The Vote: Governors

Frank O’Bannon has won re-election as governor of Indiana.

With 97 percent of the vote counted, O’Bannon had a 56 to 42 percent lead over Rep. David McIntosh.

O’Bannon first took office after gaining 52 percent of the vote in 1996.

Early in the current campaign, some national Republicans believed he was vulnerable. However, after the most expensive gubernatorial race in Indiana history, O’Bannon appeared to have a clear lead heading into Election Day.

Ed Schafer, chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, said recently that Republicans simply hadn’t “been able to get any traction” against O’Bannon’s persistent double-digit lead in the polls.

Despite apparent Republican leads in statewide presidential and Senate races, O’Bannon has consistently led McIntosh, a congressman, in polls, including a 52 to 37 percent lead in a sampling by Research 2000 taken in late October. The poll listed a 4 percent margin of error.

McIntosh has accused O’Bannon of mismanaging the state. Democrats have attacked McIntosh’s Congressional attendance record.

Republicans complained O’Bannon consolidated his popularity by temporarily suspending the state’s gasoline tax on July 1. O’Bannon said the move responded to dangerously high gas prices, and was not politically motivated.

Missouri

Bob Holden (D) vs. James M. Talent (R)

ABCNEWS PROJECTION: Incumbent Party (D) Wins

Bob Holden, the state treasurer, defeated James M. Talent, a congressman, in a hard-fought race almost overshadowed by the death of Democratic Gov. Mel Carnahan.

Carnahan, who had been barred from running for re-election by term limits, died in a plane crash on Oct. 16 as he was running for the U.S. Senate.

Holden, an Ozarks dairy farmer’s son who rose to the pinnacle of Missouri politics, was narrowly elected governor after an agonizing Election Night of seesawing numbers.

“I look forward to having a very successful four years as governor of the state of Missouri,” Holden declared to cheering supporters in St. Louis just before 3 a.m. today.

Montana

Judy Martz (R) vs. Mark O’Keefe (D)

ABCNEWS PROJECTION: Incumbent Party (R) Wins

ABCNEWS projects that Lt. Gov. Judy Martz has held off a well-funded opponent to keep the governorship in Republican hands.

Republican Gov. Marc Racicot won a landslide election victory in 1996, but was barred from running again because of term limits. Racicot endorsed Martz as his successor.

The race had been considered a tossup. In Mark O’Keefe, the state auditor, Martz faced a wealthy opponent who poured millions of dollars of his and his wife’s personal fortune into his campaign. The family of O’Keefe’s wife, Lucy Dayton, once co-owned the Dayton-Hudson department store chain.

Martz accused O’Keefe of lying on issues and overspending, and attacked him as a “tax and spend liberal Democrat” originally from out of state. O’Keefe is a native of Pennsylvania.

O’Keefe portrayed himself as an independent politician despite his Democratic affiliation, and said he had to spend his family’s money to respond to alleged distortions about his record in campaign ads.

New Hampshire

Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) vs. Gordon Humphrey (R) & Mary Brown (I)

ABCNEWS PROJECTION: Incumbent Party (D) Wins

Gov. Jeanne Shaheen has defeated Gordon Humphrey for re-election to a third term as governor.

With 98 percent of the vote counted, Shaheen had a 49 to 44 percent lead.

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