Altschuler '93, Hayworth '81 fall in congressional elections
Five other alumni — four of whom are Democrats — also won their congressional races. The race of Republican Ricky Gill ’09, who is running for Congress in California, was still close to call as of 2 a.m. Wednesday.
Gill, who only graduated from the University three years ago, raised over $2 million, more than any Republican congressional challenger. But that war chest didn’t help him oust third-term incumbent Democratic congressman Jerry McNerney in California’s Central Valley. The recent Wilson School graduate mounted his campaign while still a law student at the University of California, Berkeley, and did not turn 25 — the constitutionally minimum age for a congressional seat — until this May.
He continued to gain momentum throughout the race for the more Democratic San Joaquin County district.
In two nail-biters in New York, two Republican alumni lost their races for Congress. Altschuler lost again in a rematch against Democratic incumbent Tim Bishop by about 10,000 votes. In the 2010 race, Altschuler spent $3.6 million of his own money and eventually lost by only 593 votes in a race decided more than five weeks after Election Day, the last congressional race decided in the country.
On Election Day in 2010, Bishop was reported to lead by more than 3,000 votes, but the election dragged on after a tabulation error was discovered that gave Altschuler a 356-vote lead. Though polling suggested another close race this year, Altschuler’s loss this year was called much sooner.
Elsewhere in New York, in the state’s 18th congressional district, Republican incumbent Hayworth was apparently upset by Democratic challenger Sean Patrick Maloney by about 8,500 votes as of 2 a.m. Wednesday. Hayworth, however, declined to concede late Tuesday night.
Maloney attacked Hayworth as a Tea Party Republican after she was elected in 2010 in a nationwide wave of Tea Party victories. A biology major, Hayworth spent 16 years as an ophthalmologist and did not decide to enter politics until President Barack Obama’s election in 2008.
In Texas, Cruz won the Senate race over Democrat Paul Sadler to take over the seat currently held by Republican Sen. Kay Bailey. Cruz, the former state solicitor general who came from behind to win the Republican primary over Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, was heavily favored to win the race.
A Wilson School major, Cruz was a national debate champion while at the University and wrote his thesis on constitutional law under politics professor and campus conservative leader Robert George. Cruz was the first Hispanic solicitor general in Texas and the youngest solicitor general in the United States. He received the endorsement of Tea Party Express and other Tea Party leaders earlier this year.
In Washington, Derek Kilmer ’96, a Democratic state senator, won the state’s 6th congressional district in the northwestern part of the state. A Wilson School major, Kilmer was active in class government and won the prestigious Pyne Prize and a Marshall Scholarship to study at Oxford University. Kilmer was elected to the House in 2004 and the state senate in 2006.
Democratic congressman Terri Sewell ’86 won re-election in Alabama’s 7th congressional district over Republican challenger Don Chamberlain. When Sewell won the seat of retiring Democrat Artur Davis with 73 percent of the vote in 2010, she became the first African-American congresswoman from Alabama.
Democratic congressman John Sarbanes ’84 and Jared Polis ’96, from Maryland and Colorado, respectively, won re-election to the House. New Jersey congressman Leonard Lance GS ’82, who represents the area immediately north of Princeton, also comfortably won re-election.