The Senate

Two unrelated developments in the West have boosted Democratic chances of retaining control of the Senate next fall. Richard Fisher's defeat of favorite Jim Mattox in a Texas primary runoff gives the Democrats a shot at unseating Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison. And Wyoming Governor Michael J. Sullivan's decision to run for the Senate means the Democrats could pick up the seat of retiring Republican Malcolm Wallop. Recent polls show Fisher trailing first-termer Hutchison by just nine points in trial heats. Texas political analysts say that Mattox' relentless attacks on Fisher, a one-time adviser to Ross Perot, as too conservative have increased his appeal to Republicans and independents. The highly popular Sullivan, who reluctantly agreed to run after a fervent courtship by national party officials, will face Wyoming's at-large GOP congressman, Craig Thomas, in November.