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    Florida: Trump Raises Seminole Ante with GOP Contribution

    State Capital Strategies
    Friday, July 31, 1998

    Real estate magnate and casino tycoon Donald Trump has doubled down on his lobbying efforts for gaming expansion in Florida. Trump held a fund-raiser for GOP gubernatorial candidate Jeb Bush last year, and campaign disclosure reports show that Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts donated $50,000 to the state Republican Party in May.

    In the meantime, Trump has aligned himself with the Seminole tribe, which is pursuing a compact to operate casinos in Orlando, Jacksonville, Miami and near Ft. Lauderdale. Democratic lobbyist Mallory Horne, a former House speaker and Senate president with close ties to Gov. Lawton Chiles, represents both the tribe and Trump. Horne said Trump likely would manage the tribal casinos if the gaming compact is approved, though he noted that they currently have no contractual relationship.

    But the chips may be stacked against Trump. A Bush spokesman said the candidate remains opposed to gaming expansion despite Trump's donation and campaign support. And Chiles is expected to do his best to keep Class III casino gaming out of the state. In June, Chiles sent U.S. Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt a letter asking him not to follow through with a proposed law allowing the Department of Interior to approve tribal gaming if states fail to negotiate gaming compacts in good faith.

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    Alabama: Folmar Claims Arrington Endorsement was Key


    Political observers are waiting to see if incumbent Gov. Fob James (R) will suffer any fallout from recent comments by Montgomery Mayor Emory Folmar. Folmar said he set a trap for defeated GOP gubernatorial challenger Winton Blount by orchestrating a Blount endorsement by Birmingham Mayor Richard Arrington (D), who is black. James's campaign said Arrington would call the shots if Blount were elected. Many say a large turnout of rural white voters was key to James's run-off victory. Arrington has not commented on the controversy.

    Arkansas: Property Tax Repeal Effort Facing Challenges

    A fight is brewing over a proposed constitutional amendment to repeal property taxes. Opponents likely will challenge the 98,574 signatures submitted by repeal organizers. Only 71,955 are required for the measure to get on the ballot this fall. If the amendment does not get enough certified signatures, supporters have 30 days to collect more.

    Colorado: Trespassing Incident Draws Apology from Lamm


    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Dottie Lamm, wife of former Gov. Dick Lamm (D), apologized last week to state Sen. Gil Romero, her primary rival, for a campaign staffer who trespassed on Romero's property in Beulah. Lamm said she never authorized Omar Jabara, her campaign spokesman and assistant to campaign manager Ellen Moran, to send a volunteer to take photographs at Romero's mountain home west of Pueblo. The photographs reportedly were meant to show that the home is more than 20 miles from the legislative district Romero currently represents.

    The residency issue is well known in Romero's hometown of Pueblo, and it didn't keep voters from reelecting him. Lamm suspended Jabara without pay for a week. The Pueblo County sheriff is investigating the Lamm volunteer, Alex Lencicki of Denver, on possible third-degree trespassing charges. Lencicki was identified by the license plate number and vehicle description Romero's 10-year old daughter, Kayla, provided. The Romeros said they were most upset because the car sped away so quickly that a startled Kayla fell and skinned her hands. The Democratic primary is Aug. 11.

    Georgia: Runoff Elections Set for Aug. 11


    Voters will head back to the polls Aug. 11 to settle unfinished business in several statewide races. The runoff election will include races for lieutenant governor, labor commissioner and attorney general. State Sen. Roy Barnes narrowly won the Democratic gubernatorial primary, and businessman Guy Millner, who was the Republican nominee for Senate in 1996 and governor in 1994, won barely more than 50 percent. Attorney General Mike Bowers, who came in second place, called for a recount that confirmed Millner's victory.

    For lieutenant governor, Democrats must choose between state Sen. Mary Margaret Oliver of Decatur and state Sen. Mark Taylor of Albany. Republicans must choose between Fulton County Commission Chairman Mitch Skandalakis and conservative Clint Day. Current Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard (D) is retiring. John Frank Collins, who is seeking the office for the ninth time, is the Republican nominee for labor commissioner. Democrats must choose between former welfare reform chief Michael Thurmond, former state Sen. Steve Henson or former deputy labor commissioner Richard McGee to face him this fall. The race to replace Bowers as attorney general has also gone into overtime. State Sen. David Ralston of Blue Ridge and state Rep. Kip Klein of Marietta are facing off for the Republican nomination.

    Hawaii: Parties Make Election Predictions

    State Republican Party Chair Donna Alcantara says she feels confident that the GOP caucus in the state House will increase from its current 12 members to at least 18, giving the party more clout in the 51-member chamber. Republican leaders are also hoping Maui Mayor Linda Lingle (R) will take the governor's seat from Gov. Ben Cayetano (D), who is seeking reelection. State Democratic Party Chairman Walter Heen said Republicans' intense efforts to win the governorship and gain more state House seats has pumped new energy into the Democratic Party, which dominates state politics.

    Iowa: Democratic Chair Resigns; Successor Expected in August

    State Democratic Party chairman Michael Peterson has resigned. Sources report several major campaigns were concerned about his election strategy going into this cycle, which includes a U.S. Senate election and an open gubernatorial seat for the first time in 16 years. Iowa Democrats plan to choose Peterson's successor on Aug. 1. Potential replacements reportedly include attorney Jerry Crawford, former union leader Chuck Gifford, John Norris and attorney Charles Krogmeier. State Republicans say Peterson's departure is a symptom of the Democrats' disorganization and financial troubles.

