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    State of Play

    Oregon: Record Spending by Lobbyists

    State Capital Strategies
    Friday, March 20, 1998

    Oregon lobbyists spent a record $15 million during the 1997 legislative session. The Oregon Restaurant Association spent $590,000, leading the charge on an unsuccessful effort to scale back the voter-approved minimum-wage increase. Government also played a big lobbying role. The state Consumer and Business Services Department was second in the standings. The agency has 12 major divisions that deal with a variety of issues including worker safety, insurance regulation and licensing of real estate appraisers.

    More State Political News From:
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    Massachusetts | Nevada | Oklahoma | South Dakota | Texas | Washington

    Alabama: Amari Hints at Lieutenant Governor's Race


    Republican state Sen. John Amari was spotted at the legislature wearing a "lieutenant governor" button, fueling rumors he will run. If Amari jumps into the race, his likely Republican opponent is state Sen. Steve Windom. Another possible GOP candidate is Stephanie Bell, a member of the state board of education. Business leaders seeking tort reform are not likely to support Amari, an attorney. A tort-reform package has been stalled in the Alabama Senate for several sessions.

    Colorado: Feely Gathers Endorsements

    Senate Minority Leader Mike Feely (D) is expected to count on traditional Democratic groups in his gubernatorial bid. The state education association and the state AFL-CIO both have endorsed Feely.

    Democratic Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler is the only other announced gubernatorial candidate, but others may also run. Considered the front-runner by many Democratic sources, Schoettler appeared to have the early support of Gov. Roy Romer (D). A competitive primary is expected to force Romer to back off any endorsement before the general election.

    Georgia: Milner Leads Democrats in State Poll


    Republican gubernatorial candidate Guy Milner would lead in general election matchups with Democratic candidates, a recent statewide poll shows. But first, Milner will face former state Attorney General Mike Bowers in the Republican primary.

    When compared to any of the four leading Democratic contenders – Secretary of State Lewis Massey, state Rep. Roy Barnes, former labor commissioner David Poythress and state Sen. Steve Langford – Milner shows a commanding lead. Bowers pulls a dead heat against the Democrats. The poll by Georgia State University sampled 359 registered voters.

    Idaho: Challenge Possible for Speaker's Slot


    Republican House Speaker Mike Simpson's congressional bid paves the way for selection of a new speaker in December. House Majority Leader Bruce Newcomb (R) has been considered the favorite, but observers now say to watch for a potential challenge from Assistant Majority Leader Tom Loertscher (R).

    House Republican Caucus Chairman John Tippets has announced his bid for the spot. State Reps. Frank Bruneel and Wayne Meyer are considering runs for assistant majority leader. Paul Kjellander is expected to seek chairmanship of the House GOP caucus.

    Iowa: Lightfoot Leads GOP Primary Field

    With the recent withdrawal of Lt. Gov. Joy Corning (R) from the governor's race, former U.S. Rep. Jim Lightfoot appears far ahead of other Republican candidates. Gov. Terry Branstad, also a Republican, is not seeking reelection. Secretary of State Paul Pate and businessman David Oman are also seeking the GOP nomination. Lightfoot is the perceived general-election favorite the against Democrats – former Supreme Court Justice Mark McCormick and state Sen. Tom Vilsack.

    Maine: Business Leaders Gather Coalition

    Business leaders in Maine may soon have a new ally. Business groups are creating a research organization to help identify which legislative candidates are likely to support business interests. The informal coalition of leaders represents the Chamber of Commerce, the paper industry, the General Contractors Association and others.

    Maine business leaders say the legislature has become more liberal, which despite the growing economy, does not bode well for business interests. Businesspeople also fear Democrats on the legislative ticket will gain by riding Independent Gov. Angus King's coattails.

    Maryland: Glendening Responds to Ethics Concerns


    Gov. Parris Glendening (D) hopes a new commission to review state health care contracts will eliminate future scandals. Health contracts were the center of both a recent Senate ethics scandal and of the governor's own fund-raising controversy two years ago. The panel will have authority to send questionable contracts to the Maryland attorney general for investigation.

    Glendening also ordered all state agencies that have contracts with elected officials to submit them for review and make them available for public inspection. This was the governor's first official response to ethics controversies that have dogged the General Assembly this year. Two Democratic legislators, Sen. Larry Young and Del. Gerald Curran, resigned this year amid ethics inquiries.

