The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on May 15, 1986 · 17
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 17

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Tampa, Florida
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Thursday, May 15, 1986
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17
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Neb. contenders politically astute OMAHA, Neb. (AP) The first two women to square off as major party gubernatorial candidates are political veterans who say gender is not Important in their race to be Nebraska's chief executive. Democrat Helen Boosalis and Republican Kay Orr, winners in Tuesday's primary election, had stressed their background in government during the campaign to succeed Democratic Gov. Bob Kerrey, who is not seeking a second term. Boosalis, 66, is a former two-term mayor of Lincoln who had previously served on the City Council. She was the first woman elected mayor of a city of more than 100,000 residents, and she was president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. State Treasurer Orr, 47, was previously a top aide to Gov. Charles Thone. Appointed treasurer by Thone in 1981 and elected in 1982, she was the first woman to win a statewide constitutional office in Nebraska. The race between Orr and Boosalis will be the nation's first in which two women nominated by the major parties compete for a governorship. Nebraska has never had a woman governor. Boosalis and Orr, who appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" program Wednesday, said issues were more important than gender In the race to be elected governor in November. But both said they were proud of Nebraska for setting the stage for the unique contest. "I'm not surprised that Nebraska's the first," said Boosalis. "Ne-braskans are independent people. They've got their own minds, and this is a first that I think is a credit to all Nebraskans." Orr characterized the primary "as a modern-day effort at pioneering in politics." "It's very exciting for Nebaska and it's very exciting, I'm sure, for Helen and me personally." Orr was the victor in an eight-candidate GOP primary. Boosalis finished first in a field of seven Democrats. Early returns from Omaha-dominated Douglas County set the trends. The Omaha showing was especially . f - J j Y I ) Democrat Boosalis is a former mayor of Lincoln. important for Orr, whose greatest political strength was believed to be in the huge, traditionally conservative 3rd Congressional District that encompasses most of rural Nebraska. " Both women were seeking party unity after their victories. Boosalis, the daughter of Greek immigrants, is still effusive about the opportunities America gave her family. A native of Minneapolis, she said she learned early the importance of helping others. She said her parents talked often of government, and that she had always been intersted in it. Republican Orr is state treasurer of Nebraska. Orr, a native of Iowa, is a staunch supporter of President Reagan. She vividly, recalls her father "starting over at age 52" after he lost the money he made in an Iowa farm implement dealership while trying some real estate ventures in California. He was a major influence in her life, she said. 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But the lightning . . isn.t Analysis jgperat- LaRouche disciples fared poorly in recent contests in Texas, Ohio, North Carolina and Indiana, winning only where they were the sole candidates on the ballot in a few strong Republican districts where regular Democratic Party leaders felt there was no chance to win the general election and offered no candidates of their own. In upcoming primaries in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Alabama, California and several other states, LaRouche candidates are numerous but their campaigns are invisible, Democratic Party leaders say. In New Jersey, which has a June 3 primary, LaRouche candidates are running in 13 of the state's 14 congressional districts, "but we haven't seen any real campaigning," says state Democratic Chairman Raymond Durkin. "We don't see any chance of any regular Democratic candidates losing to any LaRouche candidates. What happened in Illinois alerted us, and we're going to be ready here." In Alabama, another June 3 primary state, LaRouche supporter Steve Arnold is one of four Democrats seeking the party's nomination to oppose Republican Sen. Jeremiah Denton in the November elections. Alabama State Democratic Chairman John Baker says he met Arnold only once when he came to party headquarters to pick up a copy of the rules. "He's not waging any kind of campaign, at least there's no sign of it," Baker says. "I don't think anybody takes him seriously." LaRouche and his conspiracy theories he says the queen of England is a drug dealer, Henry Kissinger is a Soviet agent and the AIDS epidemic is a creation of the policies of the International Monetary Fund drew public attention after two of his followers were nominated for lieutenant governor and secretary of state in Illinois in upset victories over regular Democratic candidates. LaRouche, who has run for the presidency three times, declared the Illinois results evidence that Democratic voters were fed up with their party's leadership and ready to turn to him in protest. He said hundreds of his supporters would be running and winning in many other states this year. But in Ohio on a recent Tuesday, LaRouche candidate Don Scott got only 13 percent of the vote against Sen. John Glenn in the Democratic primary. On the same day, in Indiana, regular Democrat Jill L. Long steamrollered LaRouche supporter Georgia Irey to win the party's nomination to oppose incumbent Republican Sen. Dan Quayle in November. And on the same day, in North Carolina, Milton Croon, who was linked to LaRouche, ran ninth in a field of 10 Democrats seeking the Senate nomination won by former Gov. Terry Sanford. National Democratic Party officials say Texas party leaders did a "solid job" of identifying LaRouche candidates and educating voters to defeat them in the state's primary earlier this month. "We contacted our precinct chairmen and party activists and told them the time for amused tolerance was over and to get to work," says Texas Democratic Chairman Bob Slagle. "Now we've got only one more clean-up job to do in San Antonio," Slagle said, referring to the only near-success for the LaRouche forces in Texas. That came in heavily Hispanic San Antonio in a five-way contest for the party post of Bexar County Democratic chairman. In that race, the LaRouche candidate, Donald Varella, the only candidate with a Hispanic name, and a favorable ballot position, led with 39 percent of the vote. There will be a runoff June 7 between Varella and Jane Searcy Hi-bler, a regular Democrat who has the support of San Antonio's popular Mayor Henry Cisneros. LaRouche candidates, running without competition, won Democratic nominations for Congress in two districts in Texas and two districts in Ohio. "The bottom-line concern is whether these (LaRouche) people can ever win public office," says Terry Michael, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. "I think from everything we know now there is near zero chance of that occurring in the general elections in November. As far as I know there are no LaRouche cult followers who currently hold public office, and we expect that to be the case after November." The LaRouche" forces, however, shrugged off their reversals. LaRouche spokesman Mel Klenetsky says he saw further evidence of Democratic dissatisfaction with their leaders in the votes that were cast for LaRouche candidates, "although we certainly didn't see the same kind of dramatic victories" that took place in Illinois. 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