Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Change in Governor's Race

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Change in Governor's Race

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- Longtime state lawmaker Roy Barnes shook up two

top-of-the-ballot races yesterday by dropping out of the 1998

governor's contest and announcing plans to run for lieutenant

governor instead.

Pundits say Barnes' decision leaves the path to the Democratic

nomination open for Lt. Gov. Pierre Howard, and muddles an

already crowded lieutenant governor race.

"I would suspect he's done some polling and realized he's

running well behind Howard," said University of Georgia

political scientist Charles Bullock. "It means that Pierre

Howard can hope to win without a runoff."

Barnes, who lost to Zell Miller in the 1990 governor's race

before winning a state House seat in 1992, said he switched

contests partly because a costly primary battle with Howard

might have been disastrous for Democrats.

"Whatever party has a bloody primary loses the general

election," said Barnes, an attorney from the Cobb County suburb

of Mableton. "[Voters] are turned off by bloody primaries and

dirty campaigning. They hold it against the candidates.

"The second thing is Pierre Howard and I have been friends for

25 years," added Barnes, who served in the Senate with Howard

for 16 years. "We've seen over the years that longtime friends

become lifetime enemies over things like that, and I didn't want

that to happen."

Howard said, "I don't think either one of us was looking

forward to running against each other because of that fact. I am

very grateful to him.

"It obviously helps me because a lot of the people who would

have naturally supported Roy . . . I think I will pick up. I

think it helps me quite a bit."

Barnes and Howard were allies in what became known as the

"Gang of Five," a cadre of young reformers who came to the

Senate in the Watergate-era elections of 1974.

Barnes was former Gov. Joe Frank Harris' floor leader as a

senator, and developed a rightof-center reputation that was

expected to hamper him in a primary bout with Howard. …

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