Restive Republicans elected conservatives to second-echelon Senate leadership posts in secret balloting that signaled more combative GOP dealings with majority Democrats in the next Congress.
In their organizational caucus Tuesday, the GOP senators re-elected Minority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas and his chief deputy, Alan Simpson of Wyoming. But in contests for four second-tier posts, conservatives held sway over more moderate colleagues.Dumped from the Republican Party's No. 3 leadership job was Sen. John Chafee of Rhode Island, the most liberal Republican in the Senate. Republicans voted 22-21 to replace him with conservative Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
Democrats, meanwhile, re-elected Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine and chose Sen. Wendell Ford of Kentucky to succeed Alan Cranston of California as assistant majority leader in a caucus that produced no surprises.
The move to the right among Republicans held throughout the closed-door voting on three other open posts in which no incumbents were seeking new terms.
Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma defeated Sen. Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico for the chairmanship of the Republican Policy Committee. Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas beat out Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky for the job of campaign chairman. And Sen. Robert Kasten of Wisconsin was elected secretary of the Republican conference over Sen. Christopher Bond of Missouri.