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    State of Play

    Minn.: Humphrey-Freeman Race Tightens

    State Capital Strategies
    Friday, Sept. 11, 1998

    In the waning days of the Democratic gubernatorial primary campaign, aides to Mike Freeman – who won the party's endorsement – say their campaign's get-out-the-vote effort and a similar push from the Minnesota AFL-CIO will help increase participation by party loyalists. Strategists for competitor Hubert H. "Skip" Humphrey III, who leads in the polls, believe that effort to reach out to voters has energized nearly as many Humphrey supporters as Freeman supporters. Party sources say they believe the last-minute effort will benefit Freeman, who is trailing badly in every major public opinion poll.

    The famously cautious Humphrey has employed a "tobacco" strategy by refusing to respond to attacks and refusing to take negative positions in advertising. Humphrey has touted his landmark $6 billion out-of-court tobacco settlement and displayed an oversized check on the state capitol mall to symbolize the first payment from tobacco to the state.
    Elections Guide: Minnesota races (washingtonpost.com)


    More State Political News From:
    Alabama | Arizona | Delaware | Florida
    New Hampshire | Oregon | Tennessee


    Alabama: Former Candidate Wounded in Syrupy Dispute

    AL

    Harry Lyon, a former Republican candidate for state auditor, is in serious condition after he was shot Sept. 6 and found lying face down in a pool of chocolate syrup. Robert Lee Black, Lyon's neighbor, was charged with attempted murder; Black said he shot Lyon in the neck after finding him pouring Hershey's Chocolate Syrup on Black's car. The two neighbors have apparently had previous disputes. Lyon, a Pelham attorney, unsuccessfully has sought a number of state offices since 1980 as both a Democrat and Republican. His most recent campaign was the June primary, in which he sought to unseat incumbent State Auditor Pat Duncan (R).


    Arizona: Kaites Upset in Mud-Slinging Race

    AZ

    Assistant Attorney General Tom McGovern trounced Republican state Sen. John Kaites by a margin of more than 2 to 1 Sept. 8 for the GOP attorney general nomination. McGovern, Attorney General Grant Woods's hand-picked successor, faces former U.S. Attorney Janet Napolitano Nov. 3. Kaites conceded that a last-minute television ad backfired. The spot portrayed McGovern, who was arrested but not convicted in 1983, as a criminal and showed an obviously doctored photograph of a bearded McGovern behind bars. Kaites, responding to an outcry from fellow Republicans, pulled the ad after three days.

    The race was one of the dirtiest statewide campaigns in recent memory. McGovern's campaign literature alleged that Kaites didn't support automatically trying juveniles accused of violent crimes in adult court, though he later clarified that Kaies opposed a previous version of legislation several years ago enabling such a transfer. He also signed a statement saying he never smoked marijuana. Kaites refused to sign a similar pledge and admitted through an aide that he had tried it in high school but didn't like it.

    Kaites has thrown his support behind McGovern, but the bitterly divided party must be reunited before the general election.


    Delaware: More Choices at the Polls – Finally

    Delaware voters will have more choices at the polls this fall, as Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Natural Law Party candidates filled ballot vacancies by the Sept. 1 deadline. In August, nearly 70 percent of all legislative races were unopposed. Only one additional statewide candidate joined the race by the deadline: Democrat Diane Kempski filed to challenge Auditor Thomas Wagner (R). Kempski is the Registrar in Chancery in New Castle County.

    Voters will go to the polls Sept. 12 for the nation's only Saturday primary. Democrats will choose between Wilmington attorneys David Finger and John Dorsey to face popular Attorney General Jane Brady (R). All statewide GOP incumbents are running unopposed.

    Florida: MacKay Struggles; Democrat Endorses Bush

    FL

    Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay (D) continues to struggle in his bid against Republican Jeb Bush, son of former president George Bush. He lags behind both in the polls and in fund-raising, and Agriculture Commissioner Bob Crawford, one of three Democrats in the state Cabinet, endorsed Bush. Crawford is the highest-ranking Democrat in state history to endorse a Republican gubernatorial candidate. Crawford denies speculation that he cut a deal with Republicans earlier this year to endorse Bush in exchange for running unopposed election. Crawford barely survived a 1994 reelection bid, winning just 51 percent of the vote. Sources said they were surprised that no major Republican filed to run against Crawford in July. Some activist Democrats suggest that Crawford should quit the ticket and the party, but he denied plans to do so.

    Despite the continued setbacks, MacKay and his running mate, state Sen. Rick Dantzler (D), found some success at South Florida events last weekend. Polls show that although MacKay follows Bush in the polls, voters think the issues MacKay promotes are important. However, without the needed cash, MacKay supporters worry the campaign can't communicate that to likely voters. Bush has twice as much money as MacKay, and the Florida GOP has taken in three times as much as the embattled Democratic Party. But in the meantime, MacKay and Dantzler have told supporters their decades of experience in state government could allow voters to trust that they can run the state.
    Key Race:
    Florida Governor (washingtonpost.com)



    New Hampshire: Voters Choose Nominees for Governor

    Voters selected party nominees for the gubernatorial race Sept. 8 – the only elected statewide post in New Hampshire. Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D), who was unopposed in the primary, will face Republican nominee Jay Lucas in the general election. Lucas, a New London businessman and conservative activist, defeated state Sen. Jim Rubens, his chief rival, and three additional opponents. Lucas won without newspaper endorsements, but he spent more than three times as much as any of his rivals. Sources say Rubens plans to continue serving his state Senate term – and to continue pushing for a constitutional amendment on education financing.
    Elections Guide:
    New Hampshire races (washingtonpost.com)



    Oregon: Unions, Sizemore Still Battling

    OR

    A coalition of unions has asked a judge to throw out a November ballot issue supported by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Sizemore – the latest salvo in an ongoing battle. The group said the state should have detected several initiative abnormalities in the petition, including the fact that several people signed it more than 10 times. The initiative, Measure 59, would prohibit public employees from allowing payroll deductions to be used for union political purposes. No date has been set to hear the case.

    Incumbent Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), Sizemore's opponent, opposes Measure 59. Kitzhaber is also against eliminating clear-cutting and a budgetary provision to give 15 percent of all lottery revenues for parks and wildlife. In addition, he supports a requirement to allow all statewide elections to be conducted through the mail.
    Elections Guide:
    Oregon races (washingtonpost.com)



    Tennessee: Sundquist Targets Legislative Opponents

    TN

    With few worries about his own immediate political future, Gov. Don Sundquist (R) is devoting his spare time this campaign season to defeating political opponents in the state legislature. Specifically, Sundquist has focused on two Democratic senators, both of whom have been key in blocking prison privatization, Sundquist's plan to abolish the department of mental health and his charter schools proposals. Sens. Bob Rochelle of Lebanon and Pete Springer of Centerville face Republican newcomers who are both sons-in-law of wealthy Sundquist supporters. Democrats control both chambers of the state legislature, but Republicans see taking control of the Senate as possible in a year where their popular governor has no credible Democratic opposition.

    Sundquist has officially refused to debate Democratic nominee John Jay Hooker, a political gadfly. State Democratic leaders seem about as willing to embrace their nominee – the party has put off its Jackson Day fund-raising event until after the November election.
    Elections Guide:
    Tennessee races (washingtonpost.com)


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