Billings, Montana -- Montana is one of a minority of
states that have an open primary -- voters do not register by party
and they can select which primary nominating ballot to mark.
At the top of the ballot for Republicans and Democrats is the race
for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., whose
home is Billings.
The two major would-be opponents on the Democratic side are state
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Big Sandy, and State Auditor John Morrison.
In all, there are 10 candidates for the seat that Burns won in 1988.
Contesting Burns' nomination for the GOP are state Sen. Bob Keenan,
R-Bigfork, Butte attorney Bob Kelleher and Daniel Huffman, a car
salesman from Carter.
Democrats also have a choice of Paul Richards, of Boulder, Kenneth
Marcure, who lives in Japan, and Robert Candee, of Richey.
Libertarian Stan Jones, of Bozeman, will be on the Senate ballot in
Phoenix, Arizona -- In the course of Arizona Sen. John
McCain’s all-but-announced campaign for the presidency, the presumed
front-runner for the Republican nomination has been busily building
an organization and doling out favors, all in the hopes that they
will be returned when he launches his White House bid.
Mr. McCain’s leadership Political Action Committee, Straight Talk
America, has already spread more than $225,000 over 23 separate
state Republican parties. He’s given $5,000 to states from
Washington to Florida, Hawaii to Maine and seemingly everywhere
He’s targeted early primary states, giving $5,000 to the South
Carolina Republican Party and another $3,500 to a local chapter. Mr.
McCain gave $10,000 to New Hampshire, which hosts the nation’s first
primary and which gave him a huge boost with a surprise upset in his
2000 presidential bid. Iowa, which holds the first caucus of 2008,
also was a beneficiary of Mr. McCain’s largess.
Michigan, a state that provided Mr. McCain a huge boost in his 2000
campaign, received the largest boost from the Arizona senator. Mr.
McCain announced a donation of close to $120,000 to every level of
the state’s Republican Party through his PAC, mainly to legislative
district and county party committees.
Hoping to quickly secure some big-name endorsements sure to impress
the party faithful, Mr. McCain has also spent time campaigning for
Republican office-seekers from around the country. What makes his
strategy interesting, though, is that he has repeatedly chosen
contested primaries in which to make his endorsements.
Phoenix, Arizona -- A member of the House of
Representatives suffered a possible heart attack and collapsed
during a floor vote but was revived by colleagues using CPR and an
Rep. Ray Barnes, 69, was in stable condition after paramedics rushed
him to a Phoenix hospital. Doctors had not determined Wednesday
night whether Barnes had suffered a heart attack.
Witnesses said that Barnes, R-Phoenix, had no pulse and was not
breathing when fellow lawmakers, a teenage House page and a lobbyist
used the defibrillator to shock his heart.
"They absolutely saved his life," Rep. Doug Quelland, R-Phoenix,
said of the quick action of Barnes' colleagues, staff members and
Tucson, Arizona -- Some of the U.S. Border Patrol's most
specialized and experienced agents in Arizona are running into an
overtime cap that is limiting their ability to arrest undocumented
immigrants and interdict drugs.
A growing number of Border Patrol agents assigned to
search-and-rescue and canine-handling squads are spending less time
out in the field because they are restricted from earning more than
$35,000 in overtime during a single year.
The overtime-cap woes were growing even as the first batch of
National Guard troops arrived Saturday near Yuma as part of a $1.9
billion push by the Bush administration to gain control at the
The overtime situation has frustrated Border Patrol field agents and
union members, who say many seasoned patrolmen are forced to either
quietly work hours of overtime for free or to walk away in the
middle of tracking groups of undocumented immigrants or from using
dogs to check for contraband at checkpoints.
Juneau, Alaska -- With the special legislative session
ending Thursday, and a companion bill still going through the
committee process in the House, time may be too short for the
Legislature to pass that and other changes to the Alaska Stranded
Gas Development Act.
That appeared to be the consensus of House and Senate Republican
If the special session ends without the Stranded Gas Act amendments
passing the Legislature, Governor Frank Murkowski could call
lawmakers back for a second special session.
Murkowski hasn't said when he would call a new special session.
Austin, Texas -- House Speaker Tom Craddick and his wife,
Nadine, will soon start raising at least half a million dollars from
lobbyists, corporations and other sources for an extensive
renovation of their apartment inside the Capitol.
It's unclear precisely what the project will cost.
Documents recently released by the State Preservation Board and
the speaker's office include an estimate of $441,000 for
construction. And that doesn't include nearly $40,000 of
wall-to-wall carpeting – partially paid for by the state, with the
Craddicks planning to reimburse the cost with donations.
Pierre, South Dakota -- The two men seeking the Democratic
nomination to run for governor have spent much of the past three
months criticizing Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, but their first
challenge is to win the right to get into the fall campaign.
Although Jack Billion of Sioux Falls and Dennis Wiese of Flandreau
have agreed on many issues, they differ in many ways. And they
disagree on some key issues.
Both Democrats said they are getting support from a lot of
Republicans, a key to winning the fall campaign in a state where
registered Republicans far outnumber Democrats. Democratic voters
will decide in the June 6 primary which becomes the party’s
candidate and takes on Rounds.
