Two Bright Spots for Former Clinton Official Candidates

Clinton administration veterans grabbed New Mexico's governorship and an Illinois House seat, but four others went down to defeat, closing out an election year that once saw about a dozen Clinton alumni bidding for elective office.

In New Mexico, former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson overwhelmingly defeated Republican John Sanchez and will become the state's first Hispanic governor in two decades. In Illinois, former Clinton aide Rahm Emanuel won the 5th District seat in Chicago vacated by Rod Blagojevich, who was elected governor.

There, though, the Clinton aides' victories on Tuesday came to a halt.

Perhaps their highest-profile loss was in North Carolina, where former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles was defeated by Elizabeth Dole in the race for Jesse Helms' Senate seat. Dole, a Republican who served as a Cabinet secretary under two presidents, also has headed the American Red Cross and run for president.

"I did everything I could. I couldn't do any more,'' Bowles said. "I wanted to serve and now I will have to find another way to do that.''

In New Mexico, Gloria Tristani, a Clinton appointee to the Federal Communications Commission, failed in her bid to unseat GOP Sen. Pete Domenici.

Bill Curry, who worked in the Clinton White House, lost the Connecticut governor's race to Republican incumbent John G. Rowland, who won a third term.

In Minnesota, Steve Andreasen, a National Security Council official under Clinton, lost to four-term GOP Rep. Gil Gutknecht.

Falling earlier in primary elections were former Attorney General Janet Reno and ex-Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who sought Democratic gubernatorial nominations in Florida and Massachusetts. Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Andrew Cuomo dropped out of the New York governor's race.

Three ex-aides to Clinton lost primaries for House seats: Ira Shapiro in Maryland, Pete Dagher in Illinois and Fred DuVal in Arizona.