The Clash of '98

John Kaites and Tom McGovern — John McCain's and Grant Woods' hand-picked candidates for attorney general — are duking it out like schoolboys, while the Dems' Janet Napolitano goes to school on them

As of August 24, he had heard nothing, and says he doubts he will, until after the primary.

In keeping with the remedial-level standards of this race, the Sea Isle, New Jersey, incident is very likely to pop up again in Kaites' TV commercials, during the final days of the race.

And so the campaign goes on with Tom McGovern and John Kaites flinging mashed potatoes and giving each other noogies. Meanwhile, Janet Napolitano is waiting demurely to find out whom she'll face November 3.

Napolitano has never held elective office, but her last job--Arizona U.S. Attorney--is the best credential imaginable for the seat she's seeking. She's honing her debating skills with frequent speaking engagements and even has a new, although not too different, hairstyle.

Conventional wisdom: She'd have an easier time against Kaites, partly because she's almost sure to pick up endorsements from Grant Woods and Joe Arpaio. But victory would not be assured. A Kaites-Napolitano race would likely make the Kaites-McGovern match look like a day in the sandbox.

If Napolitano's Republican opponent decides to go negative, he'll have a tub of mud to fling. Napolitano is a single woman, forced to declare her sexual identity--straight--in the daily paper recently, for fear someone will try to make it a campaign issue. Someone still may.

Count on Napolitano's opponent to make something of the fact that she was part of the legal team that represented Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in 1991.

And there's always the chance of continuing fallout from MonicaGate. That may be the GOP's best hope for snagging the attorney general seat.

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