- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 23, 2006

She came a-ridin’ — and blowin’ her horn. Faith Dane — the bugle-blowing, horse-riding, seven-time D.C. mayoral candidate — made an appearance last week in the District’s Emancipation Day Parade, despite being asked by city officials to stay out of it.

“The mayor’s office left a message on the phone that I couldn’t be in the parade, that none of the candidates were in the parade because the Hatch Act, but I don’t know why that makes any difference,” said the 82-year-old Adams Morgan resident, who is known citywide by just her first name.

Faith showed up anyway, straddled her horse, and participated in the parade as planned.

“I just went. I said, ‘No one is going to keep me out of that parade,’” she said.

And no one tried to stop her.

Faith — a dancer and artist who sings her political platform and blasts her bugle at public events — bases her campaign on funding the arts and having the District secede from the United States.

If elected, she says she would have arts classes “around the clock.”

“I am a very extreme person about statehood, and I believe we should break away from the mainland,” she said.

She keeps up her good health and energy by “dancing everyday” and “singing a lot, even though I’m not very good.”.

Endorsed by default

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan last week received a big endorsement in his Democratic bid for governor, but he may have gotten it because his opponent wouldn’t fill out a questionnaire.

Progressive Maryland Inc., a nonprofit that lobbies for higher wages for working-class families, endorsed Mr. Duncan over Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley, a fellow Democrat.

“This endorsement … means a great deal to me,” said Mr. Duncan, who has trailed Mr. O’Malley in the polls and fundraising for months.

The nonprofit group bars its board of directors from endorsing a candidate unless the candidate completes a questionnaire on campaign finances and policy positions.

“We didn’t ultimately receive a completed questionnaire from the O’Malley campaign,” said Craig Simpson, Progressive Maryland’s political director. “It was required for consideration of an endorsement.”

Sources close to the O’Malley campaign said the mayor filled out the questionnaire where there was space to expand on yes or no answers, but did not give yes or no answers to all questions.

Progressive Maryland boasts 25,000 dues-paying members across the state and was key in lobbying lawmakers to override a veto of a bill that raised the state’s minimum wage.

“We were, quite honestly, disappointed and wished that things had worked out differently,” said Mark P. Federici of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 400 and a member of Progressive’s board of directors. “I don’t want to say why or why not Mayor O’Malley chose to take the stance they did. … We wish they had made a choice different than they had made.”

Rick Abbruzzese, Mr. O’Malley’s spokesman, said: “It was their process. They did it the way they wanted to do it, and we’ll continue to work with them in the future.”

Money matters

Virginia Sen. George Allen raised $1.7 million for his re-election campaign in the first three months of this year, more than double both of his Democratic adversaries combined, according to reports from the campaigns.

Mr. Allen, a Republican, is seeking a second six-year term even as he explores his prospects for a 2008 presidential race. He raised about $6.8 million last year, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Democrat Harris Miller, a wealthy businessman and former Capitol Hill lobbyist for the information technology industry, took in $536,893 for the first quarter of 2006, according to Mr. Miller’s campaign.

Republican-turned-Democrat James Webb, who was President Reagan’s Navy secretary in the 1980s and is a best-selling military suspense novelist, raised $252,905. Mr. Webb did not enter the race until mid-February.

Among U.S. House candidates, Republican Rep. Eric I. Cantor raised the most for the first three months of the year: $424,538.

According to FEC filings, that boosts Mr. Cantor’s total campaign receipts from January 2005 through the end of last month to slightly more than $1.9 million. The Henrico County Republican is seeking his fourth term with no primary challenger.

Brad Blanton, running as an “independent-Green Party” candidate, has raised slightly less than $33,000 to challenge Mr. Cantor.

Republican Rep. Thelma D. Drake raised $393,778 for the quarter, including a February fundraiser that featured Vice President Dick Cheney. That boosts her fundraising total for the campaign to slightly more than $870,000 and nearly $590,000 on hand to fend off a Democratic challenger this fall.

Philip J. Kellam has raised about $364,000, and David B. Ashe has gotten about $42,000 to date as they compete for the Democratic nomination to challenge Mrs. Drake.

