AUSTIN, TX—In a landslide decision, the people of Texas elected a .44-caliber revolver to the U.S. Senate Tuesday.

The newly elected senator.

The victory marks the first ever for a handgun in a federal election.

"It gives me great pleasure to know that the people of the Republic of Texas will be represented in Washington by such a well-crafted firearm," Texas Gov. George W. Bush said at the gun's victory celebration. "I am confident that, with the tremendous stopping power of its .44 Magnum caliber, this handgun will strongly defend Texans' interests on Capitol Hill."

Taking 87 percent of the popular vote, the El Paso-based gun handily defeated Democratic opponent Karl Janssen, who ran on a platform of guaranteed child care, increased education spending, and tax incentives for small businesses. The gun's campaign focused on its deep nickel plating, the smooth action of its finely machined cylinder, and the crisp, positive pull of its trigger.

Showing remarkable political savvy for a first-time candidate, the gun took an impressive 71 percent of the women's vote by prominently displaying its elegant pearl grips and well-tooled leather holster throughout the campaign.

Though the gun was unavailable for comment on its decisive victory, Andrew Lawford, campaign director for Gun '97, issued a brief press release stating that the gun was "humbled by the honor of representing the people of Texas on Capitol Hill, and would do its best to maintain its policy of being a double-action centerfire pistol, the sort of good, honest firearm which has served Texans so proudly in the past."

Gun '97 supporters cheer their candidate at a post-election victory rally in Lubbock.

In his statement, Lawford also thanked the many groups that endorsed the gun, including the Sam Houston Society, Citizens For An Independent Texas and the National Rifle Association.

Supporters cited a variety of reasons for voting for the weapon.

"I have the deepest respect for Mr. Janssen," said George Remnick, a 47-year-old hardware-store owner from Corpus Christi. "He was well-informed on important Texas issues, had some good ideas concerning tax restructuring, and gave me the impression of being a tough but fair-minded person. But when I saw the gun's well-machined action and nickel-plated, six-inch barrel, I just thought to myself, 'Which one of these candidates do I want representing me on Capitol Hill?'"

"Honesty, integrity, independence: This gun stands for the same things that I and so many other Texans do," said Jack Tyler, a San Antonio marketing consultant. "And, to be honest, those are values I don't see a whole lot of politicians possessing nowadays. What it came down to for me was a sense that, unlike Mr. Janssen, this gun is a good, old-fashioned, God-fearing American, the kind I can identify with."

Tyler said the fact that the gun's ancestors fought at the Alamo and fired on Pancho Villa "certainly didn't hurt."

"It's about time we had some strong representation in Washington, the kind of tough legislator who's not afraid of a fight," said Edward Wilson, owner of Skyydancer's, a Dallas-area gentlemen's club. "This gun sends a strong message to the people of the U.S.: Don't Mess With Texas."