- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 10, 2000

Latest returns

Nebraska Attorney General Don Stenberg took the first step yesterday toward reclaiming Sen. Bob Kerrey's seat for the Republicans, easily defeating the secretary of state and two others in the Republican primary.

With 38 percent of precincts in, Mr. Stenberg, who last month defended the state ban on partial-birth abortion before the U.S. Supreme Court, had 50 percent of the votes, with Secretary of State Scott Moore getting 24 percent, the Associated Press reported.

Mr. Stenberg will take on popular former Gov. Ben Nelson, who left office in 1999 after two terms. Mr. Nelson easily beat a homeless man who was his only opponent in the Democratic primary.

In other elections yesterday, former University of Nebraska football coach Tom Osborne routed his two opponents in a Republican congressional primary.

Nebraska and West Virginia also had presidential primaries, but both mattered little since Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore have sealed their parties' nominations.

West Virginia Gov. Cecil Underwood, who was elected to his first term as governor in 1956 and to his second term in 1996, easily won the Republican nomination for his third term yesterday. At 77, Mr. Underwood is the nation's oldest governor and the only West Virginia Republican to hold statewide office.

The more dramatic West Virginia race was for the House seat being left by Rep. Bob Wise, who won the Democratic primary to challenge Mr. Underwood.

Four Democrats sought Mr. Wise's seat, including 85-year-old Secretary of State Ken Hechler, who has already spent 18 years in Congress, from 1959 through 1977. Mr. Hechler finished third, well behind lawyer Jim Humphreys, who won after spending $3 million of his own money.

With 43 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Humphreys had 41 percent, while state Sen. Martha Yeager Walker had 30 percent of the vote, with Mr. Hechler in third with 24 percent.

Mr. Humphreys will be highly favored in heavily Democratic West Virginia to beat Republican Shelley Moore Capito this fall.

Rudy's friend

"Rudy Giuliani has a 'very good friend' to whom he is not married. And nobody seems to care, except as a subject of prurient speculation," writes New York Post columnist John Podhoretz.
"The irony here is that the mayor is benefiting from the trail blazed by the husband of his Senate rival, who has so succeeded in defining political deviancy down these past eight years that the public no longer has the energy or the hunger to express moral disapproval when it comes to politicians and the way they live," Mr. Podhoretz said.
The columnist said Mr. Giuliani cannot be accused of hypocrisy, because the mayor opposed removal of President Clinton from office in the wake of the sex-and-lies scandal.
And "the anti-Rudy attack machine," despite its best efforts, is unlikely to link Mr. Giuliani's private life to his public trust, unlike the various sexual scandals involving Mr. Clinton during his time as Arkansas governor and president of the United States, Mr. Podhoretz said.

Wifely prerogative

"It is no secret among Arizona Republicans that Gov. Jane Dee Hull's endorsement of her fellow governor, George W. Bush, over her fellow Arizonan, Sen. John McCain, left bad feelings on both sides," reporter Todd S. Purdum notes in the New York Times.
"It was bad enough that last month Ms. Hull agreed to give up the governor's prerogative of leading the state's delegation to the Republican convention after all, Mr. McCain easily won the primary, and thus the right to control the state's 30-member delegation. Now comes word that Mr. McCain wants his wife, Cindy, to lead the delegation instead. That has rankled Hull supporters. The issue is to be decided at the state party convention on Saturday."

Clinton praises Bayh

President Clinton says he hopes someday to cast a presidential vote for Sen. Evan Bayh, an Indiana Democrat seen as a possible running mate for Vice President Al Gore.
"I hope and expect that someday I'll vote for Evan Bayh for president of the United States," Mr. Clinton said Monday in Bethesda at a fund-raising event for Indiana Rep. Baron Hill.
Mr. Clinton heaped much praise on Mr. Bayh, who attended the fund-raiser, but opted to not stay for Mr. Clinton's speech so he could return home to tuck his children into bed, Reuters reports.
"He went home and he should have," Mr. Clinton said in remarks preceding a speech in which he pressed for congressional passage of a bill that would grant permanent normal trade relations to China.

Bush's allies

Another political ally of Texas Gov. George W. Bush has joined the Republican National Committee.
Ray Hunt of Dallas, chairman and chief executive officer of Hunt Oil Co., has been named finance chairman of the RNC's Victory 2000 Committee. Mr. Hunt is a longtime supporter and close friend of Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, the Associated Press reports.
The head of the committee is another Texas Republican, Fred Meyer, a former state party chairman.
Having sewn up the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. Bush has been shifting allies to the RNC. Other Bush backers now there include his campaign political director, Maria Cino, who is a deputy for political and congressional relations; and Jeanne Johnson Phillips, one of Mr. Bush's original Texas fund-raisers, now deputy chairman for operations.

Country tunes

Vice President Al Gore, speaking to a group of Jewish activists Tuesday, noted his presidential campaign is based in Nashville, Tenn., and dished up what he called the latest top "Jewish country-and-western" tunes to come out of Music City, the Associated Press reports.
No. 4: "I was one of the chosen people until she chose somebody else."
No. 3: "The second time she said 'shalom,' I knew she meant goodbye."
No. 2: "I've got my foot on the glass, now where are you?"
When it came to the No. 1 song title, Mr. Gore sang out: "Mommas, don't let your ungrateful sons grow up to be cowboys when they could very easily just have taken over the family business that my own grandfather broke his back to start … that doesn't mean anything now that you're turning your back on such a gift."

Kennedy by default?

For the first time in nearly four decades in offices, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy could find himself without a Republican opponent in November.
Republican hopeful Jack E. Robinson had until 5 p.m. yesterday to turn in 10,000 signatures needed to get his name on the ballot. As of mid-afternoon, he had submitted only about 4,300.
Mr. Robinson has kept a low profile for weeks and did not return calls from the Associated Press in recent days.
This could be the first time the Republican Party has failed to field a candidate in a Senate race in Massachusetts since senators were first elected by popular vote in 1916.
Mr. Robinson a former Eastern Airlines executive now running a cellular-phone business has struggled to win the backing of his party's leaders.
Gov. Paul Cellucci and other top state Republicans withdrew their endorsements in March after the 39-year-old political neophyte released a detailed, and damaging, 11-page personal history. In it, Mr. Robinson outlined a drunken-driving arrest he was eventually cleared and a relationship with a girlfriend who took out a restraining order against him.
Mr. Robinson has vowed to fight without the help of the state party.
"My own PR guy asked me, 'Are you still in the race?' " Mr. Robinson said last month. "I said, 'Yes, why wouldn't I be?' I don't believe it's an impossible task."

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