GOP moves to rein in its rebels

 

Two years ago, Barbara Cubin, a first-time candidate for the House of Representatives, stocked sporting goods stores across Wyoming with pamphlets describing her opposition to the "Clinton-Babbitt War on the West." In Idaho, another first-time candidate, Helen Chenoweth, held a pretend endangered salmon bake to show her scorn for the Endangered Species Act. Now, as they begin their bids for re-election, these feisty first-termers are hearing a new message from their national party: Start looking green.

In mid-May, a memo went to each Republican candidate for the House from Rep. Bill Paxon of New York, coordinator of the GOP's election drive for Congress. It urged the injection of a green vision into their campaigns: "Hold a press conference and issue a press release on the importance of a cleaner, safer, healthier environment for future generations. Ask families and children to appear with you at your press conference. Remember, Republicans are saving the environment for them."

While Paxon's advice may be taken by Republican House candidates elsewhere in the country, neither Cubin nor Chenoweth would comment on whether the directive will re-focus their campaigns. But Met Johnson, founder of the Western States' Coalition, a "wise-use" organization of county, state and federal legislators that supports the two representatives, says the charge to overturn laws controlling public lands has not changed. "I do speak for the rural areas in the West," says Johnson. "And I've heard no one who's changed their mind."

Cubin and Chenoweth's Democratic opponents disagree. Pete Maxfield, one of two candidates vying for the chance to defeat Cubin, says people in Wyoming "didn't expect the extremism on public lands." Ted Sullivan, spokesman for Dan Williams, Chenoweth's challenger, says that although Idaho is a resource-based state, Idahoans are extremely concerned about Chenoweth's attempts to give public lands to the states. As proof of Chenoweth's weakness, he points to the May 28 Republican primary: Chenoweth's rival, William Levinger, got 32 percent of the vote, even though he spent part of his campaign in a mental hospital (HCN, 5/13/96).

But Democrats in both states may not be able to capitalize on the incumbents' possible vulnerabilities. According to Stephanie Kessler of the Wyoming Outdoor Council, Pete Maxfield has alienated labor, trial lawyers, environmentalists and "most of the Democratic party constituencies' during his time in the state Senate. His Democratic rival, Casper insurance salesman Worth Christie, has never held an office before, although he has run for state legislator both as a Democrat and a Republican. And in Idaho, Williams has such little name and face recognition he has been called the ghost candidate.

High Country News Classifieds
  • NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
    All positions available: Sales Representative, Accountant and Administrative Assistant. As part of our expansion program, our University is looking for part time work from home...
  • COMMUNICATIONS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Position Title: Communications Associate Director Location: Flexible within the Western U.S., Durango, CO preferred Position reports to: Senior Communications Director The Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF)...
  • HISTORIC HOTEL & CAFE
    For Sale, 600k, Centennial Wyoming, 6 suites plus 2 bed, 2 bath apartment. www.themountainviewhotel.com Make this your home or buy a turn key hotel [email protected]
  • MAJOR GIFTS OFFICER
    High Country News, an award-winning news organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Major Gifts Officer to join our...
  • RUBY, ARIZONA CARETAKER
    S. Az ghost town seeking full-time caretaker. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • VICE PRESIDENT, LANDSCAPE CONSERVATION
    Basic Summary: The Vice President for Landscape Conservation is based in the Washington, D.C., headquarters and oversees Defenders' work to promote landscape-scale wildlife conservation, focusing...
  • BRISTOL BAY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Seeking a program director responsible for developing and implementing all aspects of the Alaska Chapter's priority strategy for conservation in the Bristol Bay region of...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The National Bighorn Sheep Center is looking for an Executive Director to take us forward into the new decade with continued strong leadership and vision:...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Powder Basin Watershed Council, based in Baker City, Oregon, seeks a new Executive Director with a passion for rural communities, water, and working lands....
  • CLEAN ENERGY PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Type: Permanent, fulltime Reports to: Executive Director Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state and out-of-state required Compensation (beginning): $44,000 to 46,500/yr., DOE plus excellent benefits...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Powder River Basin Resource Council, a progressive non-profit conservation organization based in Sheridan, Wyoming, seeks an Executive Director, preferably with grassroots organizing experience, excellent communication...
  • ADOBE HOME
    Passive solar adobe home in high desert of central New Mexico. Located on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition, based in Ely, Nevada is looking for a new executive director to replace the long-time executive director who is retiring at...
  • STEVE HARRIS, EXPERIENCED PUBLIC LANDS/ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY
    Comment Letters - Admin Appeals - Federal & State Litigation - FOIA -
  • LISA MACKEY PHOTOGRAPHY
    Fine Art Gicle Printing. Photo papers, fine art papers, canvas. Widths up to 44". Art printing by an artist.
  • LOG HOME IN THE GILA WILDERNESS
    Beautiful hand built log home in the heart of the Gila Wilderness on five acres. Please email for PDF of pictures and a full description.
  • CARETAKER
    2.0 acre homestead needing year-round caretaker in NE Oregon. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • SEEKING PROPERTY FOR BISON HERD
    Seeking additional properties for a herd of 1,000 AUM minimum. Interested in partnering with landowners looking to engage in commercial and/or conservation bison ranching. Location...
  • COPPER STAIN: ASARCO'S LEGACY IN EL PASO
    Tales from scores of ex-employees unearth the human costs of an economy that runs on copper.
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.