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    State of Play
    Woman Seeks Top Job

    State Capital Strategies
    Friday, Feb. 13, 1998

    Birmingham attorney and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lenora Pate set herself apart from the field early on as the first woman to seek nomination since 1966. The late Gov. Lurleen Wallace (D), wife of former Gov. George Wallace, won election as a surrogate for her husband and served from 1967 to 1968. But Pate, the third candidate in the primary, insists her campaign won't be about gender. Pate faces attorney Harry Lyons and Lt. Gov. Don Siegelman in the primary. She served as director of the state's Industrial Relations Dept. under former Democratic Gov. Jim Folsom.

    More State Political News From:
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    Arizona: Hull Building Financial Fortress

    AZWith nearly a year to go before the general election, Gov. Jane Hull (R) has raised more than $500,000 for her campaign. Michael Hull, her son and campaign finance coordinator, said several major fund-raising events have boosted her financial standing. By comparison, Republican challenger Jim Howl, a former television weather broadcaster, has $70,000 in his war chest – mostly his own funds. Hull's other GOP rival, former Maricopa County Supervisor Tom Rawles, has not filed a financial report, though he has told sources he has raised $110,000. Paul Johnson, the only announced Democratic candidate, has not yet filed a campaign finance report either. His aides, however, say the campaign took in $200,000 from a Scottsdale fundraiser Feb. 1, a major addition to the year-end total of $170,000.

    Hull is temporarily out of the fund-raising business, as Arizona law prohibits legislators and the governor from accepting contributions from lobbyists and their clients while the legislature is in session. The three candidates who are not in public or elected positions are free to raise money.

    Florida: More Bad News for Democrats

    FLState Rep. Randy Mackey (D) and his estranged wife were indicted last week on charges of income tax evasion. The news is another blow to Florida Democrats already reeling from bad press and dissention related to the ousting of state Rep. Willy Logan, the first black speaker-designate. Mackey, a Democratic state House leader, served as vice chair of the House's general government appropriations panel and was a longtime member of the House Transportation Committee.

    Federal prosecutors allege Mackey reported personal income as business income from 1993 to 1995. Mackey denies the charges, and says he has no plans to resign his House seat or to suspend his reelection bid this fall. State Democrats regard his as critical to hanging onto the district.

    Hawaii: Senator Won't Apologize

    HIFacing possible legislative sanctions, state Sen. James Aki (D) explained the gambling charges against him in a Feb. 3 letter in the Senate Journal. But he stopped short of the apology requested by Senate Judiciary Co-chair Avery Chumbley (D). The dispute over the apology could further stall state Senate business.

    The Senate stripped Aki of his seats on the consumer protection and transportation committees shortly after the legislative session began, but he remained co-chairman of the education panel. Not only was Aki ordered to write the letter of explanation in the Senate Journal, but he also was barred from Senate-funded out-of-state travel. Aki was charged with promoting and unlawfully operating illegal gambling on property he owned, but he maintains he did not know that church-sponsored bingo games were illegal. A state judge has accepted Aki's deferred no-contest plea on the gambling charges. He paid a $1,000 fine and accepted terms similar to probation.

    Louisiana: Ex-Governor Divides Property

    LAFormer Democratic Gov. Edwin Edwards, whose every move still commands headlines, has divided property with his wife, Candy. Edwards, who estimated his net worth at $4.5 million as of 1997, received cash and stocks following the division. Candy Edwards received a house in the posh Country Club of Louisiana, a condominium in Orange Beach, Ala., a 1995 Mercedes, cash and mineral interests on 15,000 acres in St. Landry Parish.

    The property partition, as it is known in court, prompted immediate speculation that Edwards, who is under federal investigation, was sheltering assets. The flamboyant former governor denied the rumors last week, saying that he and his wife decided to undertake the partition because they plan to have a baby. Edwards said his wife is not yet pregnant, however. He is 70; she is 30.

