- - Sunday, August 12, 2012

HONOLULU — Rep. Mazie K. Hirono won the Democratic primary in Hawaii for an open U.S. Senate seat, setting up a race in November against former Hawaiian Gov. Linda Lingle.

Ms. Hirono bested former U.S. Rep. Ed Case on Saturday night to set up a rematch of sorts against Ms. Lingle.

Ms. Lingle beat Ms. Hirono 10 years ago to become Hawaii’s chief executive, then went on to serve eight years.

Ms. Lingle won her primary easily. Republicans hope she can swing the solidly blue state their way in the party’s quest to pick up four seats and majority power in the Senate.

Ms. Lingle enters the general election as the underdog but has raised more funds than Ms. Hirono.


Biden calls to congratulate Ryan as his rival

Vice President Joseph R. Biden called Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin to congratulate him for being Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney’s running mate.

The Obama campaign said Mr. Biden encouraged Mr. Ryan to enjoy the day with his family. Mr. Biden also said he is looking forward to engaging Mr. Ryan in what he is calling a “clear choice voters face this November.”

Mr. Biden and Mr. Ryan are scheduled to meet in one debate before Election Day.

Mr. Romney announced Mr. Ryan’s selection Saturday morning. Mr. Ryan, 42, is the architect of a long-term budget plan to remake Medicare and cut trillions of dollars in federal spending.

He has served seven terms in Congress.


Democratic platform panel endorses same-sex marriage

DETROIT — The national Democratic Party’s platform committee endorsed gay marriage Saturday for the first time and called for the repeal of a federal law that recognizes marriage as between a man and a woman.

The committee, meeting in downtown Detroit, let stand the work of a separate group that drafted the platform two weeks ago in Minneapolis. The platform is a broad statement of the party’s priorities on the economy, social issues and national defense and goes to the national convention in North Carolina in September.

Scott Dibble, a committee member and a state senator from Minnesota, said support for gay marriage can attract new voters.

“Young people are looking for a political home right now. This has become a defining moral question of our time,” said Mr. Dibble, who is gay.

The platform says Democrats support “marriage equality” and the “movement to secure equal treatment under law for same-sex couples.”

“We also support the freedom of churches and religious entities to decide how to administer marriage as a religious sacrament without government interference,” the platform says.

In May, President Obama said he personally supported gay marriage.

“This certainly has been a journey for many people in this country, a journey for our president,” Mr. Dibble told fellow committee members from across the country.

The platform also calls for repeal of 1996 legislation, signed by President Clinton, that recognizes marriage as between a man and woman. Some federal courts have struck down the law as unconstitutional.

Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, co-chairman of the platform committee, said “profound indignities” are heaped on people who can’t marry someone of the same sex.


Schools offered a chance at million-dollar grants

Hoping to build on state-level reforms aimed at closing the education achievement gap, the Education Department opened its Race to the Top competition to school districts Sunday, inviting the most impoverished districts across the country to vie for almost $400 million in grants.

After four months of public comment on a draft proposal, the Education Department announced its final criteria for the district-level competition, which will award 15 to 25 grants to districts that have at least 2,000 students and 40 percent or more who qualify for free or reduced-cost lunches — a key poverty indicator.

Grants will range from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the size of the district.

“We want to help schools become engines of innovation through personalized learning so that every child in America can receive the world-class public education they deserve,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.

The original Race to the Top competition, announced in 2009, set out to provide more than $4 billion in grants to states that undertook ambitious education reforms. Dozens of states changed laws, introduced teacher evaluation programs and lifted caps on charter schools to qualify for a slice of the funds.

Congress approved about $550 billion for Race to the Top this year, and the Education Department expects to use about $383 million of it for grants to districts that propose ambitious reforms to personalize learning, narrow the achievement gap and prepare students for college. The rest will go toward the department’s early-learning competition.


Issa to file lawsuit over ‘Fast and Furious’

The Republican congressman who pushed to hold Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in contempt of Congress over the “Fast and Furious” gunrunning probe will file a lawsuit Monday against the the attorney general, Roll Call reported Sunday evening.

Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, will file the case in a federal district court in Washington, the Capitol Hill newspaper reported.

“The committee expects to file the civil contempt suit against the attorney general Monday,” a Republican source told Roll Call.

The lawsuit will further escalate the dispute over Mr. Holder’s refusal to provide investigators with subpoenaed documents on the operation, in which Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed illegally purchased weapons to get to Mexican drug cartels. One of the weapons was later used to kill Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.


Palin says she won’t speak at Republican gathering

Sarah Palin said in a statement Sunday that she will not speak at the Republican National Convention later this month in Tampa, Fla.

The 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee said she is excited to hear from this year’s candidates, Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan, and will focus on grass-roots efforts to help get the pair elected.

She said everything she said at the 2008 convention still holds true — including her prediction that President Obama would set out to fundamentally transform the country.

Mrs. Palin didn’t say whether she will attend the convention, where Mr. Romney will officially accept the Republican nomination for president.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports



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