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Virginia Senate Race Heats Up, As Candidates Jump Right In

VIRGINIA voters don't much like their choices in next year's United States Senate race - a senator, a governor, and a famous ex-marine among them. So the candidates' list just keeps growing as other hopefuls jump into what could shape up as the country's hottest race of its kind.

Democratic Sen. Charles Robb is seeking reelection after a first term marred by a federal grand jury investigation and news reports that he attended drug parties while he was governor and had an affair with a beauty queen.

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Gov. L. Douglas Wilder (D), Mr. Robb's longtime nemesis, is challenging him for the nomination.

``We have a senator and a governor who cannot speak to each other,'' said Sylvia Clute, a lawyer also seeking the Democratic nomination. ``I'm concerned they will cancel each other out and make Oliver North the next senator from Virginia.''

Even state Democratic chairman Mark Warner has not ruled himself out. Former Gov. Gerald Baliles said he has no plans to run but party activists said they believe he could be drafted if Robb withdraws.

On the GOP side, retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North of Iran-contra fame has more name recognition than two other contenders, former US Attorney Jay Stephens and former Reagan budget chief Jim Miller.

But Robb, Mr. Wilder, and Mr. North are all viewed unfavorably by about half of all voters, according to a September poll conducted by the Washington Post. Any race involving them would be close, said Del Ali, a pollster for Mason-Dixon Political/ Media Research. More women win Rhodes

A record number of women are among the 32 Americans who will head to Oxford University next fall on prestigious Rhodes scholarships.

Seventeen women won the academic honor this year, compared with 16 last year, officials announced in Los Angeles Sunday. Women became eligible for the scholarship in 1976.

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Harvard University led with five Rhodes Scholars, who are selected to study at Oxford University in England. Next came Rutgers University with two - the school's first - and 25 other universities with one each.

Judges selected this year's winners from more than 1,200 applicants. Since the first selection in 1903, 2,691 Americans have won the scholarships, including President Clinton. The program is administered through Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.

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