- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 30, 2002

Waiting by the phone
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was scheduled to make a congratulatory phone call to Kentucky Senate candidate Lois Combs Weinberg on Tuesday night, but the heavily favored daughter of a former governor did not pull out a victory in the Democratic primary until the wee hours of Wednesday morning.
Mr. Daschle was forced to cancel his call, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
Mrs. Weinberg is the daughter of former Kentucky Gov. Bert Combs, and she had the support of just about everybody in the Democratic establishment in both Kentucky and the nation's capital. But something obviously went awry as former Rep. Tom Barlow came within 1,243 votes of pulling off an upset.
Mrs. Weinberg said the stunningly close race illustrates that her campaign has work to do to defeat Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Republican incumbent, the Herald-Leader reported.
"I think it energizes our campaign and identifies exactly where we need to work. We'll get at it first thing in the morning," Mrs. Weinberg said.
Only one of Kentucky's six House members 11-term Republican Rep. Harold Rogers had primary opposition. He easily defeated fellow Republican Billy Ray Wilson to gain renomination.

Idaho's choices
Idaho Democrats on Tuesday chose Alan Blinken, a Wall Street investment banker and former Clinton administration ambassador to Belgium, to face two-term incumbent Republican Sen. Larry Craig in November.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Dirk Kempthorne beat former state Rep. Milt Erhart for his party's nomination, while the Democrats opted for communications company executive Jerry Brady, Reuters reports.
One unexpected twist hit the governor's race: the Libertarian Party was forced to disavow its candidate after discovering he was wanted by the police.
State party Chairman Ryan Davidson said his party was urging Idaho's Libertarians to back write-in candidate Michael Gollaher of Boise over Daniel L.J. Adams, who appears on the official state ballot.
Mr. Adams, 31, had had several run-ins with the law and on Tuesday was unable to campaign because he was hiding out to avoid an arrest warrant for a probation violation, the Idaho Statesman reported.
"I'm not exactly a fugitive, but I know they're hunting for me, so I'm not going to show my face anywhere," Mr. Adams told the newspaper. "Obviously, that makes appearances at candidate forums a little more difficult."
Despite his lack of campaigning, Mr. Adams was still well ahead in the party primary, the wire service said. With some 60 percent of the precincts reporting, he had logged 495 votes. Mr. Gollaher had zero.

The feud continues
"More accusations are flying in the war of words between White House adviser Karl Rove and John Weaver, the renegade McCain adviser turned Democratic Party adviser," according to the Prowler column (www.americanprowler.org).
"Weaver, you'll recall, has just signed a fat contract with the [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] and is also helping Democratic leaders Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle in strategic planning for this fall's elections.
"Weaver was basically run out of Republican politics by Rove, after Weaver engineered John McCain's initial success in the 2000 Republican presidential primary. Once the White House was won, Rove went on the warpath, warning Republican incumbents and other candidates that Weaver was persona non grata," the column said.
"Rove has downplayed his role in Weaver's loss of GOP work. But Weaver is telling folks on Capitol Hill that Rove wasn't just chasing away political clients. There were other embarrassments, too.
"According to several Hill sources, Weaver has told his new Democratic colleagues that Rove contacted potential business clients Weaver was wooing for strategic planning and lobbying business. 'He says there were several clients, a big air carrier, some computer software and hardware clients,' says a House Democratic staffer. 'Rove scared them off, too.'
"But all of Weaver's badmouthing and carping seems to be having the opposite effect. 'The way he keeps talking about him, Rove sounds like the kind of guy I'd want running my campaign,' says a House Democrat. 'I look at Weaver and wonder, if he could get that outmaneuvered by Rove on every front, then why are we using him to outmaneuver Rove?'"

No-name candidates
"It speaks volumes about the dysfunctional nature of the New Jersey Republican Party that it couldn't convince a single candidate of any notable stature to challenge the state's vulnerable Democratic senator, the ethically challenged Robert Torricelli," Eric Fettmann writes in the New York Post.
"Less than a week before next Tuesday's primary, three Republicans are battling for their party's senatorial nod," the columnist noted.
"The campaigns' biggest problem: Most Garden State voters have no idea who the candidates are. In fact, most would be hard-pressed even to name all three.
"The most recent poll, done two weeks ago by Fairleigh Dickinson University, showed that none of the three has even 50 percent name recognition. From 55 to 62 percent of respondents said they 'never heard' of each.
"Yet even with those woeful recognition numbers, all three are within striking distance when matched head to head against the incumbent."
Nevertheless, Mr. Torricelli is likely to prevail against whichever Republican survives Tuesday's primary, the columnist said.
The Republican candidates are Douglas Forrester, a millionaire businessman and former state official; state Sen. Diane Allen, a one-time local TV news anchor; and state Sen. John Matheussen.

Torricelli's 'lapse'
Sen. Robert G. Torricelli, New Jersey Democrat, has acknowledged "a lapse in judgment" in associating with a businessman convicted of making illegal contributions to his 1996 campaign.
Mr. Torricelli on Tuesday "used a breakfast meeting with a friendly group of 30 African American ministers in Lawnside, Camden County, as the forum for making his first public admission of mistakes in an episode that placed him at the center of a lengthy criminal investigation that ended in the fall," Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Tom Turcol writes.
Mr Torricelli told the ministers, "There were no illegal acts by the campaign and I never accepted any improper gifts," but "the man that accused me of these things, I never should have known him. My instincts failed me, and I had a lapse of judgment. This is not someone who ever should have come into my life."

Klayman's crusade
"Judicial Watch, the gadfly watchdog group, is taking up the fight against legal corruption and lawsuit abuse," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"In its latest direct-mail solicitation, Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman claims 'The cost of litigation doubles the price of a football helmet, will add $500 to the sticker of your next new car, and pumps up the cost of a heart pacemaker by $3,000.'
"According to Klayman, the group will fight these abuses, not only by pursuing tort reform, but also by additional lawsuits. 'We have prepared a series of lawsuits aimed at recovering more than $10 billion in legal fees that have been paid to corrupt lawyers and law firms. We are also preparing a series of suits against state bar associations that have failed to police their own membership,' he says, adding that the group is in the process of recruiting hundreds of monitors 'to sit in courtrooms across America to spot and report corrupt attorneys and judges.'
"Klayman is asking the 'newly appointed' Judicial Watch Friends of the Court who receive the letter to contribute $50 to underwrite the project," the wire service said.

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