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CL's Primary Election Circus

Come one, come all to our political endorsements

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Parents, children and dead people: Mark your calendars! On Aug. 20, the most important primary in a generation comes to a polling place near you. Step right up and try your luck. You'll be shocked by the hypocrisy! Appalled at the pandering! And, perhaps, even inspired by an occasional feat of courage and intelligence!

There's no reason to head for Las Vegas this vacation season: Spend your days-off watching attack ads, wagering on election results and trotting off on Aug. 20 to the big event.

Oh, OK. Some of you aren't as hot about politics as the nerds who slave away in the Policy Wonk Wing of CL's sprawling complex. But, by God, you'll still find this guide entertaining. Here's why:

The stakes are mighty high. A tight race in Georgia could shift control of the U.S. Senate. New district lines across the country are certain to lead to high turnover in the House, where the Democrat-Republican split is the tightest it's been in generations. And almost all state politicians, including the governor and state legislators, are up for re-election.

Technically you won't elect anyone Aug. 20, but in practical terms, you'll be making the final decision on most legislative contests. That's because congressional, state House and state Senate districts are drawn to favor one party or another, so the primary winner is likely to win the big shebang in November.

This is the first year the Loaf has run endorsements. Our crack team of philosophers, scientists and lunatics interviewed most leading candidates in the races for which we wrote endorsements. Only three candidates -- Saxby Chambliss, Linda Schrenko and Cynthia McKinney -- felt CL readers weren't important enough to hear their views.

We researched the candidates' records, interviewed our snitches and thought about rifling through their garbage. We considered their personalities and whether they were the right fit for the job. We also took into account which candidates would most help parties in November's General Election. Then, we came up with the most thorough and well-reasoned endorsements ever written in the English language.

Our strongman machine serves as your quick-and-easy guide to our recommendations. The higher the mugshot, the more we liked that candidate. Only one candidate -- congressional hopeful David Worley (below) -- got our "bell-ringing endorsement"; that makes him a real he-man.

We wrote endorsement essays for seven key primary races. They include nomination contests for three statewide offices -- governor, U.S. senator and school superintendent -- as well as contested primaries in four metro congressional districts.

Although a story on page 47 covers other races, we didn't endorse in most state and local contests. With around 70 legislative districts in the metro area and a slew of other elections, we didn't feel we could do a fair job with all of them. For basic information and links on other races, check out the nonpartisan www.dnet.org (a League of Women Voters website), draw on the opinions of advocacy groups you like and call the candidates yourself to figure out if they're smart, stupid or just plain crazy.

Polls are open 7 a.m.- 7 p.m., Aug. 20. Bring an ID. Runoffs will be Sept. 10. If you haven't registered for the primary, it's too late, but you can register for the General Election until Oct. 7. Do it today!

Now, the endorsements:

Governor
Perdue: The only sensible GOP choice to take on Barnes

U.S. Senate
Irvin: A vote for Republicans' right to vote

4th Congressional District
Majette: The better of two lessers

7th Congressional District
Barr: A civil liberties champion

11th Congressional District
Darden: Old hand beats pretender

13th Congressional District
Worley: The class in a classy field

State school superintendent
Martin and Cox, you know, for kids

State, county races



Kevin Griffis, Ken Edelstein and John Sugg researched and wrote most endorsements. Scott Henry, Ari Paul, Michael Wall and other staffers contributed. Illustrations by Steve Sweny.

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