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Crawford says judge has ties to Smith, GOP chairman Slade

Update in the court battle and political campaign of Bob Crawford vs. Jim Smith: Now Crawford says the judge in an appeals case has ties to Smith and GOP chairman Tom Slade. Crawford's lawyer, Karen Gievers, filed a disclosure that she had found out that Judge Marguerite H. Davis is married to J. Riley Davis, a partner with Bill Bryant in a Tallahassee law firm. Bryant is the lawyer for Slade, who devised the rotating candidacy scheme that put Smith in the agriculture race after he lost the primary for governor. Gievers did not ask Davis to disqualify herself but made the disclosure, "consistent with the ethical obligations of attorneys to be candid with the court . . ." The Republicans have succeeded with this tack already. They got trial court Judge Philip Padovano to withdraw from a case involving Gov. Lawton Chiles because Padovano's wife works for Chiles. The difference here is that Judge Davis has already ruled. The appeals court ruled in Smith's favor in the ongoing squabble over whether Smith can take public money for a second statewide race in one election year. Gievers says it's impossible to know how Judge Davis ruled because the court hasn't released its opinion.

Rodham gets familial boost

WASHINGTON _ President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton trekked across town Friday to raise $82,000 for the long-shot Senate campaign of Mrs. Clinton's brother, Hugh Rodham. Rodham, challenging GOP Sen. Connie Mack, was not at the morning fund-raiser. "He was where he felt he should be, campaigning with the people of Florida," said a spokesman for the electrical workers union that hosted the event.