Politics 2002
NPR Special Coverage

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As the 2002 mid-term elections approach, American voters are confronting fears of terrorism, weighing the prospect of military action against Iraq, and facing an unsteady economy tinged with corporate scandal. Those issues are bound to influence their votes, in congressional races and statewide contests. The Nov. 5 election results could shift the balance of power on Capitol Hill and generate a lasting impact on public policy decisions. Follow NPR coverage of the events leading to the elections, from the corridors of Congress to the campaign trail.

Bill Simon and Gray Davis after Calif. Debate Jeb Bush and Bill McBride Debate
Left: Democrat incumbent Gov. Gray Davis (right) a Democrat, and Republican challenger Bill Simon Jr. shake hands after their gubernatorial debate on Oct. 7, 2002 in Los Angeles. Right: Republican incumbent Gov. Jeb Bush (left) and Democratic challenger Bill McBride (center) listen to a question from moderator Tim Russert of Meet The Press, during their televised debate at the University of Central Florida on Oct. 22, 2002. Photos copyright 2002 Reuters Limited.

Latest Politics 2002 stories:

listen to the audio Learning to Vote
Young voters are among the least likely to participate in today's elections. NPR's Neva Grant visits a high school in Florida -- the state that was the epicenter of the 2000 presidential election fiasco -- to find out how students learn about voting and why many remain ambivalent about it. Nov. 5, 2002.
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listen to the audio Elections - Get Out the Vote
Host Bob Edwards talks to John Harwood, political editor of The Wall Street Journal about efforts by the political parties to get out the vote. Nov. 5, 2002.
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listen to the audio Poll: No Single, Dominant Issue on Voters' Minds
Americans have expressed concern with issues ranging from the economy, health care and national security. But a series of polls by NPR News, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government show that no single issue dominates among voters of this year's midterm election. NPR's Marcus Rosenbaum reports. Nov. 5, 2002.
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listen to the audio David Broder: Exit Polls
Host Bob Edwards speaks with David Broder, reporter and columnist for The Washington Post, about whether exit polls will be put to better use in today's elections than in the election two years ago. Nov. 5, 2002.
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listen to the audio Exit Polling This Election
John Ydstie talks with Steve Capus, executive producer of NBC Nightly News and of NBC News's Election Night Coverage, about exit polling -- how it's being done differently this year, and how elections will be called by the networks. Nov. 4, 2002.
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listen to the audio Money in Judicial Elections
Campaigns for judgeships are usually thought of as quiet affairs, and few attract the kind of dollars thrown at Senate seats and governorships. But things are different this year in Southern Mississippi, where a seat on the state Supreme Court has become a battleground in the larger war over liability suits. These days there are few issues that bring out the big donations faster. NPR's Peter Overby reports on the millions showing up in Mississippi. Nov. 4, 2002.
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listen to the audio Bush on Campaign Trail Key to Tight Races
President Bush has been traversing the country campaigning on behalf of Republican candidates. His itinerary is telling about which races are the tightest. NPR's White House correspondent Don Gonyea has been on the trail with the White House team and tells John Ydstie about the various congressional and gubernatorial races where both parties are throwing all of their weight into winning. Nov. 4, 2002.
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listen to the audio Senate Shoo-Ins
While the most publicized races are often the close ones, the reality is that much of the makeup of the new Congress can already be foreseen. Robert Siegel talks with NPR Washington Editor Ron Elving about some of the Senate races where the outcome appears virtually guaranteed. Nov. 4, 2002.
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listen to the audio Independent Dean Barkley Named Interim Minn. Senator
Gov. Jesse Ventura names key adviser Dean Barkley as interim senator, leaving the Senate with 49 Republicans, 49 Democrats and two independents. Meanwhile, Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Walter Mondale trade sharp barbs in a debate. Hear NPR's David Welna. Nov. 4, 2002.
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listen to the audio Our Limited View of the Woman Candidate
"Eighty-two years after women got the right to vote," observes essayist Diane Roberts, "it's not remarkable to see women asking for votes." But, she says, we often respond as though it is unusual, and that limits our perspective on women as political candidates. Nov. 3, 2002.
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listen to the audio Clarence Page: The Parties and Black Voters
Host Liane Hansen talks with Clarence Page, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, about a recent poll showing a large percentage of young black voters don't identify themselves as Democrats. They also discuss political contests where black voting could have an influence on the results. Nov. 3, 2002.
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listen to the audio Leach Remains Steadfast in Iowa House Campaign
Republican Jim Leach struggles to keep his Iowa House seat in a newly redistricted, liberal-leaning district. Democrat Julie Thomas comes on strong, but Leach continues to refuse contributions from dubious sources. NPR's David Welna reports. Nov. 3, 2002.
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listen to the audio Bush on the Stump Ahead of Midterm Vote
President Bush campaigns for Republican candidates around the country as Tuesday's midterm elections near. At stake is control of a narrowly divided Congress. Listen to NPR's David Welna. Nov. 2, 2002.
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listen to the audio Candidates Head to the Finish Line
Candidates hit the phones and go door-to-door to scrape up votes before Tuesday's election. NPR's Steve Inskeep chats with some political hopefuls. Nov. 2, 2002.
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listen to the audio Redrawn Georgia Districts Give Democrats a Boost
