Republican Sen. John Heinz easily won a third term and hoped his Pennsylvania landslide would carry George Bush to victory in a presidential race too close to call.
Heinz was winning a whopping 66% of the vote to 34% for Democrat Joseph Vignola, a former Philadelphia city controller.
In an unusual twist to the coattails scenario, Republicans hoped Heinz’s popularity as heir to his family’s ketchup and pickle fortune would deliver Pennsylvania’s 25 electoral votes for Bush.
Heinz, 50, raised $5 million for his reelection, 10 times the amount spent by Vignola, 39.
Bush’s attack on Democrat Michael S. Dukakis’ positions on gun control and abortion appeared to have helped the vice president in conservative central Pennsylvania, as well as in the traditionally Democratic northeastern region.
Heinz also persuaded Bush to support continued import quotas to protect what is left of the state’s devastated steel industry.
With 18% of the precincts reporting, Dukakis had 373,954 votes, or 50%, and Bush had 369,692, for a similar 50%.