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Political Expert Predicts Sex Scandal Will Not Matter

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RALEIGH — Local experts predict that North Carolina's congressional delegation probably will not look much different after election day.

Dan Page grabbed national headlines for being one of the first republicans to go after his democratic opponent, incumbent Bob Ethridge, over the Clinton/Lewinsky controversy.

Republican Tom Roberg also linked his incumbent opponent, David Price, to the Clinton affair.

Despite the assault, most polls and political experts say both of the democrats will probably be headed back to Washington.

"They're in much better shape than anyone would have thought two, three months ago," political science professor Thad Beyle said.

Beyle teaches North Carolina politics at UNC. While many voters are upset with the president, Beyle says many are more upset with the message.

"It came into an audience that said, 'Wait a minute, I am tired of this stuff,'" he said. "So if you put out an attack ad, it was like somebody plugged the barrel of your gun and it was coming right back at you."

Beyle says along with Price and Ethridge, most other incumbent democratic congressional candidates are a safe bet in North Carolina. However, until the election is over, no one is completely safe.

"I don't use the word safe," he said. "I would say that right now it's likely they're going to win, but you can't tell because of that turn-out problem."

A big turn out by either democrats or republicans could swing the results their way. Right now there's an even 6-6 split in the North Carolina congressional delegation.

Dr. Beyle thinks the scorecard will be seven republicans and five democrats after the election is over next week.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
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