Former Federal Communications Commission member Gloria Tristani, a Democrat appointed to the FCC by President Clinton, easily won her U.S. Senate primary last Tuesday in New Mexico, earning the right to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Pete Domenici in the fall.
Tristani, who left the FCC last Sept. 7, faced one opponent in her primary — Santa Fe lawyer Francesca Lobato — and rode to victory, capturing nearly 80 percent of the vote. Domenici captured his primary in an unopposed contest.
Elsewhere, former U.S. Sen. Larry Pressler, a South Dakota Republican, failed in his attempt to return to Congress.
Pressler sought the GOP nomination for the state's lone House seat, but Tuesday's five-way primary was won by incumbent Gov. William Janklow, with 55 percent of the vote. Pressler finished second with 27 percent.
In 1996, Pressler was a key player in passing the Telecommunications Act as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. But that fall he lost his seat to Democrat Tim Johnson.
Pressler served in the House for four years in the 1970s before winning his Senate seat. Had his comeback been a success, Pressler would have become only the second senator in U.S. history to return to the House after serving the Senate.
Sen. Claude Pepper (D-Fla.) lost his seat in 1950 but won election to the House in 1962, where he served until his death in 1989 at age 88.