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November 05, 1999 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-11-05

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14 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 5, 1999


"This will be a big battleground state."
- Mark Brewer, Michigan Demnocritic Party chair

With 1 year left until ele
candidates focus on Mic


By Nick Bunkley
Daily Staff Reporter
Democrats and Republicans rarely find
themselves in agreement - especially in
an election year.
But as both parties look to Nov. 7, 2000,
when voters will choose the 43rd President
of the United States, they agree Michigan
is one state that can't be overlooked.
"Michigan is clearly going to be an
important player." said Betsy DeVos,
chair of the state Republican Party. "It
could potentially be a turning point for
one candidate or another."
With 368 days to go until the polls
open, candidates have already been
adding Michigan cities to their travel
schedules. Republican presidential hope-
fuls Steve Forbes, Alan Keyes and Gary
Bauer attended the Michigan Republican
Party's biennial conference on Mackinac
Island in September, and Forbes returned
to the state for a campaign stop on cam-
pus last week.
An early primary and strong GOP
leadership are enough to put Michigan
in the cross-hairs for Republican candi-
dates, but Democrats are confident they
will carry the state's 18 electoral votes
next November on the way to retaining
the White House.
"This will be a big battleground state,"
said Mark Brewer, chair of the state
Democratic Party. "The way Michigan
goes is the way the country goes in the
presidential election."
Prifdry primer
While New Hampshire and Iowa have
traditionally led off the spring flurry of
presidential primaries and caucuses,
Michigan has increased its significance by
moving its GOP primary to Feb. 22, a
month earlier than in past years.
"Michigan will be one of a handful of
states that you have to carry to be presi-
dent," Brewer said.
The move puts Michigan in the unfamil-
iar role of being the first major industrial
state to hold a primary - one of only
seven before the 11I "Super Tuesday" pri-
maries scheduled for March 7.
"This is the biggest state before New York
and California," Forbes said. "I'll be back
many times between now and Feb. 22."
Many of the Republican candidates
lagging in the polls hope to use the first

several primaries to give credibility to
their campaigns.
"You get to be early, you get to be
important. said Jeff Bell. senior consul-
tant for Bauer's campaign. "If we survive
Neuw Hampshire and South Carolina,
Michigan is a good place to clinch the deal
and pick up some momentum."
State Democrats, led by U.S. Sen. Carl
Levin, pushed to move their caucus date to
Feb. 12, but the Democratic National
Committee rejected that move last month.
"We don't think it's fair that Iowa and
New Hampshire get to go first." Brewer
said. "We think we're much more repre-
sentative of the country."
Although the state isn't likely to play as
big a role for Democrats with the party's
March 11I caucus, both Vice President Al
Gore and former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley are
looking to gather support that they hope to
take into the November elections.
"We have very strong support from the
Democratic leaders in Michigan, who are
going to be helping us out there" said
Gore spokesperson Roger Salazar.
"We're obviously not going to take any-
thing for granted."
Hot Ithe cI1adIltrdi
With the road to the White House grow-
ing longer every four years, candidates
have announced their intentions to run ear-
lier and spend more money sooner.
Through the third quarter of this year,
R e p u b I i c a n s
spent nearly S71
million on their
campaigns. The
S96 million
shelled out by
both parties com-
bined is nearly
50 percent more
than candidates
spent during the
same period
before the 1996
The GOP lost a Texas Gov. George W.
leading candidate the hand of a student a
last month when Colebrook, N.H., on Tue
former cabinet member Elizabeth Dole
dropped out of the race, ending her bid to
become the country's first female chief
executive. Pat Buchanan's bolt to the
Reform Party has left Republican candi-
dates clawing for
any votes he may
have left behind.
"I think it under-
scores the need for
the Republican Party
to have a visible
message," Forbes
said during his visit
to campus.
With President
Clinton closing out
his second term in
office, the nation is
faced with putting a
new face in the White
House. The shock
JEREMY MENCh itDaay waves from Clinton's
the Michigan Union historic impeachment
thern Michigan. trial are still reverber-

Vice President Al Gore and former Sen. Bill Bradley made their first joint appearance last week for
a forum at Dartmouth College In Hanover, N.H.


