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CAMPAIGN 2000

Trail Mix

Occasional morsels from Campaign 2000

October 01, 2000

Turnout downturn

The get-out-the-vote folks should rush a SWAT team to New Ashford, Mass., before November's election. None of the town's 202 registered voters turned out for the Sept. 19 state primary.

New Ashford clerk and secretary Richard DeMyer said he opened the polling place at the town hall at 6:30 a.m. and began to wait. And wait. And wait some more. Before closing up 14 hours later, a disheartened DeMyer decided he wouldn't cast a ballot either.

"Nobody else did," DeMyer said. "I thought I'd go for zero."

In New Ashford, local candidates ran uncontested, leaving voters uninterested, DeMyer said. The statewide turnout of 9.39% was the lowest ever recorded in a state primary.

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Florida panhandling

Al Gore wants to win Florida, but the lengths he seems willing to go toward that goal could strike some--not Times reporters, mind you, but cynics--as off-key and fishy.

Asked on MTV last week what Gore has in his CD player, the vice president replied: Sister Hazel. The roots of the acoustic, pop-rock band are in Florida--Gainesville, to be exact, in north-central Florida. That's an area of the Sunshine State where Gore is politically weakest.

The vice president--who either absolutely adores Sister Hazel, doesn't listen to much music or whose CD player is jammed--had praised the band many months before as being his latest CD purchase.

In another overture to Florida, the Democratic candidate is in Sarasota prepping for Tuesday's debate in Boston with George W. Bush. The site of his debate preparations? A shark research station.

Gore also used Mote Marine Laboratory in St. Petersburg to prepare for his 1996 vice presidential debate against Jack Kemp.

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Taxing day

George W. Bush walked onto the field and shouted Bubba Franks' name. Franks glanced back over an enormous shoulder and looked to the sky.

Bush pulled back and fired a football in a somewhat tight spiral into Franks' massive hands. Fellow team members and campaign aides cheered.

"That's it, Bubba," declared the Texas governor, dwarfed by the 6-foot-6 tight end. "My arm hurts. Let's rest on our laurels."

That would have been the highlight of Bush's visit with the Green Bay Packers on Thursday. But then quarterback Brett Favre trotted over to slap Bush's back and wish him good luck. Other sweaty players waved and broke from their training.

Then came the gem. As he posed for pictures surrounded by the team, one player poked his head out of the huddle and asked a question straight out of Bush's campaign playbook.

"Can we get the tax bracket lower?" asked the player, who quickly backed into the group.

See? Bush taunted reporters. "I told you all they want tax relief."

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Quote file

"We have never run because we think we are going to win."

--Workers World Party presidential nominee Monica Moorehead

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Compiled by Massie Ritsch from Times staff and wire reports

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