Hot Primary Races for Nebraska Senate, West Virginia Governor
Undated (AP) _ Nebraska Sen. David Karnes and West Virginia Gov. Arch Moore face tough Republican primary fights Tuesday, while Senate Majority Leader Robert Byrd is heavily favored to win West Virginia’s Democratic nomination to a sixth term.
Karnes, 39, was a political unknown when he was appointed last year by Gov. Kay Orr to complete the term of the late Democratic Sen. Edward Zorinsky. He is being aggressively challenged by four-term Rep. Hal Daub, who wanted the Senate appointment for himself.
Daub, 47, has accused Karnes of being a ″rubber stamp″ for Orr and President Reagan and said he had ″flip-flopped″ on many votes to please the president, including the trade bill and last year’s highway bill that raised the speed limit to 65 mph.
Karnes has said he will not answer such name-calling, but Mrs. Orr said last week it was ″sad″ that Daub ″feels he has to take a desperate approach.″
An Omaha World-Herald poll last week showed Karnes backed by 41 percent of those interviewed, while Daub was supported by 40 percent. Nineteen percent were undecided, and the margin of error was 4 percentage points.
Whoever wins the GOP primary is expected to face 44-year-old former Gov. Bob Kerrey, whose only opponent in the Democratic primary is Ken Michaelis, a 45-year-old disbarred lawyer.
In Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, where Daub is giving up his seat, four Democrats are seeking the nomination, including Cece Zorinsky, widow of the senator.
In West Virginia, Moore is seeking a fourth term as he battles Morgantown millionaire John Raese in the Republican race for governor. On the Democratic side, seven candidates are vying for the nomination.
Moore, 65, trailed in early polls but has surged ahead, pushing the theme that his state is making an economic recovery. He takes credit for cutting taxes by $311 million in the past four years, although he fought most of the cuts when they were imposed by the Legislature.
He also cites his accomplishments at bringing news businesses and bringing 30,000 jobs to the state, although the total number of employed West Virginians has increased by just 5,700 since Moore took office in 1985.
Raese, 38, maintains the state is in perilous financial shape and said Moore made just 10 percent of $385 million in budget cuts recommended by the Governor’s Task Force on Waste Management.
Raese, who has a reputation as a ″rich kid″ who loves fast boats and hard living, lost to another millionaire, Jay Rockefeller, in his first try for office in the 1984 Senate race.
Moore was the subject of an NBC report Sunday in which former Mingo County political boss Johnie Owens said Moore offered him $12,000 to include his name on a list of recommended candidates when Moore was running for re-election in 1972. A Moore spokesman called the report ″a piece of garbage,″ and Raese said he was ″saddened by the whole event.″
The leading Democratic contenders for governor appear to be former House of Delegates Speaker Clyde See - the 1984 nominee - and Charleston insurance executive Gaston Caperton, who waged an increasingly bitter war of negative television commercials.
Byrd, 71, is opposed in the Democratic primary by Huntington moving company owner Bob Myers. Byrd says he will give up the majority leader’s job to become Senate Appropriations Committee chairman if he is re-elected and Democrats retain control of the Senate.
In the GOP Senate primary, state Sen. Jay Wolfe is expected to defeat Bernie Lumbert of Buckhannon, an unemployed welfare recipient.
Of West Virginia’s four U.S. representatives, all Democrats, only Nick Joe Rahall of the 4th District is opposed. He faces former state legislator Ted Stacy and lawyer William Sanders.