Monday, October 16, 2006

Chuck, Ollie, Marshall and Doug

In 1994 the Virginia senatorial race was every bit as much in the national spotlight as this year’s contest between Republican incumbent George Allen and Democratic challenger Jim Webb. Yet, as this year’s clash is essentially a two-way affair (no disrespect is meant toward Gail Parker’s effort), in some ways it is less dynamic.

When Democrat Chuck Robb won reelection to the U.S. Senate 12 years ago, he faced three formidable opponents -- Republican nominee Ollie North, Independent Democrat Doug Wilder, and Republican Independent Marshall Coleman. Both Wilder and Coleman had previously won statewide elections and North was then a top shelf media celebrity. Plus North had amassed a war chest -- most of it from out of state -- the likes of which had never been seen in any race for the Senate.

Sen. John Warner broke ranks and backed Coleman; word was he couldn’t stand Ollie. Wilder pulled out of the race suddenly. And, North’s widely touted Iran-Contra Hearing-honed charm proved to be less effective on Virginians than had been predicted by most of the time’s pundits.
Nationwide, the Republicans did very well that year. Yet in Virginia, a Democrat won against a Republican who was seen as a big favorite in the early going. The panels at the top and above are from a five-page spread of ‘toons on that lively race I did in the fall of 1994 for STYLE Weekly.

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