Dem Endorsement "Fixed", Weygand Says (posted April 2, 2000)

Appearing on the April 2 WJAR-TV show "10 News Conference," Congressman Robert Weygand claimed that the Democratic endorsement for U.S. Senate, which is expected to go to his rival Richard Licht on April 3, is "fixed" and has turned his party into the "party of the insiders".

Asked about the likely endorsement of Licht, Weygand complained that the endorsement had been unilaterally moved up from its traditional point at the end of June to the first week of April and his supporters removed from the party executive committee. "They purged people from the executive board of the Democratic party that were my supporters just in the last month," Weygand said. "They took those people off and they replaced them with some of their friends. Richard Licht didn't say anything about that."

Weygand also noted that political pressures were brought to bear on individuals who supported him. "We received a lot of word from people that they were pressured about the job prospects," Weygand reported.

The skirmish between Weygand and Licht over the party endorsement marks the first of what is likely to be a contentious debate between the two rivals. Two weeks ago, Weygand received the endorsement of the AFL-CIO.

The Democratic primary for U.S. Senate is scheduled for September 12.