- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Right to choose

In case you missed it, Vice President Al Gore held a news conference Monday in which he clarified his position on whether the execution of a convicted pregnant woman should be delayed until after she has given birth.
Mr. Gore, in an appearance Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," had said he needed time to think about such a hypothetical. (Under a 1994 federal law, the woman would not be executed until after giving birth, although no such case has ever come up.) By the next day, he had reached a conclusion: It should be up to the woman to decide whether to put off her execution.
"The principle of a woman's right to choose governs in that case," he said.

Back on the ballot

Massachusetts' highest court ruled yesterday that Republican Jack E. Robinson gathered enough valid voter signatures and should be allowed to make his long-shot challenge of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.
"We won," said Mr. Robinson, who is not supported by his own party.
The State Ballot Law Commission ruled on June 30 in favor of challenges to 129 signatures by Secretary of State William F. Galvin's office and the state Democratic Party. That ruling found Mr. Robinson 14 signatures shy of the 10,000 needed.
Yesterday's decision by the state Supreme Judicial Court overturns that ruling.
The signatures were challenged because the backs of some signature sheets were printed upside down, an error that Mr. Galvin argued constituted a violation of state law requiring signature sheets be "exact copies."
The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, saying the sheets were exact copies.
Mr. Kennedy is expected to easily defeat the little-known Republican in November. A Kennedy spokesman didn't immediately return a message seeking comment yesterday. Neither did Mark White, executive director of the state's Democratic Party, the Associated Press reports.
The state's top Republicans withdrew their support from Mr. Robinson, a former Eastern Airlines executive now running a cellular-phone business, after embarrassing details about his past were revealed. They included an arrest on a charge of drunken driving on which he was eventually cleared and a restraining order taken out against him by a former girlfriend.
State Republican Chairman Brian Cresta said yesterday the court decision did not change the party's position.

Football gives way

ABC News announced Monday that the National Football League has agreed to push back the starting times of two "Monday Night Football" preseason games in order to allow greater coverage of the opening nights of the Democratic and Republican national conventions.
The network had planned on offering convention coverage only during halftime of the two games.
However, by starting the games at 7 p.m. EDT instead of 8 p.m.,the network hopes to begin convention coverage at about 10 p.m.
The Republicans convene July 31, while the Democrats open their convention Aug. 14. Gen. Colin Powell and Laura Bush, wife of presidential candidate George W. Bush, are scheduled to speak for the Republicans. President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, are scheduled for the Democrats.

Torricelli ready

Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, has all but decided to seek the governorship next year, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
"At this point in time, the senator would be inclined to run," Jamie Fox, the senator's closest political adviser, told reporter Tom Turcol. "He's still seeking advice… . The senator would like to see something approaching a consensus before he makes his final decision."
The newspaper said Mr. Torricelli had sent shock waves through the party "by moving aggressively over the weekend and [Monday] to secure commitments from top party officials in a bid to force the longtime front-runner, Woodbridge Mayor James E. McGreevey, out of the race."
However, Mr. McGreevey told the newspaper that he is "irrevocably committed" to running for governor and would oppose his "dear friend" Mr. Torricelli if necessary.

Blacks increase vote

Blacks were the only race or ethnic group to defy the trend of declining voter participation in congressional elections, increasing their turnout at the polls from 37 percent of potential black voters in 1994 to 40 percent in 1998, according to a report scheduled to be released today by the Commerce Department's Census Bureau.
Nationwide, overall turnout by the voting-age population was down from 45 percent in 1994 to 42 percent in 1998 about 3 million fewer voters in 1998 than in 1994, the report said.
"The increase in voter participation by African-Americans was most notable in the South, where the rate grew by 4 percentage points to 39 percent," said Avalaura Gaither, co-author of "Voting and Registration in the Election of November 1998."
"About 40 percent of the 9 million African-American voters lived in the South."
Turnout by whites declined from 50 percent to 47 percent from 1994 to 1998, while Asian and Pacific Islander turnout fell from 22 percent to 19 percent and Hispanic turnout remained at 20 percent.
Turnout also declined across all age groups and for men and women.

No Barr rival yet

A millionaire businessman led two Democratic rivals in yesterday's primary to determine who will face Rep. Bob Barr, Georgia Republican, in November.
With 192 of 221 precincts reporting, Roger Kahn led with 15,555 votes, or 48 percent. Rematch-seeker Jim Williams had 9,911 votes, or 31 percent, and ex-police officer Chip Warren had 6,992 votes, or 22 percent.
A candidate would need more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid an Aug. 8 runoff with the second-place finisher.
Democratic voters in Georgia's conservative 7th District had to decide which candidate is the best man to beat Mr. Barr, whose support for the Second Amendment and scorn for President Clinton have made him the congressman Democrats love to hate.
Two of Mr. Barr's fellow Georgia Republican lawmakers easily defeated primary opponents.
In the 11th District, Rep. John Linder defeated former Democrat Vince Littman, receiving 87 percent of the vote with 135 of 258 precincts reporting.
In the 3rd District, Rep. Mac Collins beat maintenance worker Herb Galloway. With 119 of 238 precincts counted, Mr. Collins had 90 percent of the vote.

No gays? No Scouts

Some Democratic lawmakers who support homosexual rights want Congress to repeal an 84-year-old honorary charter of the Boy Scouts.
"We're not saying they're bad," said Rep. Lynn Woolsey, California Democrat. "We're saying intolerance is bad, and I don't see any reason why the federal government should be supporting it."
Mrs. Woolsey plans to introduce legislation today to repeal the federal charter of the Boy Scouts, the Associated Press reports.
The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on June 28 that the Boy Scouts, with 6.2-million members, can bar homosexuals from serving as troop leaders.
A charter from Congress is an honorary recognition given to patriotic, charitable and education organizations. About 90 groups have them. The Boy Scouts got its charter in 1916, six years after it was founded.
Though the charter confers no tangible benefits, Mrs. Woolsey said it "gives the impression that an organization has a congressional seal of approval."
"We're honored to have such a charter," Boy Scouts spokesman Gregg Shields said, "but we also ask other Americans to recognize our rights to freedom of association as described by the Constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court."

Democrats in runoff

Millionaire Roger Kahn will face 1998 nominee Jim Williams in a runoff after they took the top two spots in a three-way Democratic primary yesterday for the right to take on Republican Rep. Bob Barr in November.

With 219 of 221 precincts reporting, Mr. Kahn had 48 percent of the vote to Mr. Williams' 30 percent, the Associated Press reported. Ex-policeman Chip Warren won 22 percent of the vote.

A candidate needs more than 50 percent to avoid a runoff.

Democrats must return to the polls Aug. 8 to decide which candidate should face Mr. Barr, whose support for the Second Amendment and scorn for President Clinton have made him the lawmaker Democrats love to hate.

Two of Mr. Barr's fellow Georgia Republican lawmakers easily defeated primary opponents.

In the 11th District, Rep. John Linder defeated ex-Democrat Vince Littman, receiving 87 percent of the vote.

In the 3rd District, Rep. Mac Collins beat maintenance worker Herb Galloway. Mr. Collins had 89 percent of the vote.

Democratic Party insiders favored Mr. Kahn the only challenger named as a threat in a Barr letter to party donors.

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