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Louisiana: Jefferson Gets Support From Officials, Unions

Election 2006

For more Election 2006 coverage, check out Roll Call’s Election Map and The Rothenberg Political Report.

Embattled Rep. William Jefferson (D) rolled out a lengthy list of endorsements Monday from local elected officials and community leaders in Hurricane Katrina-ravaged New Orleans.

Many of the leaders joined Jefferson, who faces 13 candidates in the Nov. 7 all-party primary, at a New Orleans news conference.

“These endorsements speak to the wide range of support I hold across my district,” Jefferson said in a statement. “This is a coalition of support representing all corners of the district. ... The support of these individuals shows their confidence in my ability to deliver in this district.”

The list includes three state Senators and four state Representatives, including the Congressman’s daughter, state Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock (D). All of the legislators are members of the Legislative Black Caucus.

New Orleans City Councilwoman Cynthia Willard-Lewis (D) also endorsed Jefferson.

Also endorsing the Congressman were more than a dozen ministers and numerous Democratic-aligned labor and interest groups, including the AFL-CIO, American Federation of Teachers, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the American Trial Lawyers Association.

He also has the backing of the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee and Jefferson Parish Democratic Executive Committee.

Jefferson has been the subject of a federal bribery investigation since last year. He has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing.

State Rep. Karen Carter, one of the Democrats challenging Jefferson, previously announced the backing of a few local leaders, including the president of the New Orleans City Council. She announced Monday that she was being endorsed by several law enforcement veterans.

If no candidate in the all-party primary garners more than 50 percent of the vote in November, a December runoff between the top two vote-getters will be held.
— Lauren W. Whittington

WASHINGTON

BCRA First: Libertarian Trips Millionaires’ Rule

Bruce Guthrie, a former college instructor who is the Libertarian candidate for Senate, is spending his entire life savings of $1.18 million on his quixotic campaign.

Guthrie told the Federal Election Commission on Saturday that he intended to infuse his almost-bare war chest with his own money, thereby triggering the “Millionaires’ Amendment,” according to The Seattle Times.

Guthrie said he mortgaged his home, emptied his savings account and cashed out investments to pull together the hefty sun.

Guthrie taught at Western Washington University until June.

The expenditure could allow Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) and former insurance CEO Mike McGavick (R) to accept donations from individuals above the current limit of $4,200 — once an individual candidate donates a set amount to his own race, his challengers can raise more.

McGavick loaned his campaign $2 million but did so before the Sept. 19 primary, thereby denying Cantwell and his other general election opponents the right to raise money at the higher limit allowed by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

Cantwell appealed to the Federal Election Commission to get McGavick’s contribution to count toward the Millionaires’ Amendment trigger for the general election, but the FEC ruled against her. Now it looks as if both McGavick and Cantwell can benefit from someone else’s spending.

It is unclear whose candidacy Guthrie hurts most.

Traditionally, Libertarian candidates appeal to Republican voters, but Guthrie’s platform includes opposing the Iraq War and supporting gay marriage, two issues more likely to resonate with Democrats.

Cantwell led McGavick by 10 points in a new Mason-Dixon survey released over the weekend.

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