- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 2, 2006

McKinney’s debate

During a televised debate Monday, Rep. Cynthia A. McKinney of Georgia went on the attack against Democratic primary challenger Hank Johnson, whom she will face in a runoff election Tuesday.

“Was it sound judgment when you took money from landfill developers at a time when landfill issues were before your commission?” Mrs. McKinney asked Mr. Johnson, a former DeKalb County commissioner. “Was it sound judgment when you didn’t pay federal taxes over several years, resulting in federal tax liens? Was it sound judgment when you refused to pay multiple debts, resulting in lawsuits and garnishments against you?”

Mr. Johnson responded by questioning Mrs. McKinney’s record in Congress, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports, asking why she had missed key votes, including a vote on raising the minimum wage and a vote stopping an amendment that he said would have gutted the Voting Rights Act.

“If the Voting Rights Act is not important enough for you to show up, then what is important enough for you to show up?” Mr. Johnson asked.

Mr. Johnson also said Mrs. McKinney has “absolutely failed to deliver any meaningful legislation,” pointing out she had introduced only 64 pieces of legislation over 12 years and that only one passed — a measure to rename a post office.

“That’s a pitiful record for a congresswoman,” Mr. Johnson said.

War and politics

Anti-war sentiment has been a major motivator for liberal activists in this year’s congressional election campaign, and Republicans are trying to use it as an issue against Democratic candidates.

In response to a report in the Hill newspaper that Rep. John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania will campaign for Democrats in 41 House districts, the Republican National Committee issued a press release about Mr. Murtha’s “Cut-and-Run Tour of America” and highlighted the congressman’s record.

The press release quoted Mr. Murtha as saying in June that U.S. troops “can’t win” in Iraq and calling for the United States to withdraw its forces “immediately” from that country. The RNC also noted that Mr. Murtha voted in October 2002 to authorize military force against Iraq, and called attention to his record of voting for higher taxes, as well as his involvement in the House banking scandal and his role as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the 1981 Abscam investigation.

Meanwhile, the RNC issued another press release criticizing Democrat Jon Tester — who is challenging Sen. Conrad Burns, Montana Republican — for his “ongoing friendship with extreme, ultra-liberal blog” DailyKos.com.

RNC spokesman Brian Walton pointed out that founder Markos “Kos” Moulitsas Zuniga had promoted and personally contributed to Mr. Tester’s campaign and cited anti-Israel comments posted at DailyKos.

“By continuing to accept Kos’ support, using his blog to raise money, and even linking it from his own site, John Tester has assumed responsibility for comments like this,” Mr. Walton said. “Jon Tester should remove the link to DailyKos from his site and repudiate Kos’ hate-filled politics.”

Fear factor

Democratic insiders shudder at the possibility of Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman running as an independent in the fall against Ned Lamont, because it could hurt their chances in three congressional races involving Republican incumbents, Kevin Rennie writes at www.realclearpolitics.com.

“Money, energy, and attention that would go in varying degrees to the three Democratic challengers will be expended on the emotional and bitter Senate race. Democrats Joseph Courtney, Diane Farrell and Christopher Murphy will each need the full measure of Democrats in their districts and contributors around the state and the nation, said Mr. Rennie, a former Connecticut state senator and a columnist for the Hartford Courant.

“Farrell may be in the best position to snag a Republican seat. She’s challenging Republican Christopher Shays, after narrowly losing to him in 2004. Shays has endorsed Lieberman for re-election over the forgettable Republican nominee. Farrell enjoys the singular advantage of facing the Republican the national party would not mind seeing chew the canvas on election night.”

Mr. Courtney is taking on Rep. Rob Simmons, who defeated him in 2002. Mr. Murphy is challenging Rep.Nancy L. Johnson.

“A Lieberman victory in the Democratic primary will vanquish Republican dreams of angry Democrats concentrating their wrath on taking a final, fatal whack at the senator in November,” Mr. Rennie said. “For at least the next week, many active Democrats and most Republicans have the same favorite candidate: Ned Lamont.”

Green entry

Thanks to the generosity of Republican donors, a Green Party candidate is expected to make it onto the ballot in the Senate race in Pennsylvania and siphon votes from Democratic front-runner Bob Casey in his bid to unseat Republican Sen. Rick Santorum.

While Mr. Santorum said Monday that he would welcome another candidate on the ballot, Mr. Casey’s campaign accused Republicans of “trying to steal the election.”

Green Party candidate Carl Romanelli, making his first bid for statewide elective office, acknowledged Monday that Republican contributors probably supplied most of the $100,000 that he said he spent gathering signatures to qualify for the Nov. 7 ballot.

Mr. Romanelli said he expects to turn in far more than the required 67,070 signatures.

“I have friends in all political parties. It’s just that my Republican friends are more confident about standing with me than my Democratic friends. And as a group, my Republican friends are a little better off,” he said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press.

Republican rocker

Hard-rock guitarist Ted Nugent is campaigning for a Republican Senate candidate in Michigan, the Associated Press reports.

The rocker famous for such 1970s classics as “Cat Scratch Fever” appeared Sunday with Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard at a casino in Sault Ste. Marie, where Mr. Nugent was performing.

Sheriff Bouchard faces Troy minister Keith Butler in next week’s Republican primary, with the winner facing Sen. DebbieStabenow, a Democrat, in November.

A Detroit native known as the “Motor City Madman,” Mr. Nugent said of Sheriff Bouchard, “If you stop and think of how your conscience dictates how you conduct yourself in going to work and raising your children and being productive, then I think Mike’s the guy that needs to make sure that that becomes policy, not just in our homes and neighborhoods but for the state of Michigan and the United States of America.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes.com.

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