Points By Drew Pritt

Key Primaries Left….
June 28, 2008, 4:06 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Presidential Primaries are over and there are still a few Congressional & Gubernatorial primaries to be settled before we enter the fall phase of the election. The outcome of these primaries will determine a large amount of what will happen in November.




In 1996, wealthy banker Dave Cuddy (R), a former State Senator, spent $1.3 million and got a third of the vote to try to defeat U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R). Right now Cuddy is following the same script and latest polling shows Cuddy trailing Stevens by 11 points. Cuddy will have to invest a few million into negative ads to possibly chip off enough votes to spring a surprise on Stevens but he’s running out of time. Stevens could be weakened even more where Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) obliterates instead of just defeats Stevens in November.


U.S. Congressman Don Young (R) is facing two well financed and strong opponents in the primary. Lt. Governor Sean Parnell (R), whose father Pat Parnell challenged Young in 1980, and State Representative Gabrielle LeDoux (R) are mounting credible and strong challenges. Parnell, of the two, is making the stronger challenge. In some polls he is a few points ahead of Young but within the margin of error. LeDoux remains competitive but is in the back of the pack. She could make a late surge depending how she distributes her resources. She could end up splitting the anti-Young vote with Parnell, putting the incumbent back on top.


In the Democratic Primary, former State Representative Ethan Berkowitz (D) who was the 2006 nominee for Lt. Governor is challenging Diane Benson, who in 2006 was the Congressional nominee. The race has been close but Berkowitz has maintained a consistent edge. Benson’s strong support from the Teamsters and other labor groups could overcome Berkowitz’s financial edge. A third self-funding candidate, Jake Metcalfe, has dropped after it was revealed his campaign manager had purchased internet domains with the express determination to attack Berkowitz.

The Primary is August 26, 2008



Arizona’s 1st Congressional District will likely swing blue barring some unforseen circumstance, so the fight is in the Democratic primary. Mary Kim Titla, a Native American Indian is fast building a grassroots campaign, while activist Howard Shanker has U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva while the AFL-CIO has endorsed State Representative Ann Kirkpatrick along with Governor Janet Napolitano. The 21st Century Democrats recently endorsed Kirkpatrick but the contentious battle between Kirkpatrick and Shanker, with the edge given to Kirkpatrick currently, is benefitting Titla who is largely ignoring the fight and focusing on running for Congress.

The Primary is September 2, 2008



State Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, wealthy developer & entrepreneur Jared Polis, and Colorado Conservation Executive Director Will Shafroth all plunged into a crowded field of Democratic candidates vying for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs. Udall is the Democrat running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Wayne Allard.

Polis is openly gay however Fitz-Gerald has a record in the GLBT community so strong and consistent that her supporters started a website entitled http://www.GayerThanJared.com/

Fitz-Gerald has the money, the support, and the momentum. She’s not your typical politician. Her idea of relaxation is to read a good book, like Doris Kearns Goodwin’s latest, “Team of Rivals.” She once ran the New York City Marathon. In 2005, the State Senate elected her the first female Senate president. She was elected a State Senator in 2000, 2002 and 2004. In 1991, she became the first woman ever elected clerk and recorder of Jefferson County.

Polis is a policy wonk. He served six years on the Colorado State Board of Education, and was selected by my colleagues to serve as the first Democratic Chairman in over thirty years. He founded and served as superintendent of the New America School – a school focused on empowering new immigrants with the educational tools and support they need to maximize their potential. In addition, he successfully creating and then selling an Internet service company in 1998 for a reported $22 million and the Blue Mountain Arts web site in 1999 for about $780 million. He is 32.

Shafroth is a fourth-generation Coloradan and the grandson of one of Colorado’s most progressive Governors, John Shafroth. Will Shafroth is the Executive Director of Colorado Conservation Trust, a non-profit environmental organization that raises money for conservation projects that help preserve Colorado landscapes from development. Prior to his creation of Colorado Conservation Trust, Shafroth was the first Executive Director of Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) which has “distributed hundreds of millions of dollars in grants for open space, parks, trails and wildlife.”

