- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 1, 2000

PHILADELPHIA The Republican Party opened its national convention here yesterday by showcasing top congressional hopefuls and two prominent at-risk incumbents.

Nearly two dozen Republican House challengers and five Senate candidates each made brief remarks, largely to introduced themselves on a national stage, during the convention's only daytime session.

"When George W. Bush is president of the United States and there is a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, Republican principles will work for every citizen," said Sen. Rod Grams of Minnesota. He and Sen. Spencer Abraham of Michigan were the only incumbents to speak.

Both men are locked in tight re-election campaigns and are viewed as the most endangered of Republican incumbents.

"The Republican Party is the party of freedom, not dependency, the party of opportunity, not oppression, the party of hope, not handouts," said Mr. Grams.

Typical of each speaker's introductory comments were those of Dylan Glenn, who is challenging Democrat Sanford D. Bishop Jr. for his Georgia House seat.

Mr. Glenn said he is running on a platform of economic freedom and lower taxes and would be the "first African-American elected from the Deep South since Reconstruction."

Rep. Bob Franks, who is running against Democrat Jon Corzine for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, said his opponent spent a record $35 million "to buy the Democrat nomination for the Senate seat from New Jersey.

"What is dangerous about Jon Corzine is not how he spends his own money," Mr. Franks said. "What's frightening is how he'll spend yours."

In New York, Felix Grucci is challenging Michael P. Forbes for his House seat. Mr. Forbes was elected as a Republican in 1994 on the "Contract With America" platform but switched to the Democratic Party last summer.

"Mike Forbes is the first Republican congressman to switch parties in 30 years. He turned his back on values and he turned his back on his Long Island constituency," Mr. Grucci said.

"Let's unseat Mike Forbes and show the Democrats how strong the Republican Party really is," he said.

"After eight years of scandal, tax increases, disappearing nuclear secrets, military decline, partial-birth abortions, and liberal federal judges, the American people want new leadership in Washington," said Don Stenberg, who is running for the open Nebraska seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Bob Kerrey.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, compared the November election to a horse race, saying it is important for Republicans to win the trifecta: the White House, and Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

"In this year's horse race, it is all on the line," the Kentucky Republican said. "The Democrats are betting every chip they have. Every chip they can beg, borrow, or, well, every chip.

"They are betting it all on winning the entire trifecta, and so should we," Mr. McConnell said.

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