POLITICAL TICKER; All GOP Hopefuls Were Once Democrats Mayoral Candidates Fight over 'Conservative' Status

Article excerpt

The Republican candidates for mayor spent the week bickering about their "true conservative" bona fides, but a quick check of voter registration records shows every member of the eight-candidate field has been a registered Democrat at one time or another since former President Bill Clinton took office.

Republican John Peyton's ads declare him "The only candidate who's a true conservative." But Peyton, a former intern for Democratic Mayor Jake Godbold and Democratic Senator Bob Graham, didn't join the Grand Old Party until 1994.

That's only one year before Republican Matt Carlucci made the switch in 1995, a chronology that raised some eyebrows after Peyton attributed a recent union endorsement of Carlucci to the fact that "Carlucci was a Democrat not too long ago."

The most recent Republican is Mike Weinstein, who joined the party in 1998 and last week issued an open letter saying Peyton's ad was untrue because there were several true conservatives in the race.

Ginger Soud has been a Republican longest. She joined in 1964, when the entire county contained barely 4,000 Republicans, but switched to the Democratic Party in March 1991, in time to choose between Democrats Tommy Hazouri and Ed Austin in a mayoral election with no Republicans. She switched back the following year.

Democrats Nat Glover, Hazouri and Keith Myers have never left the party. Independent Steve Irvine has been registered as both a Democrat and a Republican.

SIGN HERE PLEASE: Myers' long-shot campaign for mayor got a double-shot of good news last week.

First, he successfully convinced the other seven candidates to sign a petition asking the University Club to change its rules allowing him to enter a March 10 debate. The club had limited the debate to candidates who have raised at least $75,000. That excluded Myers and Irvine.

In doing so, Myers said he struck a little blow for democracy. …