Tuesday's election in Georgia features several races that are all but decided. Democrats were highly effective in redrawing congressional districts in a bid to keep their party in power. NPR's Steve Inskeep reports. Nov. 2, 2002.
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listen to the audio Charlie Cook on House Races
NPR's Robert Siegel talks with Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report about the contest for control of the House of Representatives. Cook says the House is unlikely to shift from Republican control. He names a few of the close races. Nov. 1, 2002.
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listen to the audio Parties Try to Avoid Election Fiasco Repeat
Next week's national elections are the first since the vote-counting fiasco in Florida two years ago. Both parties have vowed to be prepared, as have election officials in states and localities throughout the country. New machines and new ballots will be in use and a host of election observers will be keeping tabs as the nation votes. NPR's Pam Fessler reports. Nov. 1, 2002.
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listen to the audio Gauging the Nation's Mood on Eve of Elections
Robert Siegel talks with Weekly Standard Senior Editor David Brooks and with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. They discuss the political mood of the country heading into election day. They also talk about the balance of power in the U.S. Senate and the chance that control could move back to the Republicans on Tuesday. Nov. 1, 2002.
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listen to the audio Florida Governor's Race Echoes the 2000 Election
NPR's Phillip Davis reports Florida's race for Governor is a tight one. Democrats vowed from the minute Al Gore lost the presidency that Jeb Bush would pay for it. They are hoping the residual anger from 2000, plus the overcrowding of school classes, will propel Bill McBride to victory. But Governor Bush is running a tight campaign, with far more money in the bank than his opponent. Nov. 1, 2002.
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listen to the audio Values and Political Tradition in Arkansas Senate Race
NPR's Greg Allen reports on the re-election campaign of Arkansas Sen. Tim Hutchinson, who is thought to be the most endangered GOP senator on the ballot next week. Hutchinson, who ran six years ago as a "family values" conservative, divorced his wife and married an aide shortly after his election. Further, Hutchinson's Democratic opponent, Attorney General Mark Pryor, is the son of one of the state's most revered political figures. Oct 31, 2002.
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listen to the audio N.M. Governor Race May Draw Big Hispanic Vote
Democrat Bill Richardson leads in the polls in the New Mexico governor's race against Republican rival John Sanchez. Both are Hispanic, and a big Hispanic voter turnout next Tuesday could affect the outcome in two close House races for seats now held by Republicans. NPR's Linda Wertheimer reports for All Things Considered on New Mexico's ethnic political landscape. Oct.31, 2002.
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listen to the audio Juan Williams: Minority Candidates Seek High Office in Texas
NPR Senior Correspondent Juan Williams reports on political races in Texas that feature minority candidates reaching out to white voters. Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk is the Democratic candidate for United States Senate. Tony Sanchez is the Democrat's candidate for governor. Both candidates' chances are being bolstered by the state's rising population of blacks and Hispanics. Oct. 31, 2002.
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listen to the audio Absentee Voting May Not 'Get Out the Vote'
Host Bob Edwards speaks with Curtis Gans of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate about the upcoming elections. He says absentee ballots are supposed to enable people to vote, but they may actually discourage voting. Gans says it's a case of voting reforms that backfired. Oct 31, 2002.
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listen to the audio Seniors Key to Senate Election in NH
NPR's Mara Liasson reports on the New Hampshire senate race between Republican Congressman John Sununu and Governor Jean Shaheen, a Democrat. The race is tight, with both candidates seeking to gain an edge by appealing to the elderly and staking out ground on issues like Social Security reform. DATE, 2002.
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listen to the audio Mondale Campaign for Senate Begins
Mark Zdechlik of Minnesota Public Radio reports on Walter Mondale's announcement yesterday that he will replace the late Senator Paul Wellstone on the ballot. The former Vice President in the Carter Administration served as a Minnesota Senator from 1964 to 1976. He is 74 years old. Oct. 31, 2002.
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listen to the audio The Rigors of an Alaskan Campaign
Anne Sutton of member station KTOO in Juneau, Alaska, reports on the rigors of running a political campaign in a district that's bigger than many states. Oct. 30, 2002.
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listen to the audio Georgia is First With Touch-Screen Voting
Georgia Public Radio's Susanna Capelouto reports that next week, Georgia will become the first state in the country to have every vote cast on a touch-screen computer system. There are concerns the new technology could scare some people away from the polls so a big effort is underway to get voters comfortable with the new machines. Oct. 29, 2002.
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listen to the audio Getting Out the Vote: Texas, Oregon and Missouri
John Ydstie talks with three people who are working to get more people to vote. One of them is Daniel Berwick, the Get-Out-the-Vote campaign coordinator for Democrat Tony Sanchez's run for Governor of Texas. Berwick's group has about 300 vans taking volunteers into neighborhoods throughout the state to knock on more than a million doors each weekend. John also talks with Dan Lavey, a Republican political consultant in Oregon, and Julie Gibson, who works for the Missouri Democratic Party. Oct. 29, 2002.
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listen to the audio Senate Races Tighten as Election Nears
Host Bob Edwards speaks with NPR's Washington Editor Ron Elving about the upcoming elections for the United States Senate. With the death of Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone last Friday, the race to gain the majority in the Senate has grown even more hectic. Both parties are scrambling for the upper hand in close races around the country. Oct. 29, 2002.
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