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Collins to Join Georgia Ad Wars, Touting Conservatism

In an effort to introduce himself to voters as the only true conservative in the GOP Senate race, Rep. Mac Collins (R) will hit television airwaves Friday with his first ad.

Collins, who faces Rep. Johnny Isakson and pizza magnate Herman Cain in the July 20 primary, is the last candidate in the GOP race to go on the air.

The bio spot titled “Positive” is expected to run on cable TV for two weeks. The campaign plans to stay on the air through the primary, according to a Collins spokeswoman.

The 30-second commercial touts Collins’ service on the Intelligence Committee and his association with the tax cuts President Bush signed into law last year. The ad describes Collins as the only “true conservative candidate” in the Senate race, one who is also “100 percent pro-life.”

“And he’s got the voting record to prove it,” an announcer says in the ad.

Both Cain, who has run six statewide TV spots so far, and Collins are battling for the “true conservative” label in the three-way primary.

Isakson, dubbed by his opponents as the moderate, went up with television ads to defend his conservative credentials in early May. He is considered the frontrunner in the race.
— Lauren W. Whittington

Mayor Drops Bid for Ballance’s House Seat

Snow Hill Mayor Don Davis (D) dropped his 1st district bid on Tuesday, making former state Supreme Court Justice G.K. Butterfield (D) the clear frontrunner in the race to succeed retiring Rep. Frank Ballance.

In a news release, Butterfield commended Davis’ record and said the 32-year-old mayor has “a bright future” ahead of him.

“Our campaign is coming together rapidly and I am excited about the opportunity to make a real difference for the hard working families of Eastern North Carolina,” Butterfield said.

Other Democrats running are college professor Christine Fitch, businessman Sam Davis and attorney Darryl Smith. Sam Davis, who lost the 2002 Democratic primary to Ballance, is the only white candidate in the race.

Republicans are not expected to contest the heavily Democratic seat in November.
— L.W.W.

Mills Gets Senate Nod But Trouble Lies Ahead

State Assemblyman Howard Mills III (R) accepted his party’s formal designation for Senate on Wednesday and issued a scathing attack on Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D) effectiveness.

“The fact is that New York’s influence in the Senate has eroded to the level of inconsequence since Chuck Schumer became our Senator,” Mills told the New York Republican convention in Syracuse. “He works tirelessly at self-promotion. What New Yorkers need is a United States Senator who will work tirelessly to promote them. That’s why we will win this election.”

Mills is seen as the longest of long shots against Schumer, who has high poll numbers and was sitting on $21 million in his campaign account on March 31.

But Gov. George Pataki (R) told convention-goers that Mills’ position is similar to his own when he was the heavy underdog challenging then-Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) in 1994. Pataki, according to the Albany Times-Union, said Mills aspires to be a “dragon-slayer.”

But Mills does not even have a unified Republican Party to work with. Despite the designation of the state party, he could still face a primary against former Wall Street trader Michael Benjamin, who needs to collect more than 15,000 petition signatures to get on the Sept. 14 primary ballot.

And the New York Conservative Party has given its ballot line to eye doctor Marilyn O’Grady, the 2002 GOP nominee against Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D).

“The Republicans picked the wrong candidate,” O’Grady is quoted as saying in Wednesday’s New York Times. “He’s pro-abortion, pro-gay rights and has a tax and spend record in the Assembly. I would have to say I’m in the Ronald Reagan tradition of conservatism.”

No Republican has won statewide office in New York in 30 years without also having the Conservative Party line.
— Josh Kurtz

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