    Kansas: Aug. 4 Gubernatorial Primary Draws Attention


    Anticipation is growing as the Aug. 4 primary nears – especially in the contentious battle for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. The race took an interesting turn when challenger David Miller, the former state GOP chairman, proposed a tax plan that would nearly eliminate state income taxes for those earning less than $30,000 per year. Miller proposes to accomplish this $400 million reduction by boosting the personal tax exemption from $2,250 to $4,000 and increasing the $2,000 exemption for dependents to $8,000. He estimates that a family of four earning $30,000 will have no taxable income. In addition, Miller proposes reducing the tax rate to a flat 3.5 percent. The current rates are 6.25 percent for incomes between $30,000 and $60,000, and 6.45 percent for adjusted gross incomes exceeding $60,000.

    Miller's proposal could equal about a 40 percent rate cut, and it means real tax relief for the affluent. Gov. Bill Graves (R) is soldiering along the campaign trail, touting his plan to eliminate car taxes in four years. Primary turnout will likely be key. Graves cannot count on Christian conservatives, who historically turn out strongly for primaries. Democrats predict House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer will defeat Rev. Fred Phelps, an anti-gay activist. Democratic officials hope Sawyer's Hispanic background will draw new voters to the polls, helping down-ballot statewide and state House candidates.

    Maine: King Leads Pack in Gubernatorial Campaign Funds


    Gov. Angus King (I) continues to hold a strong – and growing – lead in fund-raising. King collected $117,000 during the past six weeks, compared with $6,000 for Tom Connolly (D) and $1,470 for James Longley (R). Democratic Party leaders continue to say they will support Connolly, but sources predict the party's support may be minimal in hopes that Democratic legislative campaigns will ride King's coattails. GOP party leaders are privately revealing their astonishment that Longley's fund-raising efforts have been so dismal. One said that a kid selling lemonade on a street corner can make $1,470 in six weeks. Longley and Connolly continue to limp along in their campaigns, receiving little attention and making little news. Their limited budgets may eliminate potential television ads come fall.

    All told, King has raised $327,814 for his bid, including $109,000 he loaned himself and another $10,000 he contributed to the campaign. Connolly has raised about $24,000, including half in loans from himself. Longley has raised $11,000, with little personal money. By comparison, King spent more than $1 million to win election four years ago; the Democratic candidate, a former governor and congressman, spent nearly as much; and the GOP candidate, current Sen. Susan Collins, spent about $700,000. Particularly noteworthy for King: He really began fund-raising during this most recent reporting period (May 29-July 14), and 922 individuals donated between $10 to $250. Forty companies also gave to King's campaign during the past six weeks.

    King does not accept PAC money and has limited contributions from individuals, groups and businesses to $250. Maine law allows individuals to contribute $1,000 per campaign cycle and $5,000 for businesses and PACs.

    Maryland: Officials May Have to Stop Seeking Charity Donations

    Maryland soon may bar state legislators from soliciting lobbyists and companies for donations to their favorite charities. A blue-ribbon commission on ethics met recently and discussed such a ban. Panel members said powerful lawmakers sometimes ask corporations to donate as much as $25,000 to a charity, and the lawmakers get great publicity as a result. The panel, chaired by Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Cardin, will recommend legislative ethics revisions this fall.

    Nebraska: Johanns Steps Back from GOP Feud


    Republican gubernatorial nominee Mike Johanns, the mayor of Lincoln, is keeping a low profile in the crackling feud within the Nebraska Republican Party, hoping not to alienate the sparring factions. The split developed during the annual convention. U.S. Rep. Doug Bereuter made what he called a unity speech, but he created a furor by chastising conservative Christian delegates for making moderates feel unwelcome. U.S. Rep. Jon Christensen, a conservative, took offense and openly confronted Bereuter. A fight ensued, including a report that the Lancaster County Republican chairman told Bereuter to change parties if he didn't like the conservative approach. The party split is not likely to pull Johanns down, but it's bad news for a party that had been on the upswing since businessman Chuck Hagel (R) defeated Gov. Ben Nelson (D) for the U.S. Senate seat in 1996.

    North Dakota: Lawmaker Dies; Replacement Expected Soon

    State Rep. Bill Oban (D) of Bismark died of injuries suffered during a car accident in late June. Oban had served in the state House since 1983, and was minority leader in the 1993 and 1995 sessions. Rep. Merle Boucher (D) defeated him for the floor leadership in 1997. Oban represented District 32, one of the state's more Democratic-leaning districts, and District Democrats will meet soon to choose a new candidate for his seat. People from both parties said they remember Oban as a caring, principled individual.

    South Carolina: Eubanks Approves Write-in Campaign

    Bobby Eubanks, a Summerville minister active in Republican politics, will allow his name to be used as a write-in candidate for governor. Eubanks will likely draw support from pro-Confederate flag voters alienated by Republican Gov. David Beasley's 1996 proposal to take down the flag. Christian conservatives disgruntled with Beasley over Planned Parenthood funding in the budget for the department of Health and Environmental Control Department are also likely supporters.

    Washington: GOP State Senator Retires; Democrats Want Seat


    The retirement of Sen. Ann Anderson (R) has boosted Democratic chances to take control of the state Senate. Anderson said she's retiring because of a muscle disease that has left her fatigued and in pain. She was first elected from her northwest Washington district in 1986, and has run unsuccessful bids for state lands commissioner and lieutenant governor. Democratic Rep. Georgia Gardner, ending her first term in the House, had already announced a run for the seat.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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