- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 7, 2008

DETROIT | Six-term Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick snatched a primary victory from near-defeat early Wednesday morning with a mere 1,750 vote margin.

“I will be your congresswoman … until I decide to retire,” Mrs. Kilpatrick told her cheering supporters following a grueling day and race that focused on the scandals swirling around her son, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Despite raising more than $700,000 for her race, and bringing in congressional big guns, such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to campaign in her 13th District, Mrs. Kilpatrick won 39 percent of the vote to 37 percent by Mary Waters, a former state representative who raised less than $15,000.

In another closely watched race, Kansas election officials said human error prevented complete tallies from 40 precincts that could alter the outcome of former Republican Rep. Jim Ryun´s apparent failure to recapture the seat he lost two years ago.

State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins appeared to win a narrow Republican primary victory over Mr. Ryun, who election officials don’t think can make up the 1,800 votes he was behind. They predict the undercount is in the hundreds.

In suburban Kansas City, anti-abortion prosecutor Phill Kline lost a primary challenge in his bid for a full, four-year term as district attorney of the state’s most populous county.

Mr. Kline drew national attention with his investigations of abortion clinics when he was Kansas attorney general. He lost his 2006 re-election bid to an abortion rights supporter, but Republicans picked him to fill a vacancy in the Johnson County prosecutor’s job.

Challenger Steve Howe, a former assistant district attorney, received 60 percent of the vote in his race against Mr. Kline. He will face Democrat Rick Guinn, another former assistant district attorney who now works in the attorney general’s office, in the fall.

The Kilpatrick race drew national attention when it appeared to become more about voters’ anger over her son than her political accomplishments. She is chairwoman of the influential Congressional Black Caucus and a member of the House Appropriations Committee.

The two-term Detroit mayor faces eight criminal counts, including perjury and misconduct in a police whistleblower lawsuit that includes allegations he was involved sexually with his former aide. Mr. Kilpatrick, a married father of three, denied the charges, but text messages sent to his aide on city-issued pagers contradicted his claims.

The 38-year-old mayor mainly stayed on the sidelines during the race, despite some aggressive advertising by his mother´s opponents. He was not at Wednesday morning’s victory party.

“She dodged the bullet. It really looked like she was a goner early in the night,” said Bill Ballenger, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics. “You would think it´s gotta be a sobering message to not only her, but also to the mayor.

“Whether she´s viewing it that way or not, remains to be seen,” he added. “She sounded pretty arrogant last night. She doesn´t know what is going to happen in the next two years. She could easily get a challenge again, so the idea that she´s invulnerable is pretty crazy. For her to sound defiant and kind of angry and bitter about attempts to get rid of her, I don´t think it bodes well for her or the mayor.”

Mrs. Kilpatrick is heavily favored in the November general election against Republican Edward Gubics because the district is heavily Democratic.

In Georgia, former state lawmaker Jim Martin defeated Vernon Jones, chief executive of DeKalb County, to claim the Democratic nomination for the Senate.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Martin led Mr. Jones by 60 percent to 40 percent.

The runoff win means Mr. Martin will face Republican incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss in November.

*This article is based in part on wire service dispatches.

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