All four Cochairmen of the Congressional Baltic Caucuses–Gordon Smith (R-OR), Richard Durbin (D-IL) of the Senate and John Shimkus (R-IL) and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) were reelected by healthy margins to Congress.
The final results of the House races are not yet available. However, it looks that there will be no major changes in the makeup or philosophy of the House Baltic Caucus as a result of Tuesday’s elections. Representative Rod Blagojevich (D-IL), member of the Baltic Caucus, was elected as Governor of Illinois. Maryland Democrat, Chris Van Hollen, replaced eight term GOP Representative and a House Baltic Caucus member Connie Morlella. In Tennessee Democrat Lincoln Davis won the seat held by Baltic Caucus member Van Hillary who resigned to run unsuccessfully for governor. As it looks today, Baltic Caucus membership has been reduced from 78 members to 75 members. That’s very good. The loss in the 2000 election was considerably greater.
In other House news, the Washington Post (6/11/02) reports that House Minority Leader, Richard Gephardt might resign his post to run for President in 2004. Should this happen, Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi (CA), a member of the Baltic Caucus, is a strong candidate to replace him as the Democrat’s leader. She is expected to be challeged for post by Baltic Caucus member Martin Frost of Texas.
In the Senate Baltic position in the Senate remains basically the same. All Baltic Caucus members were returned to Senate. As far as the rest of the Senate goes, both the supporters and the opponents to Baltic membership in NATO were reelected to the Senate. Former Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, a late substitute for Sen. Robert Torricelli, was returned to the Senate. In the past Senator Lautenberg has been a supporter of Baltic issues.
In summary, Baltic position both in the Senate and the House remains excellent.