The Primary is August 12, 2008



Lt. Governor John Carney (D) and State Treasurer Jack Markell (D) have been battling, spending millions of dollars, and collecting dueling endorsements for some time now to decide which one will succeed Governor Ruth Ann Miner (D).

Carney is very professional and the mere fact the two candidates share the same name and the Lt. Governor uses the proper form is indicative of personalities. Carney has served as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of New Castle County and the Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Thomas R. Carper (D). For several years in the late 1990’s he was the Delaware State Secretary of Finance. He then was elected Lieutenant Governor of Delaware in 2000, re-elected in 2004. Carney has long been an advocate for wellness issues in Delaware, sponsoring “BeHealthy Delaware” and “The Lt. Governor’s Challenge” to encourage Delawareans to be more active and address the State’s high rate of chronic diseases. He recently proposed the creation of a health care assistance program to be called “Delaware First Care.” Through this system the state of Delaware would guarantee access to primary and preventive care by subsidizing routine screening and medical visits, based on a sliding payment scale depending on household income.

Markell meanwhile is a business mogul. Markell served as Vice President for Corporate Development at Nextel, where he was responsible for coming up with the name “Nextel,” and helping to lead the movement to wireless technology. His other work experiences included a senior management position at Comcast Corporation. Markell was first elected State Treasurer of Delaware in 1998, unseating Republican incumbent Janet C. Rzewnicki, and was re-elected in 2002 and 2006. As State Treasurer, Markell has led the development of several educational efforts in personal financial management, known collectively as “the Financial Literacy initiatives.” He created the Delaware Money School which offers free classes to Delawareans throughout the year on topics such as saving for college and retirement planning. He also began the “Delaware Bank at School Program” which takes banks and financial education to schools. In a third program, he has partnered with the University of Delaware, Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, as well as leading Delaware banks, to teach young children the basics of money and savings.

There was little doubt that Carney would run for Governor and he made his intentions known early, which enabled him to garner support from much of the party establishment, including Carper and Minner. Carney supporters held out hope that Senator Joe Biden (D) in his Presidential bid would catch fire, creating the possibility that he would either forego re-election this year or that the seat would come open next year. Another possibility was that Congressman Mike Castle (R) would retire, leaving an open House seat. Obviously none of these possibilities has panned out. Then, there was an effort to convince Markell to run for Lieutenant Governor, essentially implying that he needed to wait his turn. None of the suggestions or offers put on the table could dissuade Markell.

Markell is also the only candidate to have aired television advertising, putting up a spot in mid-December featuring Hall of Fame coach Tubby Raymond. It aired on ESPN2 during the University of Delaware’s NCAA FSC championship game. Carney has the party establishment behind him, but Markell’s cash advantage could cut into the value of that support. Carney comes across at times as incredulous that he even has a primary opponent, intimating that he is the rightful heir to the nomination and thus the seat.

The Primary is September 9, 2008



In 2002, then-Senator Max Cleland (D), who lost both his legs and an arm while serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, was attacked in his reelection campaign by a series of smears and attacks by then-U.S. Congressman Saxby Chambliss (R) that worked. Since then, Democrats both in Georgia and nationwide have been spoiling for a fight to take Chambliss down a peg or two.

Former State Representative Jim Martin who in 2006 was the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor has consolidated the most internal party support. Martin is a unique Democrat who appeals to both rural voters, the women’s groups, minorities, the GLBT Community, labor & business leaders. In 1982, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives. During his 18 years in the legislature, he became a leader on healthcare issues and helped to create PeachCare, which provides quality and affordable healthcare to thousands of Georgia’s children. As Chairman of the Budget Committee, when Georgia faced tough economic times in the early 1990s, state leaders turned to Martin to preserve critical services for seniors, children, and people with disabilities, while making necessary cuts in the budget. Ultimately millions of dollars were cut but at the same time the same level of support continued for these communities. In 2006 when he ran for Lt. Governor he won more votes than any other non-incumbent Democrat on the ticket.

DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, Jr. began his career with BellSouth Corporation, where he was part of a team that established wireless communications in Montevideo, Uruguay. Jones served as a state representative for eight years, from 1993 to 2001.

In 2000, Jones was elected chief executive of DeKalb County, a position in which he presides at meetings of the county Board of Commissioners. He is also responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of a 7,000-employee civic workforce and a $2.6 billion budget within the state’s second most populous county. He has the honor of being the youngest person to hold this position. Since being elected, Jones has been active in purchasing land for the county to be used as parks, as well as a landmark initiative requiring all senior county employees to disclose financial information to prevent any conflicts of interest. Jones was re-elected in 2004. Jones, who is African-American, has angered many Democrats for openly supporting George W. Bush (R).

Josh Lanier joined the staff of Senator Herman E. Talmadge (D-GA). He was selected to specialize in military and veterans issues for Senator Talmadge and was selected to a small group of Congressional staff to visit South Viet Nam in the closing days of it’s existence in 1974. He went on to serve as an association executive and journalist over the next ten years in Washington. He served as Director of Congressional Relations for the National Cable Television Association, Washington Editor for CATV Weekly Magazine, Director of Public Affairs for the Manufactured Housing Institute and, through an association management firm that he founded with former Congressman Robert Leggett (D-CA) in 1979, as Executive Director of the Shellfish Institute and National Insulation Certification Institute. He helped found in 1998 LightStream Technologies, a developer of safe technologies for the treatment of water and air that won the 2004 Frost & Sullivan Product Innovation Award.

Dale Cardwell is a former Emmy-winning television journalist based in Atlanta, Georgia. Cardwell was an investigative reporter for Atlanta’s WSB-TV for eleven years. Cardwell’s six “Emmy” awards, presented by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, as well as numerous other honors such as 2005’s “Journalist of the Year,” from the Atlanta Press Club are his claim to fame. Cardwell quickly demonstrated his “nose for news” when he obtained an audio tape sent from a serviceman who later died in the crash of an army-chartered jet in route to the US from Gander, Newfoundland in December of 1986, which killed all 248 aboard. The tape, mailed to the serviceman’s fiancé days before the flight, told her of the service men and women’s fear of flying on what he referred to as the “rickety-old” army-chartered transportation. His story was aired on every national network and led to hearings in Washington and a thorough vetting of the military’s aviation transport policy. Cardwell has made a host of enemies as well as admirers for his investigations that have led to the exposure of corruption on the part of former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, the conviction of former DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, the resignation of Fulton County Sheriff Jackie Barrett, the return of public funds by Senator Zell Miller, and the termination of Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue’s abuse of government airplanes and helicopters for private benefit.

Rand” Knight, Jr.’s roots in Georgia go back more than 300 years, and his mother’s family can be traced all the way back to the Jamestown settlement. What has surprised everyone is Knight was endorsed by the Georgia AFL-CIO. This is the first time in Georgia’s history that the AFL-CIO has endorsed a federal Candidate with no elected experience. He has also earned the support of Former Congresswoman Denise Majette, who is also serving as his State Chair. He began his professional career working under the Vice President of Environmental Policy at Turner Productions. Rand started a sustainable development business with a classmate. After working for several years as an ecologist with the United States Forest Service and as a manager and systems analyst in the private sector, Rand continued his formal education and earned a Ph.D. in Ecosystems Analysis at the University of Washington in 2003. From 2004 to 2006 Rand was a scientist for the National Ecological Observatory Network, and he is currently the Director of Enterprise Sales and Global Business Development at QL2 Software, Inc. in Seattle.

Martin leads Jones 21%-16% with the rest of the candidates in the single digits and a large undecided. Cardwell seems to be the most disturbed as he lashes out at every primary opponent acting like he’s entitled to the Senate nomination.

The Primary is July 15, 2008 ; A Run-Off Primary will be August 5, 2008




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