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Ashcroft To Talk Tax Cuts in Iowa

August 10, 1998

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Hoping to separate himself from the presidential pack, Sen. John Ashcroft will couple a campaign trip through Iowa with advertising focusing on his calls for sharp tax cuts.

Aides said Ashcroft will run newspaper and radio ads in areas of the state he plans to visit this week. The Missouri Republican will spend more than $26,000 on those local ads designed to call attention to his conservative economic message.

An economic debate has divided Republicans as party leaders fight about how deeply taxes can be cut.

``He’s trying to fill that vacuum,″ adviser Keith Appell said.

Ashcroft has scheduled a trip through Iowa beginning Wednesday. Appell said details of Ashcroft’s economic package are still being worked out, but it will include calls for deep tax cuts and pro-family changes such as an end to a tax penalty that some married couples must pay.

Ashcroft is among a large number of Republicans mulling a bid for the GOP presidential nomination, and he’s been aggressive in laying the groundwork in Iowa, where precinct caucuses launch the nominating season.

Ashcroft already has strong credentials among social and religious conservatives who play an important role in GOP affairs, and his new focus on taxes is aimed at fiscal conservatives in the party’s ranks.

In his new commercials, Ashcroft tries to meld the two issues, talking about crafting a tax code that supports ``values like marriage, work, charity, compassion.″

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Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson holds a strong lead over opponents trying to keep him from becoming Wisconsin’s first four-term governor, according to a statewide poll released Monday.

The poll, commissioned by the conservative Wisconsin Policy Research Institute in Thiensville, also showed that Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold, a Democrat, had a strong lead over his opponent in the November elections.

The survey of 1,000 randomly selected residents was conducted by telephone between July 7 and 18 by Louis Harris and Associates. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Thompson has nominal Republican primary opposition, Eagle River diner owner Jeffrey Hyslop. However, two Democrats, Madison attorney Ed Garvey and Milwaukee state Sen. Gary George, are vying in a Sept. 8 primary to decide who will take on Thompson in the fall.

Thompson was favored by about 60 percent of the voters in head-to-head matchups with Garvey and George.

In the Senate race, 49 percent preferred Feingold and 30 percent preferred challenger Rep. Mark Neumann, a Republican. Twenty-two percent were undecided.

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Colorado’s primaries on Tuesday will feature splits in both the Democratic and Republican parties.

Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, favored to win re-election, faces opposition from conservative Bill Eggert, who has questioned whether the incumbent is a true Republican. Campbell switched from Democrat to Republican three years ago.

Hoping to chip away at the Republican majority in the Senate, Democrats may target Campbell in the fall. Dottie Lamm, wife of former Gov. Richard Lamm, is favored to win the Senate nomination but her opponent, state Rep. Gil Romero, is a tough campaigner.

Abortion is a critical issue in the Republican governor’s race. State Treasure Bill Owens is anti-abortion; opponent Tom Norton believes in abortion rights. Owens has lost ground in the polls after acknowledging that he misstated his draft record.

On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Gail Schoettler has done much of her campaigning on horseback, and is favored to beat Senate minority leader Mike Feeley. She is considered a pro-business centrist candidate; Romero is a traditional Democrat with big labor backing.

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