Las Vegas, Nevada -- The head of the labor union that
represents U.S. Border Patrol agents says the sweeping immigration
reform bill passed by the Senate last week will do little to stop
the "revolving door" he sees daily along the nation's border.
In his first public speech since passage of the Senate's bill, T.J.
Bonner told a Las Vegas gathering of those opposed to illegal
immigration that lawmakers had created "amnesty on steroids."
After describing what he considers decades of failed policies,
Bonner said the solution isn't more Border Patrol agents, National
Guard troops, technology or walls on the U.S.-Mexico border.
The answer, he said, is to "turn off the employer magnet: (and)
focus on the reason people are crossing borders."
Santa Fe, New Mexico -- Gov. Bill Richardson Has suspended
the state prisons chief and ordered an investigation of his
relationship with a woman who registered as a lobbyist for two major
prison contractors, the Governor's Office said.
Richardson put Corrections Secretary Joe Williams on unpaid leave
while the secretary's recent actions are investigated.
Richardson said the review will focus on Williams' use of a
state-issued cell phone, a state-funded trip that included some
personal travel and his relationship with a lobbyist.
The Albuquerque Journal reported that Williams spent about 91
hours on his state-issued cell phone talking with Ann Casey, an
assistant warden at a state prison in Centralia, Ill. The calls
between the two phones were placed between Sept. 24, 2005, and Feb.
Casey registered as a lobbyist in 2005 for two companies that have
contracts with New Mexico to provide health care and meals to
Williams described his relationship with Casey as a friendship and
said he doesn't give preferential treatment to anybody.
Reno, Nevada -- Many Nevada taxpayers favor another rebate or
tax cuts if an expected $521 million state budget surplus
materializes next year.
Instead of having lawmakers invest the surplus in education or
transportation projects, 36 percent of 600 likely voters surveyed
for the Reno Gazette-Journal said they want any possible surplus
refunded next year, and 15 percent said they want lower taxes to
prevent future surpluses.
Twenty-one percent favored investing a surplus in education, and 14
percent said they would fund a backlog of transportation projects.
Reno, Nevada -- The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear
a Nevada case that has the potential to force new trials for
countless criminal cases -- from burglaries to murders -- in which
hearsay testimony was used.
The high court has agreed to hear the appeal of Marvin Bockting, a
Las Vegas man convicted of sexually assaulting a child in 1988. His
appeal relies on a 2004 high court decision that blocked the use of
taped testimony or other such statements in a Washington case.
At issue is whether that Washington case should apply retroactively.
In the Michael Crawford v. Washington case, the court said a person
has a constitutional right to question an accuser. If that's not
possible, the statements can't be used in court.
Juneau, Alaska -- Former two-term Democratic governor Tony
Knowles says that he will run for a third term.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Knowles invoked Alaska's
only three-term governor, Democrat Bill Egan, who returned to office
in 1970 for the final planning of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline.
"In that same spirit, I will make sure a natural gas pipeline is
constructed," Knowles said. "We will never again have to pray for
another boom if we have the will and the strength to do this one
Also Monday, House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz, D-Anchorage,
said he would abandon his own gubernatorial campaign to run for
lieutenant governor alongside Knowles.
Gillette, Wyoming -- Gov. Dave Freudenthal developed a
"lion and zebra" analogy as he urged lawmakers to revise the laws
governing registration of sex offenders and also to apply mandatory
penalties for those who target children.
"I have not found a sustainable argument that a pedophile is
treatable," Freudenthal said at a meeting of the Legislature's Joint
Judiciary Interim Committee here.
Freudenthal spoke during the second and final day of the committee's
meeting as the group considers moving forward with a host of bills
focused on sex offenders, some of which remained on the table at the
end of this year's budget session.
Freudenthal asked committee members to consider a "one strike" law
that would impose a mandatory life sentence on people convicted of
certain sex offenses against children.
Rapid City, South Dakota -- Sen. Tim Johnson is in a
three-way tie for first among U.S. senators in home-state
popularity, with 72 percent of South Dakotans surveyed earlier this
month saying they approve of the incumbent Democrat.
And Johnson stands alone with the lowest disapproval rating in the
Senate, at 22 percent.
Johnson is joined at the top of the SurveyUSA poll for May with
Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, who also
have 72 percent approval ratings. Snowe and Collins had disapproval
ratings of 24 percent and 25 percent.
Johnson’s net approval rating of 50 percent — 72 percent approval
minus 22 percent disapproval — was the highest in the Senate. The
survey was conducted by telephone with 600 registered South Dakota
voters ages 18 and older between May 12 and May 14.
Survey respondents were asked, “Do you approve of the job Tim
Johnson is doing as United States senator?”
Johnson spokeswoman Julianne Fisher said the senator’s high approval
rating shows that South Dakota citizens appreciate his work to
maintain connections in his home state and pay attention to
Helena, Montana -- Spokesmen for the Republican members of
Montana’s congressional delegation said that the state may have to
wait awhile for the $50 million designated for Glacier National
Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road, blaming Democratic Sen. Max Baucus for
Baucus added the money to last year’s transportation bill for
much-needed repair of the scenic road. But the Federal Highway
Administration has refused to distribute the money because of the
way the legislation was worded.
