By now, we've usually picked out some new faces who've shown themselves to be politicians of promise. But like so many things, in this year when no real themes have emerged, that hasn't been the case this time.
Year of the Old-Timer
It was not a young-comer, but 74-year-old Walter Mondale that Minnesota Democrats asked to step in after Paul Wellstone's tragic death.
When scandal forced Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli out of the race in New Jersey, it was 78-year-old Frank Lautenberg who danced to the rescue. Torricelli was way behind; Lautenberg is leading in the polls.
Message to Gerald Ford: Stay by the phone. If these guys win, Republicans may be call you next time.
Bad Sport Award
And remember Bob 'I'm Losing, I Quit' Torricelli for the Bad Sport award. After quitting the New Jersey race, he refused to share the millions in campaign donations he had collected with other Democrats.
Good Sport Award
The Good Sport Award has to go to the long suffering voters of South Dakota. With a close Senate race there, both parties since February have bombarded voters with more than $5.5 million worth of TV ads. Not a lot in a big state, but in little South Dakota -- where you can buy a 30 second ad for $1,000 -- that's more ads than any voter deserves.
No contest for the Most Valuable Player Award. President Bush wins that hands down. He raised $145 million dollars for Republicans, attended 67 fundraisers and, last month alone, appeared at 30 rallies. He remains so popular in some areas that several Democrats put him in THEIR ads. Are coat tails bi-partisan? We'll see.
And then there's the year's longest, long shot. That has to be former Ohio Congressman Jim Traficant. He was kicked out of Congress for corruption earlier this year. But he's running hard for reelection from his jail cell. So far, his campaign seems to be going no better than the rest of his life.
By Bob Orr