||One of the nation's top political analysts, Stuart Rothenberg, dissects politics at the congressional and statewide levels.|
Anti-Abortion Activist Randall Terry Runs For Congress In N.Y.
And in North Carolina, Senate primary could turn on TV spots
By Stuart Rothenberg
New York State Republicans still haven't gotten used to the idea that Democrat
Maurice Hinchey represents the politically marginal 26th C.D. But while the GOP
hopes finally to knock off the Democrat in November, Republicans face a nasty
ideological primary that features one of the most controversial GOP
congressional hopefuls of the '98 election cycle: Randall Terry. And it isn't clear whether the party will be able to recover enough from its September primary feud to threaten Hinchey.
New York's 26th C.D. stretches from the Hudson Valley region, which includes the
city of Kingston, north and west past Binghamton all the way to Ithaca. Bill
Clinton carried the district by 10 points in 1992, but he drew a clear
majority, 51-35 percent, four years later in easily beating Bob Dole. Still, the
district is competitive, and the Republican congressional nominee in 1994, Bob
Moppert, came within 1,250 votes of beating Hinchey in what admittedly was a
very good Republican year.
The GOP primary pits veteran pro-life activist Terry against businessman Bud Walker.
Terry founded Operation Rescue, the pro-life group that took rather extreme
steps to stop abortions, in 1987, and went on to be active in other social issue
conservative groups, including the Christian Defense Coalition. He now hosts a
daily national radio program and publishes books dealing with history and with
Walker, who ran for a time last cycle but dropped out of the race in favor of
Sue Wittig when it became clear that the Conservative Party would support Wittig
and the anti-Hinchey vote would be fractured, owns radio stations and is
involved in the family apple orchard/apple cider mill business.
Terry has raised more than $325,000 but has little money in the bank after airing
$60,000 in TV spots and producing thousands of copies of a videotape, entitled
"Freedom," for his campaign. He would get rid of most entitlements if it meant
also eliminating the federal income taxes and FICA, and would disband any
government agency and department that "is not in the Constitution." He calls his
main primary opponent, Bud Walker, "Hinchey Light."
Walker is clearly the "moderate" in the race, not only because he supports legal
abortion during the first two trimesters but also because he sees a role for
government and is more cautious about things like school choice. However, he
also supports a partial-birth abortion ban, favors repealing the assault weapons
ban and, unlike Terry, supports fast-track trade authority for the president.
A third candidate in the race, attorney Doug Drazen, hasn't been a factor so
Terry hopes he can motivate conservatives, and portray Walker and Hinchey as
defenders of the establishment, tax-and-spenders and advocates of abortion. But
Walker portrays Terry as an extremist and argues that many of the pro-life
activist's public statements exclude him as a serious candidate.
The winner of the GOP nomination will face Hinchey, who raised close to $1
million for his 1996 race and won't have a serious primary and will be able to
husband his resources for the fall. But his record -- far more liberal than his
district -- should make him a GOP target every two years until he either gives up
the seat or is defeated.
N.C. Senate primary could turn on TV spots
The North Carolina Democratic primary has entered a new stage now that attorney
John Edwards has started to spend some of his millions on TV spots. And although
an early poll done for former University of North Carolina lobbyist D.G. Martin
shows him ahead of both Edwards and former Charlotte city councilwoman Ella
Scarborough, Edwards should blow past his primary opponents after a few weeks of
Edwards, who is wealthy, good looking and drawing support from most of the
allies of Gov. Jim Hunt, has already started to line up endorsements from
But Scarborough hopes to do well among liberals and the African-American
community, and Martin hopes his name recognition from previous congressional
races and solid reputation will help him overcome whatever financial advantage
Edwards will have. Martin and Scarborough are hoping to do well enough to keep
Edwards under 40 percent of the vote, thereby forcing a runoff.
The winner of the Democratic nomination will face Sen. Lauch Faircloth (R), who
continues to raise money and is generally regarded as the favorite for November.
But Democrats and Republicans see this race as one of the few chances for the
Democrats to knock off a GOP incumbent, so both parties will be extremely active in the state.