Spokesmen for Rep. Denny Rehberg and Sen. Conrad Burns — members of
the House and Senate appropriations committees — said that Baucus
made a mistake in drafting the legislation and it will be difficult
to fix in the current legislative environment.
‘‘Denny is going to do all he can to fix Sen. Baucus’ mistake, but
it’s not going to be easy,’’ said Rehberg spokesman Todd Shriber.
Denver, Colorado -- Pressure on gubernatorial candidate
Marc Holtzman intensified as 30 Republican state legislators and
nine GOP candidates joined the call for him to drop out of the race
for the good of the party - and themselves.
"The stakes are simply too high for anything else," the lawmakers
wrote in a letter to Holtzman. "Your decision whether to expend time
and money on what will, no doubt, be an expensive primary will have
a direct effect on each of our races and those who are running for
The request came as another top staffer left Holtzman's campaign,
citing her concern for party unity. Even so, Holtzman reiterated his
vow to stay in the race against Congressman Bob Beauprez.
"These people don't know me very well," he said. "I am not
Holtzman failed to win the 30 percent state-assembly delegate
support necessary to make the Aug. 8 primary ballot. But he said he
has gathered enough signatures to petition onto the ballot.
The secretary of state's office requires Holtzman to gather 10,500
signatures from registered Republicans - 1,500 from each of the
state's seven congressional districts - in order to make the ballot.
Phoenix, Arizona -- A campaign-finance regulator said
Tuesday that he will recommend that a state commission formally
investigate a Republican Party complaint accusing Democratic Gov.
Janet Napolitano's re-election campaign of jumping the gun on
Todd Lang, executive director of the Citizens Clean Elections
Commission, said he's recommending the commission investigate
whether Napolitano's campaign spent money without having the cash to
pay the bill.
At issue is Napolitano's launch of a campaign Web site and sending
of thousands of e-mails immediately after she filed to run for
re-election on March 1 but well before she received public
financing, Lang said.
Napolitano has said that the activity was done by a vendor under a
contract formalized later in March and that only subsequent monthly
payments to the vendor constituted spending by her campaign.
Lang said he disagreed and needs to know whether Napolitano's
campaign had cash when the initial work was done.
Waxahachie, Texas -- Republican Gov. Rick Perry signed the
second piece of a five-part tax package to restructure the state's
public school finance system.
Mr. Perry approved a House bill that routes revenue from areas such
as a reformed business tax and an increased cigarette tax to future
school property tax relief.
The bill is part of an extensive school finance reorganization
ordered by the Texas Supreme Court last fall after it ruled the
system unconstitutional. Mr. Perry, who is up for re-election, is
traveling out of Austin and around the state to ink each piece of
legislation. He is expected to sign the remaining three reform bills
passed during a special session.
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell said many of the bills
are merely "window dressings" that won't amount to real change.
"Rick Perry has made everything about property tax relief, and I'm
more concerned about improving public schools, and I think there are
ways to do both," Mr. Bell said by phone Tuesday morning. "The
special session was called to focus on school finance but schools
were left out of the discussion until the very end."
Mr. Perry said he is confident in the legislation and his education
record and that the Supreme Court will decide whether the issue was
America at large -- As cigarette taxes in many states have
climbed, so has the illicit cigarette trade. The Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives made 35 arrests for tobacco
trafficking in 2003 and 162 such arrests in 2005, according to
Philip Awe, chief of the alcohol and tobacco enforcement branch.
Awe attributes the sharp rise in cigarette trafficking arrests to an
increase in illegal activity and improved investigation methods. A
major factor in the rise in illegal activity, he said, may be higher
cigarette taxes. As taxes climb, the profit potential of smuggling
Awe is from Michigan and recalls that in 1993 or 1994 the state
raised its cigarette tax from 25 cents to 75 cents a pack.
Awe said counterfeit tax stamps are "a nationwide problem" because
most states require tax stamps to sell cigarettes. "If you are
diverting a legitimate product for non-payment of taxes, you now
must supply a counterfeit tax stamp to reduce the chances of getting
caught," Awe said.
He could not estimate how much product is sold illegally but said it
must total billions of dollars.
"Contraband cigarettes are a worldwide problem. We're talking
billions of dollars," Awe said. He said contraband cigarettes
include counterfeit products as well as legitimately made cigarettes
that are smuggled to avoid taxes.
"There are counterfeit cigarettes being made from tobacco fields in
foreign countries and packaged as U.S. product or European product,"
Awe said. "The counterfeiters ship those cigarettes into the United
States through various ports and distribute them to criminal
organizations. The really bad thing with counterfeit cigarettes is
there are no standards with their manufacture. They could be laced
Seattle, Washington -- King County Executive Ron Sims has
announced that he has a plan to bring medical insurance to "almost
all" of the 16,000 children in the county who are uninsured.
