The Austin Chronicle

Page Two

By Audrey Duff, October 18, 1996, Columns

With the start of early voting in Travis County on October 16, the 1996 General Elections have officially begun. And for some candidates, who have been hitting the neighborhoods and chamber talk circuit since the primaries last March, the civility is wearing thin. Witness the accusations of political mud-slinging between D.A. candidates Ronnie Earle and Shane Phelps, behind-the-scenes maneuverings by the religious right in the State Board of Education races, or the refusal of U.S. Rep. candidate Ron Paul to meet with opponent Charles "Lefty" Morris because, his PR officer says, Morriss called Paul a Nazi. Ahh, so many races, so little time.

Last issue we kicked off our campaign coverage with a story on the District 10 State Board of Education race, "Right--Wing Revolution," by Roseana Auten, and a brand new Election Board on the Chronicle web site, at
/election//election/.The web site includes a list of polling places for early voting, links to the web sites of political candidates, state and county election divisions, and links to your favorite partisan sites.

This week we continue our coverage with stories on two Travis County races: the District Attorney's and Sheriff's offices. Next week we will serve up stories on three state and federal races: Phil Gramm's U.S. Senate seat, Lloyd Doggett's U.S. Representative District 10 seat, and the campaign for Railroad Commissioner between Republican Carol Keeton-Rylander and Democrat Hector Uribe. And, just in time to show us that the idea of a three, or maybe even a four-party system is not dead, the Natural Law Party comes along to spice up all these races. We'll report on the "less-stress" party phenomenon next week as well.

The Chronicle will offer its endorsements in next week's issue. Early polling ends November 1 and election day is Tuesday, November 5. Happy voting.

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