    Massachusetts: Malone Taps Jeghelian to Share Ticket

    Republican gubernatorial candidate and current State Treasurer Joseph Malone recently named Janet Jeghelian as his running mate. A former radio talk show host and U.S. Senate candidate, Jeghelian was chosen over former television personality Eileen Prose, former state Rep. Linda Teagan and Dr. Barbara Rockett, former head of the State Medical Society.

    Officially, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run separately in state primaries and are not paired until the general election. But former Gov. William Weld and Paul Cellucci broke with tradition eight years ago and formed a team prior to the Republican primary. They won individual primaries and together captured the offices of governor and lieutenant governor.

    Cellucci, who has been acting governor since Weld left office last summer, had earlier tapped former state Sen. Jane Swift of North Adams to run with him as he tries to keep his spot in the corner cffice.

    Nevada: Guinn Reaps Casino Contributions


    Reports of "lopsided" contributions from the casino industry in the gubernatorial race are raising red flags for Nevada Common Cause. Republican businessman Kenny Guinn has received the majority of the casinos' political contributions. Other GOP and Democratic contenders are getting little.

    Guinn's campaign cites the ability of his fund-raising team, lead by attorney Frank Schreck. Schreck, who has extensive connections with the casino industry, has worked with previous gubernatorial candidates, both Democratic and GOP.

    Oklahoma: Largent May Have Gubernatorial Plans

    With U.S. Rep. Steve Largent apparently not seeking a leadership position in the U.S. House, Republicans back home wonder if his next plan of attack involves the Oklahoma statehouse. Republican Gov. Frank Keating is running for a second term this year. If reelected, Keating would face a term limit in 2002. Largent has indicated he might give up his seat in Congress to run for governor.

    South Dakota: Janklow Recuperates from Surgery

    After the state legislature adjourned, Republican Gov. Bill Janklow quietly slipped away to have surgery in Minnesota. But removal of inflamed intestines didn't slow him down much – he issued several vetoes while still in the hospital.

    Janklow, 58, has yet to announce whether he will seek a fourth term this year. The filing deadline is April 7, and other potential GOP candidates are waiting for Janklow's decision. Republican Attorney General Mark Barnett remains ready for a gubernatorial campaign if Janklow doesn't make the race. Another one-time potential candidate, Republican state Rep. Dick Brown, has lately seemed interested in becoming Janklow's running mate – a choice that is not certain if Janklow does run.

    Barnett has twice as much cash in his campaign account as Senate Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff, an official Democratic candidate. Brown, on the other hand, reported raising very little money in 1997.

    Texas: Primaries Offer Glimpse of General Election


    The March 10 Texas primary offered a forecast for the general election on a number of fronts. As expected, the governor's race will pit Republican Gov. George Bush against Democratic Land Commissioner Garry Mauro.

    More of the spotlight may fall on the campaign for lieutenant governor, which many argue is the most powerful position in the state. Republican Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry faces Democratic Comptroller John Sharpe in that race. Although both ran unopposed in the primary, Sharpe garnered 50,000 more votes than Perry, whose performance lagged noticeably behind that of fellow Republican Bush. Perry did not perform as well as expected in several areas where conservative groups are most active – areas where Bush did very well.

    The lieutenant governor's spot is crucial for both parties this year. If Bush mounts a presidential bid, the state constitution dictates that a slot could open for the lieutenant governor to move up. Perry's lukewarm primary support and Sharpe's strong performance could combine to boost the state's struggling Democratic Party.

    The non-binding referenda on the primary ballot also may have boosted Democratic voter turnout. The Democratic Party had three non-binding referenda to gauge support from party members. The issues – requiring HMO's to allow patients to choose doctors, prohibiting sales taxes on food and medicine, and the recruitment and retention of teachers – all received more than 85 percent support from Democratic primary voters.

    The attorney general's race needs a run-off to determine a Republican candidate to face former Attorney General Jim Mattox, a Democrat. Railroad Commissioner Barry Williamson and former state Supreme Court Judge John Cornyn are set to compete in the April 14 GOP runoff.

    Washington: State Senator's Words Haunt Him


    State Sen. James West (R) is battling a war of words – his own. West, chairman of the powerful Senate Ways and Means Committee, suffered a political backlash after hastily leaving sharp words on the answering machine of a veteran lobbyist.

    Tom McCabe of the Building Industry Association of Washington received what was described as a profane and threatening message earlier this month. West apologized, but also countered that the call was a reaction to a recent prominent advertisement in the Seattle Times. The ad, sponsored by the Building Industry Association, attacked Sen. West for not supporting business-backed legislation.

    Fellow senators from both parties defended West. They said the comments were not intended to be threatening. Rather, they say out-of-character comments resulted from stress in the session's final days.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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