Republican Rep. Thomas M. Davis III entered April with more cash on hand than any Virginia House candidate: nearly $1.8 million.

Mr. Davis’ tenure as chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee from 1998 to 2002 ranks him among the most powerful fundraisers in Congress. He is seeking his seventh term this year while assessing a U.S. Senate or gubernatorial race later.

Mr. Davis has no primary challenger, but faces a Democrat — either Kenneth Longmyer or Andrew L. Hurst — in November. Mr. Hurst has raised about $104,000 and Mr. Longmyer $52,000.

Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte had about $1.4 million on hand at the end of March with no one filed to oppose him for re-election to the 6th District seat.

A vote on voting

Maryland Republicans are trying to begin a petition drive to put the legalization of early voting on the November ballot as a referendum, and Democrats have seized on the effort as proof that the Republican Party is afraid of high turnout on Election Day.

Democratic Party operatives provided last week reporters with copies of an e-mail written by Dave Schwartz, a campaign staffer for Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican.

The e-mail urges Baltimore County Republican leaders to help with a petition drive meant to put two new early voting laws to a referendum.

Bo Harmon, Mr. Ehrlich’s political director, confirmed Tuesday that Mr. Schwartz sent the e-mail and said that efforts are under way across the state to start a petition drive.

“We’re trying to fight voter fraud, and these bills … legalize voter fraud,” Mr. Harmon said. “There are no provisions in place to monitor someone voting multiple times in any of these early voting locations, which happen to be in the most heavily partisan precincts in the state.”

A bill authorizing early voting was passed by the General Assembly in 2005 and became law this year when the Democrat-controlled legislature overrode the governor’s veto.

An emergency bill, which also became law this year thanks to a veto override, establishes 21 early polling places — three in each of the state’s seven most populous jurisdictions. Many of the precincts where early voting would take place are Democratic strongholds.

Democrats and state elections officials disputed Republicans’ assertions that early voting would open Maryland elections to widespread fraud.

Ross Goldstein, deputy administrator for the state Board of Elections, said it is possible that a person could get around electronic safeguards and vote more than once at early polling places. But he questioned whether anyone would try it.

During a press conference near Morgan State University, a historically black institution that’s one of Baltimore’s three early polling places, Democrats accused Republicans of fearmongering by raising the specter of fraud.

“Voter fraud is a red herring,” said Sen. Lisa A. Gladden, Baltimore Democrat. “It’s an issue that is often raised by those perhaps who want to chill the voting of the broadest populace we have in Maryland.”

Despite the concerns of Republicans, it appears doubtful that a referendum could halt early voting in the 2006 elections. The initial early voting bill was passed in 2005, meaning that opponents have missed the deadline for a petition drive, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

Saving the land

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine says he wants to more than double the amount of state land that is protected from development.

The governor last week told the state environmental symposium in Lexington that he wants to see 400,000 acres preserved by the end of his term. They would be added to the 330,000 acres already put off-limits to development since 1968.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, said his goal is necessary to fulfill Virginia’s obligation in a Chesapeake Bay agreement with other states.

Under that agreement, the state must protect an additional 358,000 acres in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 2010.

The Associated Press asked Mr. Kaine how the state can protect so much land in such a short amount of time.

The state offers preservation tax credits, and Mr. Kaine said, state officials won’t be able to wait for property owners to come to them.

“We’re going to have to go out and find land owners,” he said.

Cash concerns

Kweisi Mfume’s fundraising woes in his campaign to become Maryland’s next U.S. senator continued in the first quarter of this year.

Mr. Mfume, a former congressman and former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, raised $200,000 from January through March, compared with Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, who raised just under $1 million.

Mr. Cardin, who has led in most polls and has received the support of most of the Democratic Party’s leadership, now has $2.6 million in his war chest. Mr. Mfume has $185,366.

“Of course we want to try to raise more money,” Mfume spokesman Walter Ludwig said.

Mr. Ludwig noted that Mr. Mfume raised only $100,000 in the fourth quarter of last year.

“Obviously, $200,000 is an improvement over the previous quarter, and we’re going to continue to try to improve it,” he said.

Amy Doolittle and Jon Ward contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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