    Massachusetts: Caucusing Toward November

    MAMassachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger headlined last weekend's Democratic party caucus, where he won the necessary 15 percent of delegates to secure a slot on the Sept. 15 primary ballot. The caucuses selected 3,500 delegates to attend the June nominating convention in Worcester. Insiders also noted the success of Patricia McGovern, former chair of the state Senate ways and means committee, who appears close to the 15 percent threshold. Former Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn and former U.S. Rep. Brian Donnelly, both newcomers to the race, said they were pleased with their showing during the weekend; neither has the necessary committed delegates as yet.

    Under Massachusetts Democratic Party rules, candidates must win 15 percent of the 3,500 delegates before they can run on the primary ballot. Independents make up the majority of registered Bay State voters. Republican town and city committees will choose GOP delegates in meetings between Feb. 21 and Mar. 14.

    Minnesota: Democrats Dig for Out-of-State Treasure

    MNDemocratic gubernatorial candidates have found out-of-state fundraising forays quite fruitful. Former state Sen. Ted Mondale and Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III took in a total of about $250,000 from sources outside Minnesota, recent finance reports show. On the Republican side, Lt. Gov. Joanne Beson reported that only $1,245 of her total $146,630 from out-of-state sources. The committee promoting the candidacy of Democratic St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman did not collect any of its current $113,000 war chest from out-of-state sources.

    Mississippi: Playing Political Football

    MSLt. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D) stumbled as he attempted to explain his travel in a state plane to the University of Mississippi's appearance in the Motor City Football Bowl in Pontiac. Musgrove told a Jackson Clarion-Ledger editorial board meeting that he was representing the state in the absence of GOP Gov. Kirk Fordice and implied that Fordice was on vacation. The Clarion-Ledger reported that Fordice was not on vacation until after the bowl game, however.

    Musgrove, a candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, got off to a strong start in 1997, raising more than $400,000. Evidently, he is the only candidate raising money. Attorney General Mike Moore (D), a possible gubernatorial contender, has been inactive on the fund-raising front.

    New York: No Candidate Consensus

    NYDemocratic leaders from New York's most populous counties met privately over the weekend to settle on a gubernatorial candidate. Meeting organizers had incorrectly anticipated support for New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, but the results brought no consensus. Democratic county chairs will try again March 6. The candidates: Vallone; James Larocca, former state transportation commissioner; Richard Kahan, former chief of the state Urban Development Corporation; Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey Ross; and Charles Hynes, Brooklyn district attorney.

    Tennessee: $5 Million Governor

    TNGov. Don Sundquist (R) has hit the fund-raising ground running, filing campaign finance reports showing $5.1 million. In the meantime, two potential Democratic challengers emerged. State Reps. John Mark Windle of Livingston and Mary Ann Eckles of Murfreesboro are both floating gubernatorial trial balloons. Windle, a four-term House member and self-described "blue-collar lawyer," is an outspoken advocate of the Tennessee State Employee's Association and a vigorous opponent of prison privatization. Eckles, now in her second term, has become a vocal mental health advocate and opponent of Sundquist's attempt to incorporate the state's mental health and mental retardation department into the Public Health Dept. Democratic developer Joe Hollingsworth is still considering a bid. Knoxville businessman Doug Horne has opted not to run, but he has formed a political action committee to raise funds for Democratic candidates.

    Texas: Outsider Now Insider

    TXRecent campaign finance reports show the ability of Gov. George W. Bush (R), who ran as a political outsider four years ago, to tap the resources of insiders. Austin-based lobbyists and political action committees have contributed nearly 16 percent of his campaign kitty – about $1.6 million. Bush, viewed by many as a possible Republican presidential contender in 2000, is expected to smash fund-raising records in Texas and to attract significant sums of out-of-state money.

    Virginia: Democratic Party Chair Steps Down

    VAThe chair of the state Democratic party resigned following the party's recent string of legislative losses. Sue Wrenn, who has served as chair for three years, will step down early next month. State Sens. Emily Couric and Jack Reasor are considered potential successors. Some Democrats have said they favor L.F. Payne, a 1997 candidate for lieutenant governor, but Payne reportedly has said he is not interested in the job.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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