Dingell Survives Primary Challenge


Washington -- Media and telecommunications lobbyists can write headquarters
with some good news: ultraliberal Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Ca.) won't be the next
chairman of House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Waxman was in line to take over that powerful position in the event the more
senior Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) lost his Aug. 8 primary and the Democrats
regained control of the House in the November elections.

But after weeks of reports that Dingell, first elected in 1955, was in a race
too close to call, he easily defeated Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Mich.) Tuesday by a
nearly 2-to-1 margin.

Dingell, 76, is expected to best his Republican rival in the fall in the
heavily Democratic suburban Detroit district.

Rivers, 45, promised in her concession speech to remain active in

A combination of a Rivers win and a Democratic House takeover would have
propelled Waxman into the Energy and Commerce chairmanship.

A liberal Democrat who has battled the health, energy, and tobacco
indurtries, Waxman was considered a likely proponent of rolling back
deregulatory provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Dingell, by contrast, has worked with current Energy and Commerce Committee
chairman, Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), in crafting deregulatory broadband
legislation favorable to the Baby Bell phone companies.

The bill (HR 1542) passed the House but was blocked in the