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    State of Play

    Ariz.: Hull Likely to Win Primary Amid Low Turnout

    State Capital Strategies
    Friday, Aug. 14, 1998

    Pollsters say voters are showing little interest in the Sept. 8 primary, but they expect enthusiasm to pick up once incumbent Gov. Jane Dee Hull (R) can focus on Democratic challenger Paul Johnson – and hold off Libertarian Tom Rawles. Hull must first beat two primary challengers: former TV weatherman Jim Howl and Mesa businessman Charlie Brown. Insiders say Hull, who succeeded convicted former Gov. Fife Symington from the secretary of state's office, is sure to win the nomination for a full term.

    Johnson, a former Phoenix mayor, is unopposed in his primary, as is Reform Party candidate Scott Alan Malcomson of Tuscon. Rawles faces Mesa activist Katherine Gallant in the Libertarian primary. Rawles could end up playing a spoiler role in the general election if he draws conservative voters away from Hull, whom he says has supported "socialist" medical reforms and supported tax increases.

    More State Political News From:
    Arkansas | California | Delaware | Georgia
    Iowa | Mississippi | New York | Tennessee

    Arkansas: Bristow Campaign Discloses Huckabee Snafus


    Democrat Bill Bristow scored twice last week in his bid to defeat incumbent Gov. Mike Huckabee (R). At a teachers' convention, Bristow played a videotape in which Huckabee said he advocates a "public Christian school'' concept that a group of parents is pushing. During a debate a week earlier, Huckabee had said he never used the phrase.

    Huckabee's office also admitted that a hotline established last fall to collect anonymous tips about public corruption was equipped with caller identification equipment. The administration said the phone didn't really have caller ID, because a piece of paper was taped over the readout. The governor had earlier denied using such equipment to identify allegedly anonymous tipsters.

    California: Lungren Aides Sweat Debate Preparation


    Strategists for Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Lungren say privately they will have to address Lungren's "Nixonian" problem in future debates. Lungren has a propensity for sweating under hot lights and heat, and his collar and forehead were soaked during the first gubernatorial debate June 30 in San Diego. There are four more debates planned.

    Lungren's troubles conjured images of the Kennedy/Nixon debate in 1960, when Nixon sweated while Kennedy looked cool. Political analysts commented that Lungren's perspiration could make people think he is nervous, dishonest or incapable of handling high-pressure situations. Lungren aides say their job is to make sure there is better air-conditioning at future debates.

    Delaware: Majority of General Assembly Members Unopposed

    The July 31deadline passed for candidates to file for the election, leaving 27 of the 41 state House seats uncontested. In addition, five of the state Senate seats on this year's ballot are uncontested for the general election. State party chairmen have until Sept. 1 to scare up some challengers. Political leaders say the dearth of political contests is the result of a strong economy and relative satisfaction with the General Assembly's performance, including major new infrastructure spending in many communities and in addition to a tax cut.

    Georgia: Runoff Elections Finalize General Election Ballot


    The Aug. 11 runoff elections put the finishing touches on what is expected to be a competitive general election ballot for both parties. State Sen. Roy Barnes (D) officially won the Democratic gubernatorial nomination even though his opponent, Secretary of State Lewis Massey, withdrew from the runoff and endorsed him. The follow-up election was only a technicality, as Massey could not pull his name of the ballot. Barnes faces businessman Guy Millner (R) in November.

    Both parties also fielded strong candidates for lieutenant governor. State Sen. Mark Taylor outpaced state Sen. Mary Margaret Oliver, winning the Democratic nomination with 58 percent to her 42 percent. Oliver had led the July 21 balloting in large field of candidates. Taylor will face Fulton County Commission Chairman Mitch Skandalakis (R) in the general election. Skandalakis defeated former state Sen. Clint Day (R), a conservative, in an extremely close race: 51 percent to 48 percent.

    Iowa: Democrats Choose New State Party Leader

    John Norris, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Leonard Boswell (D), is Iowa's new Democratic Party chairman. Norris, 38, has managed campaigns for Boswell, Rev. Jesse Jackson and Tom Harkin, and has raised money for Democratic causes. The previous chair, Mike Peterson, recently resigned amidst growing party financial woes. On July 31, Vice President Al Gore, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) each gave Norris a $5,000 check to help pay down the party's $250,000 debt. Iowa Democrats have fewer registered voters than Republicans and Independents.

    Mississippi: Term Limits and Statewide Race Speculation Are Hot


    Term-limits supporters have filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, hoping to block a proposed constitutional amendment that would scuttle their year-long petition drive to limit state legislators to two terms. The lawsuit challenges an amendment introduced in the legislature that states only Mississippi residents may circulate initiative and referendum petitions. The measure, which awaits voters' approval this fall, nullifies the efforts of activists who had already submitted petitions for the 1999 ballot with more than 150,000 signatures gathered by professional signature collectors. The group contends that the measure violates the First Amendment.

    Meanwhile, gambling remains a contentious issue statewide. Politicians steered clear of the subject at the Neshoba County Fair, an annual political gab fest that hosts elected officials and potential candidates for two days every August. Instead, Gov. Kirk Fordice (R) alluded to a tax cut proposal in 1999 and called for term limits. He also criticized House Speaker Tim Ford (D), saying that Ford and his colleagues took perks and money from out-of-state lobbyists, but they want to ban out-of-state signature collectors for petitions.

    Several other lawmakers throughout the state showed up at the fair. Looking toward the 1999 statewide elections, Attorney General Mike Moore (D) and Lt. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D) emphasized crime as an issue in their likely gubernatorial bids. Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Parker, a possible gubernatorial contender who is retiring from the House this year, stopped by to shake hands. Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Williams called for elimination of the state income tax.

    New York: Ballot Position Assigning System Ruled "Fair"

    According to a U.S. District Court judge, New York's system of assigning candidate positions on primary ballots by random drawing does not violate either voters' or candidates' rights. The judge denied a request from former interim state Attorney General Oliver Koppell for candidates' names to appear first on the ballot in roughly the same number of election districts. Koppell is one of four Democrats seeking the party nomination for attorney general in the Sept. 15 primary. He argued that his fourth-place slot on a 1994 ballot for attorney general narrowly cost him that election; he drew fourth place on this year's ballot as well.

    Tennessee: Fall Gubernatorial Race Set


    Incumbent Gov. Don Sundquist (R) will face John Jay Hooker (D) in his bid for reelection this fall. Sundquist defeated Shirley Beck-Vosse in the Aug. 9 GOP primary. Hooker, who has run two unsuccessful gubernatorial bids and three losing U.S. Senate campaigns in the past, handily defeated Michael Whitaker for the Democratic nod.

    Whitaker, head of the State Racing Commission, was unable to raise funds or build up substantial name identification with voters. Hooker, who ran on the single issue of campaign finance reform, has no staff, campaign organization or support from party leaders. Sundquist, however, has $5 million in his campaign coffers and an administration bolstered by an improving economy.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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