Sims also announced, in his annual State of the County address to
the Metropolitan King County Council, that he has assembled a
"strike force" of top county officials to find ways to deal with
The executive said he would seek funding to hire half a dozen
outreach workers who would try to enroll in Medicaid or other
publicly funded insurance programs about 8,000 uninsured children
who are eligible but aren't signed up.
For children who don't have federal- or state-subsidized insurance
because their family incomes are above eligibility levels but whose
families can't afford private insurance, Sims said after his address
he will ask the County Council for money to pay their insurance
premiums for the next three years.
After the three years, he said, he expects the state to provide
insurance. "So many children in one of the wealthiest regions in the
entire United States going without coverage is a blot on our record
as a community, and we will change it," Sims said.
Sims, who previously announced several initiatives to reduce the
county government's emissions of carbon dioxide and other
climate-altering "greenhouse gases," said his global warming team
will study changes the county must make in order to cope with
Salt Lake City, Utah -- Delivering on a promise, Gov. Jon
Huntsman Jr. placed partial restoration of Medicaid dental benefits
at the top of a busy agenda for this week's special legislative
The governor, who alone has the power to call the Legislature back
into action, issued a call for the special session to begin
following an address to the House and Senate by Mexican President
Along with considering whether to scrape together money to cover
emergency dental care for elderly, blind and disabled Utahns,
lawmakers plan to clean up a handful of budget items and allow
legislative and Governor's Office staff to double-check revenue
estimates from the state Tax Commission.
Austin, Texas -- When the winners of a hurricane-relief
auction showed up to claim two pairs of autographed gubernatorial
cowboy boots, Gov. Rick Perry took a kick in the shins.
One of the boot buyers turned out to be Dean Barkley, campaign
manager of independent gubernatorial candidate and Perry opponent
Kinky Friedman. For $4,050, he and a fellow Friedman supporter took
home the shiny, new Perry boots, size 13, and a used pair donated by
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The governor cracked a couple of jokes about sweaty feet and holes
in socks and wrapped up a packed news conference in under 45
seconds, with no mention of hurricane relief or the Rose Bowl wager
that led to the auction.
"Thank you. We appreciate you guys," he said, tossing a pointed
farewell over his shoulder as he headed for the door. "So long."
Mr. Barkley, a self-described memorabilia junkie, said there was no
political dirty trickery intended, no aim to hijack the governor's
feel-good media event – just the signed, black Justin calfskins.
"We're respectful, but it was a nice chance to fill the governor's
boots – early," said Mr. Barkley. "I am going to put them on my
mantel and look at them every day."
Salem, Oregon -- A panel developing ways to improve the
Oregon Legislature recommended a shakeup to reduce partisanship and
rancor: Dump political parties.
The Public Commission on the Oregon Legislature called for the House
and Senate to determine whether they want to be elected on a
nonpartisan basis. It also endorsed open primaries, which would
allow voters to select candidate regardless of party affiliation.
"We're trying to send a message," said Chemeketa Community College
President Gretchen Schuette, a member of the 30-member legislative
Santa Fe, New Mexico -- New Mexico’s junior senator
considered calling it quits.
Coming near the end of his fourth eight-year term, Jeff Bingaman was
considering not seeking re-election to the seat he has held since
1983. But by the middle of February last year, he decided to give it
one more try.
Three Republicans are trying to make the incumbent Democrat regret
that decision . They are:
State Sen. Joe Carraro, an Albuquerque businessman who has been one
of the most vocal Republicans in the Senate.
Allen McCulloch, a Farmington urologist and political newcomer.
Former Santa Fe City Councilor David Pfeffer, who changed political
parties last year after working as a Democrat for the re-election of
Whoever wins the GOP primary is in for an uphill battle. According
to the Cooke Report, an online publication by political pundit
Charlie Cooke, the New Mexico Senate race is one of nine rated
The latest SurveyUSA poll taken in New Mexico (April 10) showed
Bingaman’s approval rating at 59 percent, with only 28 percent
disapproving — close to the same numbers as the state’s popular
senior senator, Republican Pete Domenici.
Reno, Nevada -- Go to a Democratic political rally and
you'll likely see Henderson Mayor Jim Gibson's campaign volunteers
wearing T-shirts that display the 's' in his name as the Superman
Sure, it might help a gubernatorial candidate to be compared to a
super hero, but in Gibson's case, it could prove more important to
make sure voters know how to spell his name.
If the August gubernatorial primaries turn out a certain way, voters
could be faced with a general election contest that pits Gibson
against U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Reno.
Just the fact that both are in the race has thrown political
commentators into fits. Mentions of either candidate's name always
carry a heavy emphasis on the second syllable, and it's not uncommon
to see speakers correct themselves.
The similarity in the names have some political strategists worried
that voters also would have a hard time telling the difference
between the two if they end up on a ballot together.
But a Reno Gazette-Journal/News 4 poll showed a majority of voters
already know the difference between the two candidates well before
either campaign has begun really engaging the public.
Juneau, Alaska -- The Alaska Senate voted for the second
time this year to rewrite the state's oil and gas production taxes.
