President Bush's woeful campaign is hurting Republican congressional chances. But the gop has deeper problems. Pragmatic choices by voters in Democratic primaries coupled with Republicans' penchant for ideological purity-primarily on abortion rights-are hurting the gop in races it ought to be winning. For example, the Republicans nominated conservative John Linder to run in suburban Atlanta. But pro-choice moderate Democrat Cathey Steinberg has a good chance to win despite the district's Republican majority. In Colorado, David E. Skaggs has long been viewed as one of the most vulnerable House Democrats. But the gop may have blown its chance to beat him by nominating the Christian Coalition's Bryan Day over a moderate pro-choice woman. The same phenomenon is also hurting in Senate races. In North Carolina, for example, right-winger Lauch Faircloth continues to trail ailing Democratic incumbent Terry Sanford. State pols think the loser in the gop primary, former Charlotte Mayor Sue Myrick, would have run a stronger race.

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