- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2002

LAFAYETTE, La. Vice President Richard B. Cheney urged Republicans last night to rally behind Senate candidate Suzanne Haik Terrell and give President Bush a senator who supports his agenda.
Addressing about 200 Terrell supporters at a $1,000-a-plate fund-raising dinner, Mr. Cheney never mentioned incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, whom Mrs. Terrell is facing in Louisiana's December 7 runoff.
"The people of Louisiana have not had a Republican senator for over a century," he said. "That's about to change. On December 7, the voters of Louisiana will make history."
If Mrs. Terrell were to win, it would also be the first time a Louisiana senator has been defeated for re-election since 1930, when Huey P. Long unseated an incumbent.
Mrs. Landrieu received 45 percent of the vote Nov. 5 and Mrs. Terrell 27 percent.
As significant for Louisiana Republicans as the vice president's appearance was that of Republican Gov. Mike Foster, who waited until Sunday to formally endorse Mrs. Terrell. He did not speak for her at the dinner, though.
Press accounts say Mr. Foster is miffed at the White House over possible federal overriding of the governor's school reforms by Mr. Bush's "No Child Left Behind" program.
On Sunday, however, Mr. Foster, a popular two-term governor, issued a statement endorsing Mrs. Terrell: "I had a very positive and productive meeting with Suzie this week and offered my full and enthusiastic support of her candidacy."
Appearing yesterday for Mrs. Terrell Monday was state Rep. Tony Perkins, a Republican who ran fourth in the Nov. 5 open primary with 10 percent of the vote. His endorsement was seen as crucial because Rep. John Cooksey, a Republican who ran third with 14 percent of the vote, announced Nov. 8 that he would not support Mrs. Terrell, accusing her of having run a "smear campaign" against him.
Mrs. Landrieu, meanwhile, has also been having her own difficulty: marshaling the traditionally Democratic black vote.
Three black Democratic state senators have declared that they would not support Mrs. Landrieu's re-election because of what they call Mrs. Landrieu's neglect of the black community during her six years in office. A little more than one-fourth of Louisiana voters are black.
Mrs. Landrieu is also vulnerable to charges that her voting record is too liberal for this conservative state.
One Terrell television ad before the Nov. 5 primary showed Mrs. Landrieu side-by-side with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, and said that Mrs. Landrieu "votes with Ted Kennedy 75 percent of the time."
Mrs. Landrieu has not invited national Democratic leaders like Senate Majority Tom Daschle to campaign for her.
The vice president devoted most of his 20-minute speech last night not to the Louisiana runoff but to reciting the White House goals of boosting the economy by making the tax cut permanent and of forcing Iraq to disarm.
But Mr. Cheney made clear that Mrs. Terrell is the administration's choice for senator.
"There is no doubt in my mind that the voters of Louisiana and America will be better off with a senator who knows how to lead, a senator who respects the president's ability to make decisions for the American people, a senator who can work with the president and new Republican majority on behalf of this state and the nation," Mr. Cheney said. "I am confident Louisiana will elect Suzie Terrell to the United States Senate."


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