It's rare that a freshman U.S. senator is elevated to a key party leadership position, but that happened to first-term Georgia Republican PAUL COVERDELL who deserves re-election to a second term Nov. 3.
The Georgian who looks like comedi-an Dana Carvey attained the No. 5 Senate leadership post in the majority party because he's the "hardest working man in the Senate" -- so designated by both colleagues and pundits.
With Republicans expected to expand their majority -- perhaps even to a filibuster proof 60 -- this pillar of conservatism is poised to become Georgia's most influential senator since Sam Nunn.
In light of that potential, as well as the service he has already provided to his nation and state, it would be an act of total incomprehensibility for voters to spurn Coverdell for the inexperienced, wealthy political dilettante trying to unseat him.
Moreover, Coverdell's record ought to please a vast majority of Georgians. Not only has he done a good job representing their interests and values, it's also hard to find any constructive legis-lation that doesn't have his fingerprints on it, including the Balanced Budget Act, crackdown on Internal Revenue Service abuses, veterans' benefits (in contrast to his opponent Coverdell is, in fact, a veteran himself), tax cuts, education reform and a lot more.
With an expanded GOP majority, the Peach State's senior U.S. senator will be in even a better position to work to pass the conservative agenda, including a stronger defense, repeal of estate and capital gains taxes and an override of President Clinton's veto of partial-birth abortion.