WASHINGTON – In the wake of yesterday\’s midterm elections, one thing is unmistakably clear: Tax hikes are so drastically unpopular that only paleoliberals will mention them.

Which makes November 5th, 2002 a holiday of sorts for taxpayer activists. Pro-taxpayer candidates won hotly contested Senate races in Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, Minnesota, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee and may pick up in the recount for South Dakota. Taxpayer-friendly candidates also won tight races in U.S. House districts, as well as a swath of gubernatorial races.

Most strikingly: All of the Senate victors, and most in the House signed the Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which is a written promise from candidates and elected officials to oppose and vote against efforts to increase taxes. Georgia\’s Saxby Chambliss, North Carolina\’s Elizabeth Dole, Texas\’ John Cornyn, Missouri\’s Jim Talent, Minnesota\’s Norm Coleman, New Hampshire\’s John Sununu, South Carolina\’s Lindsey Graham, Tennessee\’s Lamar Alexander and South Dakota\’s John Thune all signed the Pledge, as did a majority of winners in the less competitive races. A complete list of pledge signers, as well as winners in state and federal elections can be viewed on ATR\’s website at www.atr.org.

"November 5th will be marked as a terrific day for taxpayers everywhere," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads ATR in Washington. "Even paleoliberals won\’t touch tax hikes with a ten-foot cattleprod."

Before yesterday\’s vote, pledge signers included President George W. Bush, nine governors, 38 senators, 211 representatives, 1,250 state legislators and over one thousand challengers for office. There will be a net gain of four Pledge signers in the Senate and several more in the House.

"Class warfare politics hit the concrete, \’no new taxes\’ wall erected by voters last night," continued Norquist, "and from here until 2004, American taxpayers will see representatives passing meaningful tax relief."