- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 7, 2003

Democrats vow to avenge Florida loss

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Rekindling bitter memories, Democratic leaders and presidential candidates accused President Bush of stealing the 2000 election in Florida and pledged yesterday to avenge that loss next year.

“Florida is the place where America’s democracy was wounded,” White House hopeful Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts told 5,000 delegates at the state party convention.

Former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek brought the activists to their feet with an angry reminder of the long-count election. “We should be ready for revenge,” she shouted as crowd members blew whistles and cheered.

The Supreme Court halted the 2000 recount of Florida ballots after five weeks, with Mr. Bush ahead of Al Gore by just 537 votes out of 6 million cast. The state’s 25 electoral votes put Mr. Bush in the White House.

Rep. Janklow says he remembers little

FLANDREAU, S.D. — U.S. Rep. Bill Janklow, South Dakota Republican, testified yesterday that he remembers almost nothing about an August accident in rural South Dakota in which his car collided with a motorcycle, killing the driver.

During the session yesterday on the sixth day of his manslaughter trial, Mr. Janklow, a diabetic, testified that he forgot to eat on the day of the accident that killed Randy Scott.

Lawyers for Mr. Janklow, 64, have argued that he was disoriented by low blood sugar levels caused by not eating that led him to speed through the stop sign Aug. 16.

Mr. Janklow has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree manslaughter, speeding, reckless driving and failure to stop.

He said yesterday that he remembered almost nothing about the accident but that he did not deliberately drive through the intersection.

A conviction on the manslaughter charge, which requires prosecutors to prove Mr. Janklow displayed “conscious disregard” when speeding through the stop sign, carries a possible 10-year prison term and could lead to the expulsion of the state’s lone representative from the House.

First-time candidate leads in mayoral race

HOUSTON — A businessman who used his own millions to help bankroll a first-time run for political office grabbed a big lead yesterday over a former city councilman in early results of Houston’s mayoral runoff.

With 13 percent of the precincts reporting, Bill White had 58,971 votes to 36,770 for Orlando Sanchez, or 62 percent-to-38 percent.

Mr. White, 49, a former chairman of the Texas Democratic Party, spent some $2.2 million of his own fortune as part of a record $8.6 million effort in the race against Cuban-born Mr. Sanchez, a Republican making a second bid to become Houston’s first Hispanic mayor.

Search for student put on indefinite hold

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Investigators put the search for a missing University of North Dakota student on indefinite hold yesterday after two weeks of scouring the fields and rural roads across two states turned up no sign of her.

Police Capt. Mike Kirby said authorities had no plans to resume the search for Dru Sjodin unless something new developed in the case. Instead, they were concentrating on the evidence collected so far in her apparent kidnapping and trying to piece together clues to her whereabouts.

A convicted rapist released from prison earlier this year is charged with kidnapping Miss Sjodin, 22, from the parking lot of the Grand Forks shopping mall where she was working on Nov. 22. Alfonso Rodriguez Jr., 50, remained in jail yesterday and is not talking with authorities, his lawyer said.

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