The bill passed 15-4.
Lawmakers are working to change state oil taxes to collect more
revenue when prices are very high, as they are today.
The Senate vote was the first of this special legislative session,
which began May 10 but has primarily consisted of an overview of a
contract proposal between the state and three oil companies on state
tax and other terms if the companies build a natural gas pipeline
from the North Slope.
The petroleum production tax figures prominently in that contract.
The new tax would replace Alaska's current tax based on oil
production with a base tax rate of 22.5 percent of the oil
companies' Alaska profits. That tax rate would be lessened by a 20
percent credit on the capital investments those companies make in
To capture even more state revenue when oil prices are very high,
the tax rate would increase by 0.1 percentage points for every
dollar per barrel above about $50 per barrel.
Overall, the tax would boost the state's share of profits when the
price of oil is high. At today's price, state economists estimate
the tax would raise $1.2 billion or more next year above what Alaska
collects now. However, under the tax change, the state would get
less revenue when oil prices are low.
Phoenix, Arizona -- Three out of four Republican voters in
Arizona still have no idea who their gubernatorial nominee should be
this year, according to a new Rocky Mountain Poll.
The statewide survey said the number of undecided Republican voters
in the governor's race jumped to 75 percent in May.
In January, undecided voters represented 65 percent of those polled.
The poll of 253 likely Republican voters said that party activist
Don Goldwater still holds a double-digit lead in the four-person
Goldwater, a former state employee with a legendary last name, still
has not qualified for Clean Elections funding.
Denver, Colorado -- Republican gubernatorial candidate
Marc Holtzman came out swinging at the state GOP after the party
chairman called upon him to drop out of the race and throw his
support behind opponent Bob Beauprez.
In a move most political watchers said is unprecedented in recent
Colorado politics, party chairman Bob Martinez asked Holtzman to
"live with the results" of the state assembly vote and step aside.
Otherwise, he said, the race could "turn into character
assassinations" that might hurt the party in the general election
against Democrat Bill Ritter.
The increasingly tense Republican gubernatorial primary led to a
physical standoff Wednesday between rival campaign workers during a
forum at a posh country club.
The surprising dustup came at the beginning of a forum at Plum Creek
Golf and Country Club in Douglas County that featured Holtzman and
Democrat Bill Ritter. Beauprez was in Washington, but was
represented by state Sen. Shawn Mitchell.
An intern for the Holtzman campaign, Laura Mendenhall, tried to
block a Beauprez staffer, Jory Taylor, from videotaping the event.
That outraged the Beauprez campaign, which says it routinely tapes
"They were shoving him out of the way," said John Marshall, a
spokesman for Beauprez. "They totally accosted him. This is just
junior high school stuff. It's disappointing and juvenile and not
befitting a campaign for the highest office in Colorado."
A spokesman for Holtzman said Mendenhall had made "a rookie mistake"
and gotten carried away. "She's very protective of Marc," said Jesse
Mallory said the Holtzman campaign apologized for the incident.
"We're sorry the girls in our campaign beat up the boys in their
campaign," he said.
Reno, Nevada -- Forty-two percent of Nevadans are more
likely to vote for a Democrat for Congress because of President
Bush's job performance and 32 percent are more likely to vote for a
Republican, a statewide poll shows.
The Reno Gazette-Journal/News 4 poll found Bush's performance would
have no effect on the votes of 26 percent.
"That shows you how dire things are for Republicans," pollster Del
Ali said. "A lot could change, of course. But what it shows is, it
looks like a 1994 tidal wave."
In 1994, Republicans were swept to power in Congress in the middle
of President Clinton's second term when he was suffering from low
The poll of 600 likely voters, conducted May 12-15 by Ali's
Maryland-based Research 2000, has a margin of error of plus or minus
4 percentage points.
Two of Nevada's three congressional seats are held by Republicans.
Rep. Jim Gibbons is running for governor, while Rep. Jon Porter is
Mike Slanker, a Las Vegas political consultant, said Nevadans are
independent voters and the national mood rarely translates that much
in statewide races.
Albuquerque, New Mexico -- There's an election coming up.
It's less than three weeks away.
What? You say you haven't heard of it?
If that's the case, it's not surprising, says Albuquerque pollster
Brian Sanderoff. Because this year, the primary election, with its
absence of high-profile contests, isn't generating much excitement.
"The reason the season seems so quiet is because we don't have any
races," said Sanderoff, president of Research & Polling Inc. "If you
were to do a poll and ask people who is even running, the average
voter wouldn't know."
The airwaves have largely been absent of campaign commercials, save
for the three-way race for the Democratic state attorney general
Of the high-profile seats up for grabs in the U.S. Senate, U.S.
House of Representatives and governor, only the race to unseat U.S.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, a Silver City Democrat, has generated a primary.
And that's a three-way race for the Republican nomination, which
Sanderoff said doesn't include a big enough pool of reliable voters
to justify buying TV time.
So with the big races out of the way, the political airwaves have
been owned by Geno Zamora, Lemuel Martinez and Gary King - the three
Democrats who want to be attorney general.
