How big a mid-course correction?; Democratic gains follow national trend
In the states surrounding Washington, D.C., the results of Tuesday's election mirrored the national pattern. Senate races preserved the status quo, while Democrats crept forward in the House -- cutting down one member of the Republican House leadership in the process.
In a pair of offsetting Senate contests, Republican Sen. William V. Roth Jr., co-author of the 1980 tax cut, won comfortably in Delaware, while Democrate Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland easily survived a $650,000 television advertising attack by NCPAC, and retained his seat.
In the region's most hotly contested Senate election, Republican Rep. Paul S. Trible bested Lt. Gov. Richard J. Davis (D) in the race to occupy the ''Byrd seat.'' the Senate post held for the last 50 years by first Harry F. Byrd Sr. and then Harry F. Byrd Jr. Mr. Trible convinced the Virginia electorate that he was the true political heir to Byrd, a registered independent who caucused with Democrats but often voted Republican.
Paradoxically, Trible's win and president Reagan's popularity in this conservative state wasn't reflected in the House results. Democrats picked up three seats in Virginia -- ousting two longtime Republican incumbents in the process.
Housing voting also went the Democrats' way in other, more traditionally liberal states. In West Virginia -- where senate minority leader Robert Byrd (D) steamrolled to a fifth term -- Democrats picked up two House seats. In Maryland, all eight House incumbents were reelected. Only one is a Republican. And in Delaware, State Treasurer Thomas R. Carper (D) ousted a member of the GOP leadership -- Rep. Thomas B Evans Jr., who serves as Reagan's official liaison in the House.
In the District of Columbia the only drama was provided by a proposed statehood constitution. Containing controversial provision, such as a section guaranteeing D.C. residents a job, it was passed by a relatively narrow margin. The city council can still amend it before it is sent to Congress.