ating as the candidates -- including Gore
- distance themselves from one of the
nation's most infamous sex scandals.
"Democratic voters show some reluc-
tance to vote for someone associated with
the Clinton administration," said Graham
Teall, chair of Bradley for President
Volunteers of Washtenaw County.
S is fo I nIlllIer?
With Republicans eager to make a strong
early showing in Michigan, the primary
may turn out to be
merely a tune-up
for Texas Gov.
George W. Bush's
steamroller cam-
paign. Recent
statewide surveys
conducted by
Lansing polling
show Bush far
ahead of the other
GOP candidates.
AP PHOTO "Bush has got
sh reaches to shake the state pretty
Colebrook Academy in much locked up,"
day. said EPIC/MRA
vice president Ed Sarpolous.
Third-term Republican Gov. John Engler
has stepped in as Bush's state campaign
chair and then carried most other state party
members to the campaign on his coattails.
"We have almost all of the political lead-
ership in the state lined up behind Gov.
Bush," said Engler spokesperson John
Truscott. "There has been no trouble rais-
ing money or getting endorsements."
Truscott said Engler maintains a con-
stant line of communication with Bush's
campaign. The Texas governor has made
several trips to Michigan in recent months
and is scheduled to attend a Veterans' Day
event in Macomb County on Thursday.
"We feel like we have strong organiza-
tion in Michigan, led by Gov. Engler,"
Bush campaign press secretary Mindy
Tucker said. "We think that people in
Michigan are responding positively to
Gov. Bush's message."
Regardless of whether Bush carries the
GOP primaries in the remaining states,
DeVos said the party looks poised to come

out on top in November.
"I am confident that whomever ends up
as our nominee." she said. "Republicans
will be in a good position for winning back
the White House."
Power strugIles
The noise made by presidential hopefuls
isn't likely to drown out the campaigns in
other Michigan elections next November.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Stabenow (D-
Lansing) is challenging first-term
Republican U.S. Sen. Spence Abraham in
the hopes of putting both of Michigan's
Senate seats in the hands of Democrats.
Stabenow said she anticipates the battle to
be the most closely watched Senate race in
the nation, in part because Michigan has
never sent a female senator to Washington.
"This will really be making history in
Michigan," Stabenow said. "There's been
such a groundswell of support. To be in a
dead heat with the incumbent senator is
But Abraham spokesperson Joe Davis
said the senator's first term speaks for itself
when comparing the two candidates.
"We think we have a good record. We're

anxious to talk
about how that
stacks up to Mrs.
Stabenow's," he
said. "Hopefully
people will recog-
nize that we've got
a good record and
we're confident that
we'll get sent back
to the Senate for a
second term."
In the state

I'il be back
many times
between now
and Feb. 22"
- Steve Forbes
GOP presidential candidate

e by

Legislature, Democrats are only four seats
away from regaining a House majority.
"The Democrats are shut out of policy
making in Lansing right now and we. want
to take back control there," Brewer said.
But DeVos said she expects voters to send
most of the 41 GOP representatives first
elected in 1998 back to Lansing.
"I am very confident that the support is
going to be there to return those freshmen
who were elected last time," she said. "I
think that Republicans are going to do very
well next year."

Republican candidate Steve Forbes speaks at
last week during a campaign trip through sou


Students campaign

to mobilz
By Yael Kohen<
Daily Staff Reporter
With campaigns for the 2000 presidential election going
full speed ahead, students across the state have begun orga-
nizing campus campaigns for the various candidates.
At the University, College Republicans and College
Democrats are mobilizing students to increase voter
turnout, registering voters and promoting issue education
throughout this semester.
"Young people are notoriously poor voters for a variety
of reasons," communications studies Prof. Michael Traugott+
said. Temporary residency. weak community attachments,
less worries concerning paying taxes and homeownership
make students less likely to vote, he said, but education on
the issues should increase voter turnout among students.
A Democratic Issues Conference is scheduled for Nov.
13 as an agenda-building project to define Democratic

e campus
and getting Bill Bradley's name out around campus,"
LSA senior Amanda Beaumont, an organizer of Students
for Bradley, said in a written response.
Former Sen. Bill Bradley, who announced his candidacy
last month, has rapidly risen to challenge Vice President Al
Gore for the Democratic nomination. As the March 11
Michigan Democratic caucus approaches, Students for
Bradley are working hard to get students registered with the
hope that they will vote for Bradley, Beaumont said.
But Students for Gore got a head start on campaigning.
Organizing for Gore's campaign began early in the semes-
ter and there already is a strong contingency on campus.
said co-organizer Shanna Singh, an LSA senior. The group
plans on educating the community about the election and
taking part in community service activities, she said.
Members of Students for Gore are taking part in a 5-
kilometer run sponsored by the Sexual Assault Prevention

University Regent Larry Deitch (D-Bloomfield Hills) speaks at
Hutchins Hall on Oct. 21. to Bill Bradley supporters.
bers of the Republican party so they can vote in the Feb. 22
primary. But Diamond, who is also president of the College
Republicans, said Students for Bush have been taking advan-

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