- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Daley to run again

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley announced yesterday he will run for a sixth term, a move that could put him in office longer than his legendary father.

“I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together to improve the lives of the people of Chicago,” Mr. Daley, 64, said in announcing his re-election bid.

The mayor will be facing some tough questions this time around, including dealing with the fallout from federal investigations into illegal political patronage and payoffs at City Hall.

Mr. Daley has not been accused of any wrongdoing. His former patronage chief, however, faces almost four years in prison for engineering a scheme to hide politics-based hiring by city offices. Other city workers have been caught up in bid-rigging and bribery scandals.

Mr. Daley had been looking at two formidable opponents — Democratic U.S. Reps. Luis V. Gutierrez and Jesse L. Jackson Jr. But after Democrats won control of Congress last month, the two congressmen chose to keep the higher-profile positions awaiting them in Washington.

Other candidates who have said they intend to run for mayor areCook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown and William “Dock” Walls, a former aide to the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington.

Mr. Daley was first elected mayor in 1989. If he wins re-election on Feb. 27 and serves the full term, he will become Chicago’s longest-serving mayor. His father served for 21 years before dying while in office.

Kucinich again

Democratic Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2004, said yesterday he is planning another bid because his party isn’t pushing hard enough to end the Iraq war.

Mr. Kucinich said he plans to formally announce his candidacy today at Cleveland’s City Hall, where he served as mayor of his hometown in the 1970s.

The liberal, antiwar Ohio congressman said he was inspired to run because he disagrees with the way some of his fellow Democrats are handling the war, including approval of a proposal to spend $160 billion more on the conflict, the Associated Press reports.

“Democrats were swept into power on November 7 because of widespread voter discontent with the war in Iraq,” said Mr. Kucinich, 60. “Instead of heeding those concerns and responding with a strong and immediate change in policies and direction, the Democratic congressional leadership seems inclined to continue funding the perpetuation of the war.”

Final numbers

A congressional race in Ohio that was so close it triggered an automatic recount finally wrapped up yesterday with officials confirming Republican Rep. Deborah Pryce had won.

Miss Pryce ended Election Day 1,055 votes ahead of Democrat MaryJo Kilroy, but the difference was within a half-percentage point, which requires an automatic recount under Ohio law.

The recount numbers, released yesterday, showed Miss Pryce had gained seven more votes, to win with 110,739 votes to 109,677 for Miss Kilroy, the Associated Press reports.

Nationally, one House race has yet to be decided: In Texas, Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla faces Democratic former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in a runoff today.

Tough decisions

“In the run-up to the Democratic takeover of Congress, Rep. Nancy Pelosi crisscrossed the country promising to make passing ethics reform her first order of business as speaker. But now, even before she takes the reins in January, she is being confronted with a series of tough ethics decisions that will determine whether her party will succeed at changing the culture of Capitol Hill,” John Fund writes at www.OpinionJournal.com.

“That culture — an ethos of rewarding power, electoral success and years of seniority — won a not-so-surprising endorsement in Louisiana on Saturday. It was there that Democrat Rep. William Jefferson — the congressman found by the FBI to have $90,000 in marked bills in his freezer — was handily re-elected in a runoff race against a challenger from within his own party. Even as he may be indicted on bribery charges in the coming months, he is now pushing to be given back the prized seat on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee he was forced to surrender earlier this year. And he can count on support of the Congressional Black Caucus in putting the squeeze on Ms. Pelosi,” Mr. Fund said.

“There’s also yet to be resolved the issue of West Virginia Democrat Rep. Alan Mollohan. He was forced to step down this year as ranking Democrat on the House ethics committee and is under active FBI investigation over allegations he may have illegally enhanced his income by steering $250 million in federal earmarks to five nonprofit organizations staffed by his former aides and business partner. With the elections safely over, Mr. Mollohan is now in line to become chairman of the powerful Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the FBI’s budget.”

Goodbye, bums

“It has now been more than a month since the November election that threw a lot of bums out of office,” talk-radio host Tammy Bruce writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We have yet to learn whether politicians understand that the election was a statement that Americans want an ethical, efficient, and small, pro-America government. …

“The election was a rejection of a Republican Party elite that mocked our concern about border security. It was disgust at Congress and the president spending like drunken sailors (at least sailors spend their own money). We just said no to a party that claimed to represent the Reagan Revolution, but trashed it with earmarks, pork, e-mails to interns and dinners with Jack Abramoff. …

“Politicians who understand the message of Nov. 7 will survive. Those too disconnected to comprehend will continue to underestimate us, and we will fire them, too.”

Webb’s fifth

The Webb family has a lot to celebrate this Christmas season.

Virginians elected Democrat James H. Webb Jr. to be their next senator, and yesterday he became a father for the fifth time.

Mr. Webb and wife Hong Le Webb welcomed their daughter, Georgia LeAnh, to the world shortly before 1 a.m. yesterday. Georgia, born at Inova Fairfax Hospital, weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 21.5 inches long. Both mother and daughter are doing well.

The newborn gets her name from Mr. Webb’s maternal grandmother, Georgia Doyle Hodges. Her middle name combines Mrs. Webb’s Vietnamese family name and a common Vietnamese middle name.

Mr. Webb, 60, has three grown daughters, a son and several grandchildren.

Mrs. Webb, 38, has a 9-year-old daughter, Emily.

Mr. Webb, who unseated Republican Sen. George Allen, will be one of the few senators with young children.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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