- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 9, 2005

More national Democrats are coming to Virginia to campaign for gubernatorial candidate Timothy M. Kaine.

Later this week, retired Gen. Wesley Clark will campaign with Mr. Kaine.

Gen. Clark, who failed to win the presidential nomination in 2004, will appear with Mr. Kaine tomorrow and Wednesday. He also will do a fundraiser for Mr. Kaine, the lieutenant governor.

Gen. Clark is also featured in Internet ads for Mr. Kaine, including one on the liberal Web log Daily Kos (www.dailykos.com).

So far, Mr. Kaine has received the help of former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. Mr. Edwards ran for president last year and was the running mate of Sen. John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.

Also helping Mr. Kaine was Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Democrat, and Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat.

Mr. Kaine’s main opponent, Republican Jerry W. Kilgore, has received help from the country’s top Republican, President Bush. This summer, Mr. Bush appeared at a private fundraising dinner for Mr. Kilgore that raised more than $2 million.

Tax problems

If Marion Barry’s tax problems lead to a criminal charges, he could continue serving as a D.C. Council member.

Mr. Barry, 69, reportedly is negotiating with federal prosecutors to resolve charges that he failed to file tax returns over the past seven years. Failure to file is a misdemeanor offense.

City officials said Thursday that unless the former four-term mayor draws felony prison time, he still would be eligible to keep the Ward 8 council seat he won in November.

“He would still be a qualified elector,” said Charlotte Brookins-Hudson, general counsel to the D.C. Council.

She cited provisions in the city charter requiring elected officials to be eligible voters. Provisions of the District’s election code allow convicted felons to renew their voter registrations upon their release from prison.

At City Hall Thursday, Mr. Barry wouldn’t comment on the tax charges as reporters followed him back to his office.

“I’m just working, man. I’m working my behind off,” Mr. Barry said when asked if he was worried about the investigation.

Mr. Barry served a six-month prison sentence in 1991, stemming from an FBI sting operation in which he was videotaped in a downtown hotel room smoking crack cocaine.

He was elected to the council in 1992, six months after his release. Voters returned him to the mayor’s office in 1994 for his fourth and final term.

After leaving office in 1999, Mr. Barry worked sporadically as a municipal bond consultant for a New York-based brokerage firm. He successfully ran for his old council seat last year.

More sign drama

The mayor of Gate City, Va., has restored a sign honoring Jerry W. Kilgore that he took down last month.

The small town’s welcome sign read: “Gate City Welcomes You. Home of the Attorney General of Virginia, Jerry W. Kilgore.”

Mr. Kilgore, a Republican who grew up there, is running for governor. Now a Henrico County resident, he stepped down from his post as attorney general in March to campaign full time.

Mayor Mark Jenkins removed the sign after getting complaints about its accuracy, according to the Kingsport Times-News. He said he received one complaint that the sign gave the impression that the town was endorsing Mr. Kilgore’s gubernatorial candidacy.

But six days later, Mr. Jenkins reattached the sign himself.

“I promised everyone that I would put the sign back if I had enough feedback from Town Council members. Well, I got that before Saturday morning,” Mr. Jenkins told the Times-News.

“I made a mistake by taking the situation into my own hands, and I admit that. I opened a can of worms that I shouldn’t have. I should have let the Town Council deal with this in the first place,” he told the newspaper.

The Town Council will vote on the matter tomorrow.

No more prayer

The Portsmouth, Va., School Board will not say prayers at its meetings this year.

The School Board voted Thursday to observe a moment of silence at the meeting instead of inviting local religious leaders to offer prayers.

Some School Board members were concerned by lawsuits filed in other states.

Board member Linda Ridenour said the moment of silence is more respectful to people of different beliefs.

Another board member, Sheri Bailey, said the board needs to send a clear message about the separation of religion and government.

The sheriff is in

Sheriff George Johnson of Anne Arundel County says he is running for county executive.

Sheriff Johnson is the first Democrat to announce his candidacy.

The incumbent — Janet S. Owens, a Democrat — is barred by law from seeking another term.

Four Republicans are already in the race to succeed her, and at least two other Democrats are expected to become candidates.

Sheriff Johnson is in his third term as sheriff and says he is running to reduce crowded schools, protect the county from overdevelopment and create affordable housing.

Summit time

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams is leaving office in 15 months, but he still wants to hear from constituents.

Mr. Williams will host his fourth public summit next month at the Washington Convention Center. He held the first one early in his first term.

Son of Sarbanes

Seeking to fill one of the vacancies created by candidates running for his father’s U.S. Senate seat, John Sarbanes plans to announce a bid for Congress later this month.

Mr. Sarbanes, son of Maryland Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, told supporters in a letter that he plans to join the crowded field running to replace Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District, the Baltimore Sun reported Tuesday.

Mr. Cardin is running for the seat held by Mr. Sarbanes the father, who plans to retire next year after five terms.

Despite never holding elected office, Mr. Sarbanes the son, a Democrat, said his professional and volunteer experience in health care, education and other fields have prepared him for Congress.

“My perspective is pretty diverse, in terms of the subject matter of things I’ve done,” he wrote in the letter.

Already running as Democrats are former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Peter Beilenson, Anne Arundel County Council member Bill Burlison, state Sen. Paula Colodny Hollinger and Delegate Neil Quinter.

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens and Mr. Cardin’s nephew, Delegate Jon S. Cardin are said to be weighing campaigns.

Another one

Describing himself as the antidote to the Republican agenda, Democrat Oz Bengur said Wednesday that he will run for Congress in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District.

“Voters feel our country is on the wrong track. They are fed up with politics as usual and want a change,” Mr. Bengur said. “I’m a Democrat running for Congress because it is time somebody stood up to fight the Republican agenda and get our country back on track.”

Mr. Bengur said that in a little over one month, he has raised more than $100,000.

Mr. Bengur, an investment banker, ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2002, garnering 36 percent of the vote against C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger in the 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary.

Registration now

There’s only one day to go before the deadline to register to vote in Virginia’s Nov. 8 election.

Voters will choose their next governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and members of the House of Delegates.

Prospective voters can register in person at their local registrar’s office by 5 p.m. tomorrow.

About 4.1 million Virginians are registered to vote. About 3.2 million cast their ballots in last year’s presidential election.

In the last election for governor, in 2001, 1.9 million people voted.

• Christina Bellantoni contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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