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    State of Play
    New York: Hynes Makes Gubernatorial Bid Official

    State Capital Strategies
    Friday, Feb. 27, 1998

    Charles Hynes (D), a Brooklyn district attorney, has formally entered the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Hynes, who gained notoriety during the racially charged Howard Beach murder case in 1987, will face Democrats Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey Ross, New York City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, James Larocca and Richard Kahan in the primary. Republican Gov. George Pataki is seeking a second term.

    Recent polls show Hynes running third against McCaughey Ross and Vallone. Hynes is expected to face criticism for his opposition to the death penalty. Since New York restored capital punishment in 1995, Hynes has sought the death penalty in just five of 21 first-degree murder cases.

    Financially, McCaughey Ross holds the fund-raising edge among Democrats, with $2 million in the bank. Vallone has raised $1.7 million, and Kahan reports $1 million. Among other candidates, Larocca reports $370,000 and Hynes reports $47,000. Pataki (R) has built a campaign war chest of more than $11 million.

    More State Political News From:
    Alabama | California | Connecticut | Florida | Georgia
    Illinois | Iowa | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Nevada | New Hampshire
    North Dakota | South Carolina | South Dakota | Washington | Wyoming

    Alabama: Folsom Considering Lt. Gov. Bid?

    AL Rumors persist that former Gov. Jim Folsom Jr. (D) may enter the race for lieutenant governor. To date, Dewayne Freeman, the state Senate President Pro Tem, remains the only announced Democrat in the race. Sources say Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Lt. Gov. Don Siegleman has met with Folsom, but sources say it is unclear whether Siegleman asked Folsom to run for lieutenant governor or for his help in trying to shut Birmingham attorney Lenora Pate (D) out of the gubernatorial race. Pate announced her bid recently.

    California: Lawmakers Line Up to Run for Higher Office

    Several major election announcements have touched off substantial legislative jockeying for higher office this year. No California lawmakers are running for governor, but three state legislators will seek the lieutenant governor's seat – Republican state Sens. Richard Mountjoy and Tim Leslie and Assembly Speaker Cruz Bustamante (D). Former California Senate President Bill Lockyer and Sen. Charles Calderon will face off in the Democratic primary for attorney general. Legislators also have their eyes on other statewide races. Assembly Republicans Curt Pringle, a former speaker, and Jan Goldsmith are running for treasurer, and Assemblywoman Diane Martinez (D) is running for insurance commissioner.

    Connecticut: Party Leaders Frown on Possible Ganim Bid

    Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim wants to seek the Democratic nomination for governor – setting up a possible primary battle against U.S. Rep. Barbara Kennelly (D). But many leading Democrats are not happy about Ganim's interest in the office. Several prominent party leaders, including U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D), say a difficult primary battle could weaken Democrats' chances in the general election, impeding the party's ability to focus fund-raising and electoral energy on the battle against Gov. John Rowland (R).

    Florida: Ousted Democrat Joins Republican for Fund-Raiser

    FL The long-running controversy surrounding Democrats' ouster of state Rep. Willie Logan (D), the first African-American speaker-designate, has taken another strange turn. In what may be a retaliatory strike, Logan joined GOP speaker-designate John Thrasher to co-host fundraisers for five black House Democrats. Some insiders say Logan's partnership with Republican leaders reflects his personal crusade against the Democratic leadership – triggering anger from House Democrats and alienating other black House members. As a result of Logan's partnership with Thrasher, five black Democratic senators broke away from the legislative black caucus last week to form a separate caucus.

    Georgia: Measure Would Make 45 Percent an Electoral Majority

    Candidates for six statewide offices could win without a majority of the vote under Democrat-sponsored legislation approved Feb. 17 by the House. But Republicans cried foul, saying the legislation would only serve Democrats. The bill allows candidates for attorney general, school superintendent, secretary of state and commissioners of insurance, labor and agriculture to be elected with 45 percent of the vote. The measure passed 100-75 and now goes to the state Senate.

    Republicans wanted an amendment that would apply the 45-percent rule to all elective offices, but Democrats defeated the effort. Georgia Democrats have been working to change election laws since the 1992 U.S. Senate race, in which Democrat Wyche Fowler out-polled Republican Paul Coverdell. But Fowler failed to win the required 51-percent majority, and he lost a subsequent runoff to Coverdell.

    Illinois: House Senate Legislative Fight

    An emerging state House-Senate tiff has grown more pronounced in recent weeks. House Speaker Mike Madigan (D) ordered Democrats to push one or two key bills and let the others languish. Madigan apparently issued the call as response to the slow, stubborn behavior of state Senate members. In the past, Madigan encouraged members to pass scores of lesser bills even though he knew the Senate would not even vote on them. Madigan, however, has said he is tired of approving major legislation only to have Senate President James "Pate" Philip (R) ignore the issues.

    Iowa: Corning Drops Gubernatorial Bid

    Lackluster support pushed Lt. Gov. Joy Corning out of the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination this week. Former U.S. Rep. Jim Lightfoot, Secretary of State Paul Pate and businessman David Oman remain locked in a lively battle for the GOP nomination. Corning's withdrawal could solidify Lightfoot's perceived front-runner status.

    Maine: Several Considering Challenge to Gov. King


    Several state leaders are considering challenging the reelection bid of Gov. Angus King (Ind.). Among Democrats, Portland trial attorney Thomas Connolly and Treasurer James Bowers, a former state lawmaker, are the front-runners. Sources report, however, that Bowers will bow out if Connolly runs.

