, who won two statewide races as attorney
general before his election to Congress in 1998.
During the campaign, Pearce branded Wilson as a
liberal for her voting record, such as supporting a
Democratic plan to expand a children's health care
program. She called herself a "common sense
conservative" who would be the more electable
Republican in the general election against Udall.
In New Jersey, Lautenberg, 84, won a commanding
re-nomination victory, easily besting a challenge from
U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews and Morristown Mayor Donald
Cresitello. Andrews often reminded voters that
Lautenberg would be nearly 91 by the end of a fifth
term, but Lautenberg insisted age wasn't an issue.
"They weren't looking at my age," Lautenberg said of
voters, who gave the incumbent an 59-35 percent edge
over Andrews with 99 percent of precincts reporting.
"They don't care how old I am."
Lautenberg will compete in November against a former
House member, Dick Zimmer, who defeated both a state
senator and a business professor in the Republican
In other contests across the nation:
_In South Dakota, residents of Union County approved
rezoning farm land for what would be the first new
U.S. oil refinery in more than 30 years.
_In California, voters passed some limits on
government home seizures but rejected sweeping changes
to property rights laws. Residents approved
Proposition 99 and defeated Proposition 98, which were
both intended to limit government's authority to force
Californians to sell their homes for private
development projects such as shopping malls, hotels
and new housing.
Proposition 98 would have added protections for
businesses and farms and phased out rent control. Its
defeat was a victory for the California League of
Cities and environmentalists who placed the narrower
Proposition 99 on the ballot as an alternative.
Proposition 98 arose from a national backlash to a
ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2005, when the
court found that a Connecticut redevelopment authority
had the right to seize private property for hotels,
shopping centers and other private developments. That
decision marked a departure from the traditional use
of eminent domain, which is typically used when
governments build roads, schools or other public
_In Sacramento, former NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson
forced a runoff election for mayor against the
two-term incumbent, Heather Fargo. The candidates
needed more than 50 percent to win the contest
outright; Johnson led his opponent 47 percent to 40
percent. Fargo's election night party turned tragic
when a massive tree branch crashed down and sent a
supporter to the hospital.
_Voters in Mendocino County, north of the Bay Area,
agreed to repeal a groundbreaking law that allowed
residents to grow up to 25 marijuana plants for
medical or recreational use.
_In San Diego, Mayor Jerry Sanders, a moderate
Republican, thumped a wealthy, self-financed rival who
outspent him 10-to-1 in a lively contest to run the
nation's eighth-largest city.
_California's most heated congressional campaign saw
state Sen. Tom McClintock beating former Rep. Doug
Ose, a real estate businessman, to claim the
Republican nomination in Northern California's 4th
Congressional District. McClintock now battles
Democrat Charlie Brown to win the seat held by
Republican Rep. John Doolittle, who is retiring as he
is being investigated in an influence-peddling
_In Alabama, Democrats nominated Montgomery Mayor
Bobby Bright to try to succeed eight-term Republican
Terry Everett. The Republican field of six was led by
state Rep. Jay Love, but he was headed for a July 15
runoff with state Sen. Harri Anne Smith because both
of them received less than half the vote.
_In Iowa, six-term congressman Leonard Boswell put
down a challenge from a more liberal opponent, largely
by drawing attention to Ed Fallon's support for Ralph
Nader in the 2000 presidential race. Fallon conceded
the endorsement was probably his "worst political
decision" but said he had repeatedly apologized for
backing Nader. And he noted that Al Gore narrowly won Iowa.