Voters seemed to have ethics on their minds on election day as they tossed out of office four congressmen involved in Abscam bribery charges and a longtime senator who has been denounced by the Senate for financial misconduct.
In a surprise, Sen. Herman E. Talmadge (D) of Georgia lost in late voting returns to Republican Mack Mattingly. Mr. Mattingly squeaked out a victory over the four-term incumbent who had been hit by several personal controversies, including a charge of misusing funds and a public admission of alcoholism.
In five races for the House of Representatives involving congressmen charged with bribery, four of the incumbents lost.Rep. Michael (Ozzie) Myers (D) of Pennsylvania, the first congressman to be convicted of accepting a $50,000 bribe out of the FBI Abscam investigation, lost to independent Thomas M. Foglietta.
John W. Jenrette Jr. (D) of South Carolina, also convited of Abscam bribery charges, lost to Republican John L. Napier.
Also defeated were Abscam defendants John M. Murphy (D) of New York and Frank Thompson Jr. (D) of New Jersey. Both incumbents lost to Republicans, State Assemblyman Guy Molinari in New York and Christopher H. Smith, who has been active in New Jersey's anti-abortion movement.
Raymond F. Lederer (D) of Pennsylvania was the only congressman who held on to his seat despite being indicted in Abscam. He will be tried early next year of bribery charges and could face possible expulsion from the House if convicted.
In other races in which ethical and legal problems have been issues:
* Robert E. Bauman (R) of Maryland, an effective and often caustic spokesman for conservatives, lost his bid for a fourth term. Congressman Bauman pleaded innocent in court a month ago to charges of soliciting sex from a teen-age boy and admitted to "homosexual tendencies." State delegate Roy Dyson, a conservative Democrat, won the seat.
Jon C. Hinson (R) of Mississippi won a second term to the House despite an admission that he had been arrested at a homosexual meeting place and had paid a fine for creating a public nuisance.