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The Nation

Familiar Names in Primary Races

Contests around the country Tuesday include members of longtime political families.

September 10, 2006|Don Frederick | Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — A trio of famed political names -- Goldwater, Clinton and Cuomo -- dot the ballots in some of the 10 primaries being held across the nation on Tuesday.

In Arizona, contenders for the Republican gubernatorial nomination include the nephew of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater -- for decades the state's preeminent politician and a father of the conservative movement that dominates the national GOP.

Buoyed by his last name, Don Goldwater, 50, is given a strong shot at winning the primary. But whoever the Republicans pick will be an underdog against Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano in November's vote.

Also attracting attention is the GOP primary for an open House seat in the Tucson area. With several candidates in the race, former state Rep. Randy Graf is banking that his tough stance against illegal immigration will propel him to victory.

A Graf win would strengthen the hand of Republicans opposing any revision to immigration law that includes a path to citizenship for those in the U.S. illegally. But a Graf win also could improve prospects for Democrats gaining one of the 15 GOP seats they need to control the House. The district is politically competitive and has been represented by a moderate -- Jim Kolbe, the only openly gay GOP member of Congress.

In New York, Democrats are poised to renominate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, and to name state Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer as their gubernatorial choice -- both by overwhelming margins. The Republicans who will emerge as their opponents are seen as little more than sacrificial lambs in November.

A more competitive race features Democrat Andrew Cuomo, son of former New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo and Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Clinton. He is attempting to resuscitate his political career by claiming his party's nod for attorney general. Cuomo's chief primary rival is Mark Green, a longtime public figure in New York.

Elsewhere, Maryland Democrats would set up a Senate race between two black candidates if they chose Kweisi Mfume as their nominee against Michael S. Steele, the presumptive GOP nominee, who is the state's lieutenant governor.

Mfume is well-known -- after five terms in the House, he headed the NAACP for several years. His liberal views are in sync with the state's Democrats, and he could benefit from a crowded field. But the primary's favorite remains Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, who is white. He is spotlighting his vote against the congressional resolution that authorized the Iraq war.

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don.frederick@latimes.com

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