Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Democrats Move to Fill the Void

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Democrats Move to Fill the Void

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Georgia's roller-coaster governor's race took another

hairpin turn yesterday, with one leading Democrat out, another

in and at least one more steeling for the plunge.

State Rep. Roy Barnes, D-Mableton, said he's leaping into the

void left by the sudden withdrawal of Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard.

Barnes, 49, a failed candidate for governor in 1990, had sought

the 1998 Democratic nomination but bowed to Howard's

fund-raising strength and switched to the lieutenant governor's

race.

He cut short a Florida vacation to jump back into the

governor's race, saying he doesn't think voters will penalize

him for changing his mind again.

"I wanted to run for governor as I did before, but I realized

it would be detrimental to the party for Pierre and I to slug it

out," the Cobb County legislator said yesterday. "Pierre and I

already had great overlapping support. We have generally the

same friends because our backgrounds are similar."

Barnes joins State Labor Commissioner David Poythress in the

Democratic field, which might soon include Secretary of State

Lewis Massey, a longtime Howard aide and confidant.

Before a Senate chamber crowded with lobbyists and Capitol

staffers, Howard officially withdrew from the field yesterday,

citing the demands of a 15month-long money chase that meant

nights and weekends away from his two children.

"We know the children need us now more than anyone else,

including the state of Georgia," said the 54-year-old attorney,

flanked by his wife, Nancy, and children, Christopher and

Caroline.

Howard's surprise retreat -- revealed Tuesday to his staff and

supporters -- gave another jolt to a 1998 campaign still reeling

from the disclosure that Republican Mike Bowers carried on a

lengthy extramarital affair while in the Attorney General's

Office.

Howard said he had no scandal in his background to fear, and

that the scrutiny of candidates' private lives heralded by

Bowers' plight played no part in his reversal.

"I think he made a decision that was in his heart," said Sen. …

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