Combined, the three had raised about $1 million through the filing
period that ended May 1, according to campaign finance figures
released earlier this month.
Salem, Oregon -- Two years ago all eyes were on Democrats
looking to take control of the Oregon Senate. This year, the general
election action appears to be in the House, where Democrats have
chafed in the minority for nearly 16 years.
The Democrats say they've recruited viable candidates in key races.
They're rolling in money and momentum, buoyed by a national souring
on Republicans. And they need to pick up just four seats to regain a
That won't be easy, Republicans say. All but two of the 33 House
Republicans will be on the Nov. 7 ballot, and the caucus expects to
gain at minimum two seats.
Pierre, South Dakota -- South Dakota groups representing a
wide range of interests are banding together to fight a proposed
constitutional amendment that would let people put judges on trial.
Organizations representing unions, businesses, agricultural
interests, school boards, county commissions, city councils,
hospitals, insurance companies, law officers and lawyers support the
No on E Committee.
Longtime lobbyists Dianna Miller and Larry Mann head the campaign
committee, which is training people in communities throughout the
state to give talks against Amendment E.
Supporters contend that the measure is needed to hold judges
personally accountable for violating people's rights.
Salt Lake City, Utah -- Jim Matheson sticks in Utah
Republicans' throats like an unchewed chunk of teriyaki chicken.
Frustrating. Irritating. How did it get there? How to get it out?
State Republican Party Chairman Joe Cannon figured he had found the
Two years ago, with party leaders still smarting from Matheson's
third election day win in the supposed-to-be-Republican 2nd
Congressional District, Cannon latched onto a strategy to beat the
tenacious Democrat: find a moderate Republican.
And Cannon did. He called up KSL Radio host Doug Wright and asked
him to run. Wright said yes and quietly started stumping. Even
Matheson seemed worried.
Then rank-and-file Republicans waded in. Wright was harassed about
being too liberal - one of his opponents called him "Matheson Lite"
- and disinvited him from party events. Not wanting to be a victim
of GOP cannibalism, he pulled out, leaving three conservatives in
Austin, Texas -- It will take a couple of years or longer
to weigh the practical effects of Gov. Rick Perry's tax trade-off,
but no sooner had the special session ended last week than opponents
were dishing out their election-year critiques.
Democrats said the tax package did little to improve public
education and was woefully underfunded. Comptroller Carole Keeton
Strayhorn attacked Perry for writing a "$23 billion hot check" that
soon will bring the sky crashing down upon state government.
And even voters among the governor's conservative Republican base
condemned the new, expanded business tax that was the centerpiece of
Perry's plan to cut school operating taxes.
Still, several political observers and activists from both major
parties agree that Perry is likely to be re-elected in November,
although not necessarily by a landslide — or even a majority.
Seattle, Washington -- As Mexican President Vicente Fox
arrives in Washington state Wednesday for a whirlwind 24-hour visit,
he will be greeted by a fast-growing Hispanic population that is
important to the state's economy and its business world.
Mexican President Vicente Fox arrives Wednesday in Washington.
The number of Hispanic-owned businesses in Washington surged by 69
percent, to about 10,270, in the decade through 2002, the most
recent data available, according to the University of Washington's
Business and Economic Development Center.
The growth in Hispanic businesses was faster than any other
minority-business segment, said Michael Verchot, the center's
Omaha, Nebraska -- Senators Hagel and Nelson have become
lightning rods in the immigration debate because they play
high-profile roles in the Senate's battle over it.
The fractious debate has triggered unusually high emotions. In the
past five weeks, Sen. Chuck Hagel has received 2,000 calls, letters
and e-mails, more opposing his position than supporting it.
Hagel's colleague from Nebraska, Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson, is
hearing the same passion and emotion from Nebraskans and other
Helena, Montana -- As U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns revs up for
his re-election run, he can already count $1 million that Montanans
have sent to his campaign fund — but that’s only one-sixth of what
he’s received so far.
The remainder — some $5 million — has flowed in from corporate CEOs,
political-action committees, fellow politicians’ committees and
scores of other individuals in almost every state in the nation.
Denver, Colorado -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob
Beauprez decisively captured his party's backing Saturday but he
still has a tough road ahead, political analysts say.
First, he has to change political gears, edging himself toward the
center - but not quite reaching it - in order to appeal to the more
moderate Republicans who vote in the Aug. 8 primary.
"It's a careful calculation. How much can he go towards the middle
without losing the primary but not alienating more mainstream
voters?" said Bob Loevy, political science professor at Colorado
Beauprez also has to continue battling GOP rival Marc Holtzman, who
did not automatically make the primary ballot but says he has enough
signatures to secure a spot through petitions.
If the last few months are any indication of the inter-party
politics that lie ahead, the contest will be expensive and ugly.
Honolulu, Hawaii -- State Democrats and Republicans will
hold their political conventions starting on May 26th in Waikiki,
where some of the top candidates will address the parties and party
leaders are expected to agree on platforms for the upcoming
The Democrats are meeting at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Friday
through Sunday, with the highlight likely to be speeches on Saturday
afternoon by U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka and
U.S. Rep. Ed Case. Akaka and Case are facing each other in the
Democratic primary for Senate, and the convention will give party
activists the chance to hear from both men from the same stage.
