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Nine alumni run for -- and mostly win -- national offices

In a night of bad news for Democrats, Barack Obama's old Senate seat fell into Republican hands Nov. 2 when Rep. Mark Kirk '81 won suburban and rural Illinois voters. Kirk, a history major at Cornell, was one of several Cornell alumni to keep or take new congressional seats in the midterm elections.

"In my almost 20 years of watching Cornell's federal relations, this is the largest number of Cornellians I've seen run for and win in the Congress," said Stephen Philip Johnson, vice president for government and community relations. "My staff and I look forward to getting to know the new Cornellians in the House."

Rep. Rob Andrews, J.D. '82, a New Jersey Democrat, won his 12th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. Andrews serves on the House Education and Labor Committee responsible for higher education issues.

In the Albany area, Republican retired Army Col. Chris Gibson unseated incumbent Rep. Scott Murphy. Gibson, MPA '95, M.A. '96, Ph.D. '98, holds degrees in government from Cornell and is author of "Securing the State," on national security decision making.

As was widely predicted, Hansen Clarke '84, a Democrat, easily won Michigan's 13th District seat with a huge plurality. Clarke defeated a seven-term Democratic incumbent in the primary. Clarke, 53, was profiled Aug. 13 on National Public Radio, and an Aug. 7 Huffington Post article called him "the Dems' rising star." He was a fine arts major in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning (AAP).

Rep. Bob Filner '63, Ph.D. '73, (D-Calif.) won his 10th term representing California's 51st District in a big, expected win. His district includes most of the Mexico-California border. As a Cornell student, Filner participated in the 1961 Freedom Rides and spent two months in a Mississippi jail. His Cornell doctorate is on the history of science.

Tax Revolt Party candidate Elizabeth Berney '75, an ILR School graduate, ran for Long Island's 5th Congressional District on a platform of tax relief, cutting wasteful spending, strengthening national security and fighting terrorism. The Great Neck attorney lost to Democrat incumbent Gary Ackerman.

It took until Nov. 3 to confirm the victory of Rep. Kurt Schrader '73 (D-Ore.). Schrader studied government as an Arts and Sciences student and is a veterinarian and farmer. He portrayed himself as independent from Washington and held on to his seat representing Oregon's 5th Congressional District, which has had one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation for two years.

Blue Dog Coalition member Gabrielle Giffords, M.R.P. '97, (D-Ariz.) awaits the results of her race in Arizona's 8th District. On the morning of Nov. 4, she held a one-point lead (about 2,300 votes) over her GOP challenger, former Marine and Tea Party favorite Jesse Kelly. Giffords studied city and regional planning in AAP. Update, Nov. 8: Giffords was declared the winner Nov. 5.

Republican retired opthalmologist Nan Hayworth, a 1985 Weill Cornell Medical College graduate, took the 19th district seat in the Hudson Valley. Hayworth's winning slogan: "Doctor. Mother. Businesswoman. Congress."

Correction: In the story posted Nov. 4, Elizabeth Berney was identified incorrectly as a Republican and Tax Revolt Party candidate.

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Joe Schwartz