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Senate Races' Pinch-Hitters

The Democratic Party has enlisted two former senators to fill sudden vacancies on the ballot for US Senate in Minnesota and New Jersey. This avoids the problem of voters not having enough time to size up fresher, lesser-known candidates.

Both these last-minute picks – Walter Mondale in Minnesota and Frank Lautenberg in New Jersey – are ahead in the polls. If they win, they will bring seasoned experience to the Senate.

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But, as Mr. Mondale himself once observed, "One of the requirements of a healthy party is that it renews itself."

Age is not the issue but rather the problems of incumbency. Public office requires new faces with new ideas as much as leaders with a depth of experience.

Voters in those two states must decide if the times call for senators with experience in Washington or ones who bring new ideas and new approaches.