The party's candidates for governor, former state Sen. Randall Iwase
and Wai'anae harbormaster William Aila Jr., are scheduled to speak
on Sunday, along with U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie. The party will
also elect a new chairman, either PBS Hawai'i executive Mike
McCartney or former O'ahu Democratic chairman Jimmy Toyama, who will
likely speak on Sunday.
The Republicans are meeting at the Sheraton Waikiki from Friday
through Sunday, with Gov. Linda Lingle expected to address the GOP
faithful on Saturday morning. The party's candidates in the 2nd
Congressional District, state Sen. Bob Hogue and former state Rep.
Quentin Kawananakoa, are also scheduled to speak Saturday morning.
Phoenix, Arizona -- A referendum to make English the
state's official language still could make it to the November
So might a proposal to change the title "secretary of state" to
"lieutenant governor," and one to limit government's power to take
But most referendums proposed by lawmakers this session have gone by
the wayside. Only 21 of the original 75 remain alive. And it's
likely only a handful will make it to voters.
Hoping to keep from wearing down Arizonans with a hopelessly
complicated ballot, lawmakers still must whittle the proposals down
to an elite few.
This typically happens just before the close of the session. The
chosen ones could affect who shows up at the polls.
Juneau, Alaska -- The Alaska Legislature's legal counsel
disagrees with the attorney general's view of the state's ability to
lock up oil and gas taxes for the next 30 to 45 years.
Gov. Frank Murkowski is asking lawmakers to approve a natural gas
pipeline contract between the state and major oil companies,
including a provision that would guarantee the industry that its
taxes will not be raised for several decades.
The producers - ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and BP - are negotiating
with the state to build a $19 billion to $27 billion pipeline that
would send North Slope gas to Alberta and possibly Chicago.
But the producers have said they won't agree to the deal unless the
contract includes a provision that freezes their oil taxes for 30
years and their gas taxes for 45 years.
Boise, Idaho -- Jerry Brady and C.L. "Butch" Otter have
been here before.
Democrat Brady ran for governor four years ago, losing to Gov. Dirk
Otter, the U.S. House representative in Western Idaho's 1st
Congressional District, ran back in 1978, losing the GOP primary to
Allan Larsen, who couldn't beat John Evans that November anyway.
Now they're back, trying to get their parties' nods for this year's
race. While Brady's primary opponent isn't doing much to stop him,
Chubbuck businessman Dan Adamson is making a spirited push against
Boulder, Colorado -- University of Colorado professor Ward
Churchill plagiarized, fabricated and falsified material and
seriously deviated from accepted research practices in his writings,
a recently released report says.
The ethnic-studies professor's academic misconduct was serious
enough that CU could fire him or suspend him without pay, at least
for two years, the committee report said.
Phoenix, Arizona -- Federal immigration officials in
Arizona are sending non-Mexican immigrants home at quick pace,
making the state a model for ending the controversial practice of
letting them go free.
For years, tens of thousands of non-Mexican undocumented immigrants
have been allowed to disappear into the United States under the
catch-and-release policy. Typically, because of a lack of detention
space, they were released after being caught by the Border Patrol,
pending an immigration hearing. When the court date arrived,
however, the majority never showed up.
But federal immigration officials in Arizona already have shown
remarkable success in reducing the number of such immigrants
released under a program started in 2005, one of the few bright
spots in a state that continues to be the main gateway for illegal
immigration from Mexico.
Juneau, Alaska -- State Attorney General David Marquez is
telling legislators the Alaska Constitution allows the state to
temporarily give up its power to tax in the case of entering a
The state is negotiating with a trio of major producers -
ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and BP - to build a pipeline that would
deliver North Slope natural gas to markets in Alberta and Chicago.
Salem, Oregon -- More than 100 college students from
throughout Oregon and Idaho are in Salem this weekend to also
learn how to organize marches, launch voter-registration drives
and build alliances to push for legalizing immigrants who are
living illegally in the United States.
The three-day conference, being held at Chemeketa Community
College, is the last in a series of five training sessions held
It's sponsored by the Washington, D.C.-based Center for
Community Change, a nonprofit advocacy group, and the Fair
Immigration Reform Movement, a coalition of nationwide community
Salem, Oregon -- Candidates for Oregon governor and
their volunteers spread across the state over the weekend in one
last big push for votes.
"This is where grass roots win elections," said state Sen. Jason
Atkinson, who is running an underdog Republican campaign. "I've
made it to every town in Oregon. We have not let up."
Across town, Pete Sorenson, a Democratic candidate, rose at dawn
to plant himself and a small cadre of supporters at the Morrison
Bridge approach in Southeast Portland. They waved signs,
breathed auto fumes for two hours and coaxed a heartening number
Other candidates spent the weekend canvassing, shaking hands and
summoning reporters to any event that might draw a notebook or a
Republican Kevin Mannix invited reporters over to hear how he'd
had a change of heart -- and strategy -- and was pulling his ads
that attack rival Ron Saxton, replacing them with ones that
focus on Mannix's views and accomplishments. He said he made the
decision after getting "feedback."
