St. Petersburg Times Online: Election 2000
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Election briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 18, 2000

Poll: Americans want election over

WASHINGTON -- A majority of Americans believe it is more important that the presidential election be wrapped up in a week than for George W. Bush and Al Gore to have a chance to make their cases in court, a new ABC News-Washington Post poll shows.

At the same time, about an equal number, 56 percent, want Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris to wait for the results of hand recounts of ballots in some counties before certifying the state's presidential vote -- as she intended to do on Saturday. Florida's Supreme Court ruled Friday that Harris may not certify the results until further notice from the court.

The public, however, remains divided on who should be president, with 44 percent saying Gore, 44 percent choosing Bush and 10 percent opting for neither, the poll shows. The poll of 610 adults was conducted Thursday and has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Gore wins New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Al Gore won a 481-vote squeaker Friday in New Mexico, the closest presidential race in the country outside of Florida. Gore pocketed the state's five electoral votes.

Counties sent complete, unofficial results to the secretary of state. The returns will be made official when the state canvassing board meets Nov. 28.

Gore had 286,558 votes and George W. Bush had 286,077 votes.

The Tao of Chad

Hanging chads. Swinging chads. Pregnant chads. Spurred by the word's sudden leap into our lexicon, the Palm Beach Post scoured the nation, looking for someone to speak on chad's behalf. After an exhaustive nationwide telephone directory search (which lasted, oh, about two minutes), they found: Chad Chad. First name, Chad. Last name, Chad.


Chad Chad is a friendly, funny "thirtysomething" fellow who lives in San Leandro, Calif. He is an executive producer for On the Spot, a TV talk show broadcast in the San Francisco Bay area. For the record, Chad Chad is not his real name. It's Chad Glen. Ironically, he put Chad Chad in the phone book so folks would not contact him.

"I figured that if I met someone who wanted to call me, I could just say, "Just stutter my name, Chad-Chad, and look for that in the book," he says. "It's cheaper than having an unlisted number."

Chad says he wasn't actually born Chad. He was Glen Scillian, but decided the last name was too long and too hard to pronounce for someone going into television.

"So I changed it to Glen, and gave myself the first name Chad," he said. "I was thinking of using my middle name, Mark. But my friends said, "No! You look like a Chad in a soap opera!' "

And that's a compliment?

"It was at the time. Now, I'm nothing more than a discarded hole. An anonymous paper slug," Chad says.

A lieutenant governor waits

AUSTIN, Texas -- When the networks mistakenly called the presidential election for Gov. George W. Bush a seeming lifetime ago, the crowd of friends and family members inside the state capitol office of Lt. Gov. Rick Perry erupted in hugs and cheers. They were happy for Bush, but mostly for Perry, who would now be Texas governor.

Now, Perry waits with the nation to learn who the next president will be. He has even switched off the television in his office to avoid the breathless updates from Florida.

"I don't rise and fall with the hourly reports," Perry told the New York Times between meetings, putting forward a good impression of a man unconcerned with it all. "It is an interesting time, to say the least."

The prevailing local wisdom is that Bush eventually will go to Washington, leaving Perry as governor.

Perry, a West Texas farmer and rancher who was a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1985 to 1990 and was agriculture commissioner from 1991 to 1998, has spent the past week professing his nonchalance about his role in the greater drama, yet he has sent out signals of his potential agenda as governor. In a Thursday morning address to the Texas Municipal League, Perry ticked off a list of priorities, like improving higher education and unclogging the state's traffic problems. He also joked about his own uncertain fate.

"Now we know that this election, and my position, will not be determined by either George Bush or Al Gore but some guy we like to call Hanging Chad," he said.

Wax likeness put on hold

CLERMONT -- A wall at the House of Presidents Museum is noticeably incomplete.

There, beside grinning wax-sculpted likenesses of Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, is a wooden chair with a sign reading, "43rd President?"

If this year's election were typical -- and a winner in the race between George W. Bush and Al Gore was known soon after the polls closed -- museum owner John Zweifel would have already ordered the parts needed to build a likeness of the president-elect.

As it is, he will have to wait days or weeks to put in a call for the Bush- or Gore-like head and hands, which will then be attached to a suited mannequin.

The museum, which also features a meticulously accurate 50-foot miniature White House, remains decorated President Clinton-style -- another break from tradition.

Had a winner been decided on election night, Zweifel would have started work on the personal decor of the president-to-be's Oval Office.

Men try to sell voting machine

LAKE WORTH -- A stolen Palm Beach County voting machine was recovered Thursday by Florida law enforcement officers after two men tried to auction it on eBay.

Two Lake Worth men, Mark Bruce Richter, 41, and Steven Robert Solomon, 43, were charged with unlawful possession of a voting machine and dealing in stolen property, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said.

Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement when she heard there was an ad on eBay advertising a voting machine -- complete with the infamous butterfly ballot -- for $2,000.

FDLE agents sent an e-mail to the advertiser and were given a phone number to call. The FDLE then began undercover telephone negotiations with Richter, in which he tried to up the price to $20,000. Officers arranged a meeting and arrested the two men Thursday.

Officers say the machine was taken on Nov. 9 from the clubhouse of Winston Trails, a golf community in Lake Worth in Palm Beach County, where it had been stored after election night.

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