    On the Republican side, state Rep. Henry Joy continues to express interest, although the party is not excited about his bid. Former Maine education commissioner Leo Martin could emerge as the GOP's standard bearer.

    Independent Patricia LaMarche also wants to challenge King. A former radio talk show host, the liberal LaMarche is a member of the environmentally oriented Green Party. Another independent hopeful is Bill Clarke, leader of the recently organized Maine Taxpayers Party, which not yet recognized.

    Maryland: Ethics Probe Extended

    The General Assembly's Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics has extended by two weeks its investigation of Del. Gerald Curran (D), who allegedly used his influence to benefit his insurance business. Curran stepped down temporarily as chairman of the Committee on Commerce and Government Matters while the review continues. House Speaker Cas Taylor and Senate President Mike Miller, both Democrats, agreed to give the ethics committee until March 16 to finish the investigation.

    Massachusetts: Republicans Choose State Convention Delegates


    Bay State Republicans are selecting foot soldiers for their most important state convention in eight years. Town and city ward committees in 14 locations will gather to choose delegates to attend the April 18 nominating convention in Worcester. Party members will choose 3,200 delegates at 300 similar meetings during the next three weeks.

    The delegate selection process gives Republican state Treasurer Joseph Malone his best chance to deny acting Gov. Paul Cellucci (R) a full gubernatorial term. Cellucci enjoys the visibility and check-writing abilities of incumbency, but Malone wants to convince the GOP's rank and file that Cellucci has abandoned core conservative principles. Delegate selection will test whether Malone's message, delivered in local meetings over the last year, has convinced voters. Voters have criticized Cellucci, saying he has not invested enough time in face-to-face meetings with party faithful. Republican voters will select their gubernatorial nominee in the Sept. 15 primary.

    Nevada: Record-Breaking Voter Registration

    New state voter registration figures show Republican voters slightly outnumber Democrats. A total of 352,816 voters have registered as Republicans, while 350,625 are registered Democrats. In addition, 116,240 voters registered as nonpartisans; 15,256 called themselves Independent Americans; 4,355 registered as Libertarians; 2,044 described themselves as "other"; 536 registered as Natural Law Party members; 272 registered as Reform Party members and 474 called themselves Green Party members. Overall, the total number of registered voters – 842,618 – establishes a state record.

    New Hampshire: Incumbents Enjoy Poll Advantage


    Statewide polls this week confirmed the obvious – Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen is riding high and easily tops GOP challengers in mock votes by more than a 3-to-1 margin; she also enjoys favorable ratings as high as 74 percent.

    U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg (R) also enjoys the incumbent advantage, leading any of the three likely Democratic candidates in polls by a 2-to-1 margin, although none have announced bids. Early surveys also indicate U.S. Reps. John Sununu and Charles Bass enjoy strong reelection positions. Though Bass' favorable rating remained in the low 30s, his numbers were far higher than those of his likely opponent, Democratic Party Vice Chairwoman Mary Rauh.

    North Dakota: Republicans Have Success Recruiting Candidates

    North Dakota Republicans report success in recruiting state legislative candidates. House Majority Leader John Dorso (R) has said he believes the new four-year House terms make it easier to attract candidates. Sources say Democrats have had a tougher time recruiting candidates in some districts; they used a newspaper advertisement to recruit candidates in the Williston district.

    South Carolina: Lawmaker's Letter Stirs Gaming Controversy


    House Minority leader Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D) has raised the ire of Republicans by sending fund-raising letter to more than 500 South Carolina video gaming operators. Written on state Democratic Caucus stationery, Cobb-Hunter asked for contributions of "at least $3,500" to fight GOP Gov. David Beasley's attempt to ban video poker. Though Attorney General Charlie Condon (R) says the letter is probably legal, Republicans have requested an investigation. The debate over video gaming has exploded into a controversial statewide issue and will be a factor in the gubernatorial race. Beasley wants to eliminate gaming, while Democratic challenger Jim Hodges is holding out staking a position on the issue.

    South Dakota: State Lawmakers Get Pay Raise

    The state Senate gave final approval to a legislative pay raise – the first in 10 years – with a 24-11 vote. The measure now goes to Gov. William Janklow (R) for his signature. The increase will boost lawmakers' pay from $8,000 for a two-year term to $12,000. Under current law, legislators' salaries are based on service in 40-day and 35-day sessions during each two-year legislative cycle.

    Washington: Democrats Frustrated by Governor, Legislative Role


    Tensions are building in Washington as the legislative session passes the halfway mark. Concerned that Gov. Gary Locke (D) has flip-flopped on key issues and built alliances with the GOP, Democrats feel they have been shut out of most significant negotiations. Democrats report particular frustration over their exclusion from the no-tax transportation plan debate. As a result, Democrats say, they may refuse to vote in 1999 to approve the needed construction bonds.

    Wyoming: State Supreme Court Expands Line-Item Veto

    The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled last week that the governor has authority to use his line-item veto for some parts of appropriations bills – even if the sections do not appropriate money. State legislators are rewriting certain bills to prevent Gov. Jim Geringer (R) from using the line-item veto to change the language of a bill, as he did during a review of the 1997 education reform bill. That action prompted the legislature to file an unprecedented lawsuit against the governor. House Speaker Bruce Hinchey (R) also has introduced a resolution seeking a state constitutional amendment to revoke Geringer's line-item veto authority.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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