Saxton's campaign scoffed. "For Kevin Mannix to claim he's
experienced a last-minute conversion is a desperate political
stunt," said Felix Schein, Saxton's campaign manager.
Austin, Texas -- The school finance plan heading for
the governor's desk beats the Supreme Court deadline and assures
the schools will open in August. But the plan leaves enough
unanswered questions that many experts believe the state could
be back in court fighting another crisis in as little as two
The new state business tax doesn't raise enough money to pay for
promised property tax cuts – in fact, it falls $5 billion short.
Lawmakers are counting on a booming economy to make up the
difference, but if it turns sour, the crisis could be more
And as homeowners are again finding this month, property
appraisals are spiraling in many parts of the state. That and
gradual increases in the property tax rate could push the state
back to the brink of homeowner revolt.
Irving, Texas -- Voters approved three user fees
Saturday that are expected to raise $15 million for Texas
Stadium demolition and redevelopment over three years.
Voters supported the ballot measure 87.2 percent to 12.38
percent in complete but unofficial returns.
The user fees allow the city to tax professional football
players up to $5,000 per game played at Texas Stadium, to add up
to $3 in parking fees and to increase ticket prices as much as
10 percent. But city officials have pledged not to impose the
so-called locker-room tax.
Irving officials were advised by the city's attorneys last month
that the player tax, which the National Football League Players
Association has said is unheard of in the league, could face
lengthy legal challenges.
Phoenix, Arizona -- The end of the legislative session
could be in sight as Republican lawmakers roll out a budget and
much-discussed immigration package. Republicans will need to
rally members around the package in the coming week and
negotiate for Gov. Janet Napolitano's signature. Last year,
lawmakers finished the session on May 13.
Phoenix, Arizona -- The Arizona Legislature is close
to making bestiality illegal again in Arizona. The Senate
approved legislation to create the new law, which would replace
a repealed one against the "infamous crime against nature." That
law was repealed in 2001 but was previously amended to exclude
sex with an animal. The new law would make sexual intercourse
with an animal and specified other sex acts a felony
According to a legislative staff memo, the only current state
law related to bestiality is a public indecency statute that
prohibits certain human contact with animals. That crime is a
misdemeanor unless the presence of a minor makes it a felony.
The new bill, which now returns to the House for consideration
of changes made by a House-Senate conference committee, was
proposed after the March arrest of a Mesa deputy fire chief,
Johnson, 52 at the time of his arrest, was accused of alleged
bestial acts with his next-door neighbor's lamb.
Phoenix, Arizona -- Republican lawmakers have released
a proposed state budget that would reduce income and property
taxes over two years and spend more for education, border
security and highway construction.
The Republicans' nearly $9.9 billion budget proposal for the
2006-2007 fiscal year beginning July 1 along with tax cuts also
includes a $345 million outlay to accelerate highway
construction, $160 million over two years for border security
and a $103 million financing package to expand Arizona State
Also, the Republican plan would revamp state funding for
elementary schools by providing more dollars but dropping a
mandate to spend some of that money on all-day kindergarten. And
a new school-choice tax credit for donations for private school
tuition grants would be doubled to $10 million from the current
Denver, Colorado -- The 118-day run of the 2006
Colorado General Assembly was repeatedly decried by lobbyists,
lawmakers and journalists as having a partisan, negative tone.
Yet the session ended as one of the most productive in memory -
with most of its key achievements forged in bipartisan
The stage for a tax and spend finale was set late in 2004,
when the incoming Democratic leadership, which had won control
of both chambers of the legislature for the first time since
1960, decided to retain most of the legislature's professional
staff, rather than replacing previous Republican appointees with
House Speaker Andrew Romanoff said, "We decided to keep those
staff members who had treated us fairly."
That was a gracious act by Romanoff and Senate President Joan
Fitz-Gerald, but it was also politically astute, instantly
endowing the neophyte leaders with a staff seasoned in the
demanding art of managing a session limited by law to 120 days,
weekends and holidays included.
Thus policies devised by the new Democratic majority could be
quickly hammered into bills.
The second key act that presaged this year's success came late
in the 2005 session when Gov. Bill Owens and 19 Republicans
joined all 53 Democrats to put Referendums C and D on last
November's ballot. That bipartisan coalition went on to win
voter approval for C - thus avoiding the need to slash hundreds
of millions of dollars from this year's budget.
Spenders on both parties rejoice!
Juneau, Alaska -- Gov. Frank Murkowski has called the
Legislature back for a special session to address his proposed
contract establishing tax and other terms for a trio of major
oil companies should they decided to build a $20 billion
pipeline to carry North Slope natural gas to the Lower 48.
The governor is pushing the contract his administration
negotiated with the North Slope's chief producers -- Conoco
Phillips, BP and Exxon Mobil -- for state tax and other terms on
the proposed pipeline.
A special session may last a maximum of 30 days, but the
governor can call a second if needed.