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    State of Play

    Illinois: Daley Faces Challenge in Chicago Primary

    Friday, Feb. 5, 1999

    Contenders for Chicago mayor and other city offices are sailing full steam ahead toward the Feb. 23 primaries. Not surprisingly, Democratic incumbent Mayor Richard M. Daley looks likely to defeat – by a large margin – U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D) and newcomer Joseph Bankes. Incumbent Treasurer Miriam Santos (D) is continuing her campaign though she was indicted last week. Santos, the 1998 Democratic nominee for attorney general, was indicted for a dozen fund-raising activities related to her statewide campaign. She faces a serious challenge from Dorothy Brown (D), the general auditor for the Chicago Transit Authority.

    More State Political News From:
    Arizona | Kansas | Minnesota
    Pennsylvania | Texas | Utah

    Arizona: Congressman Proposes "Reagan for Rushmore"


    During their Jan. 30 convention, Rep. Matt Salmon (R) told Arizona Republicans that he is preparing federal legislation to put a fifth face on the Mount Rushmore National Monument – former President Ronald Reagan (R). Rushmore currently bears the faces for four former presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. Some wondered if Salmon, who flirted with a primary challenge to Gov. Jane Hull (R) last year, was serious or simply rallying conservative troops. But his proposal is serious, and he's pitched it on several national television news shows. Geologists say an addition to Rushmore monument – regardless of who it may be – could damage the mountain and the current presidential images.

    Kansas: State GOP Moves to the Center


    As expected, the Kansas Republican Party elected Mark Parkinson as their chairman Jan. 30. Gov. Bill Graves (R) endorsed Parkinson over conservative candidate Richard Friedman, and Parkinson's election gives moderate Republicans solid control over conservatives in the party structure. As a result, some conservative activists have formed a new political group called the Kansas Republican Assembly. The move emulates a current structure in California where "traditional conservative Republicans" can focus on promoting conservative social views that separate them from moderates. Observers said the initial meeting for the Republican Assembly conflicted with a state GOP event, which Graves headlined. David Miller (R), a conservative former state chair and 1998 primary challenger to Graves, attended the Assembly meeting over the party event.

    Minnesota: Ventura Fills Out Cabinet – With Little Diversity


    Reform Gov. Jesse Ventura continues to impress observers with big name cabinet members including his latest addition, former state Sen. Ted Mondale (D). Mondale, who unsuccessful ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 1998, will head the Metropolitan Council, the Twin Cities' area regional governing board. Mondale, whom Ventura calls Mondale a "common sense visionary," will be responsible for regional planning and running the transit system and wastewater treatment plants. Ventura has named only one minority to his cabinet thus far – a Native American – and has been criticized for the lack of diversity of his appointees. He responded at a Jan. 26 news conference, noting that the state capitol press corps is overwhelmingly Caucasian. Ventura said he picks the best people for the job, regardless of race, gender and geographical considerations.

    Pennsylvania: Mayoral Primary Potentials Post Cash-On-Hand


    The May 18 primary race to replace retiring Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell (D) continues. Recent campaign expense reports show Mary Weinberg (D), a successful and well-connected attorney, leading the field with $2.6 million in the bank. Former city council president John Street has $1.7 in his coffers. Several other Democratic contenders have yet to collect $1 million, including state Rep. Dwight Evans, John White and former councilor Happy Fernandez. Republican businessman Sam Katz has raised $1.1 million.

    Texas: Committee Assignments Named in Lone Star State


    House Speaker Peter Laney announced committee assignments last week, leaving Republicans arguing about party ratios. The state GOP got into the fray, saying Democrats outnumber Republicans by only three in the chamber, but they "vastly outnumber" Republicans on the most important committees. Specifically, only eight of the 27 seats on the House Appropriations Committee went to Republicans.

    Senate committees have fewer overall members, in an attempt to reduce the workload for the 140-day session. Lt. Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced leadership posts that included nine Republicans and six Democrats, though Sen. Gonzalo Barrientos (D) was excluded from a chairmanship for the first time since 1991. Republicans increased their hold on a number of posts, reflecting that for the first time Republicans control all 27 statewide offices, the state judiciary and the Senate.

    Utah: Religious Issue Surfaces in Legislature


    Polygamy has become one of the hottest issues up for debate during the 1999 legislative session. While it is illegal in Utah, practicing polygamists do live in the state. Officials have largely left these groups alone, but recent concerns over child abuse in polygamist relationships have raised concerns. Gov. Mike Leavitt (R) said he supports a crackdown, but many see this as a religious choice issue and have vowed to fight. The emotionally charged debate is likely to consume considerable floor time.

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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