OHIO: Army Veteran Targets Kucinich in House Bid
Billing himself as a “decorated veteran of the war on terror,” Ed Herman (R) announced this week that he is seeking to challenge Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) in 2004.
Kucinich is currently running for president, but he does not have to give up his House seat to do so. In the likely event his quixotic White House bid is unsuccessful, Kucinich is heavily favored to win re-election to a fifth term in the House.
Herman, who is fluent in Arabic, said he interrogated dozens of al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan while serving in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps. He was recalled to active military duty after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Herman will face state Rep. Ed Trakas, who has charged that Kucinich is ignoring the district because he is distracted by his presidential ambitions, in the Republican primary.
Kucinich won re-election to the Cleveland-based seat last year with 74 percent of the vote, although it remains to be seen what, if any, impact his presidential bid may have on his Congressional race.
He may also face a primary challenge from Cuyahoga County Elections Board Chairman and former Brook Park Mayor Tom Coyne (D), who has not decided whether he will run as a Democrat or an Independent.
A Wirthlin Worldwide poll conducted for the Cuyahoga County GOP in August found that 61 percent of those polled would vote to re-elect Kucinich. — Lauren W. Whittington
16-Year State House Vet Enters 7th District Race
Yet another Republican has tossed his hat into the crowed primary ring in the open-seat 7th district race.
Former state Rep. Tim Walberg (R) announced this week that he is running for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Nick Smith (R), the Jackson Citizen Patriot reported Wednesday.
Walberg served in the state House for 16 years before being forced to retire in 1998 due to term limits. A former pastor, Walberg is now a division manager for Moody Bible Institute.
Those already running in the Aug. 3, 2004, primary are state Reps. Clark Bisbee and Gene DeRossett as well as Calhoun County Clerk Anne Norlander and former state Rep. Paul DeWeese. A number of other Republicans have also said they are considering running.
The only declared Democratic candidate is Lincoln Consolidated School District Superintendent Albert Widner, but national party strategists do not expect to compete for the GOP-leaning seat. — L.W.W.
Quigley 1st to Formally Enter Race for Boss’ Seat
Lisa Quigley (D) resigned Wednesday as chief of staff to Rep. Cal Dooley (D) and announced that she would seek to replace her former boss in Congress next year.
Quigley became the first candidate to formally enter what is likely to be a competitive primary to replace the seven-term Congressman, who announced last week that he would not seek re-election in 2004. Although Quigley will have a public announcement in October, she established a committee with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday and announced that Dooley is supporting her.
“Lisa is quite simply the best qualified and most experienced candidate to do the Valley’s business in Washington,” Dooley said in a statement. “She is one of the smartest people I know.”
Quigley, a 38-year-old Central Valley native, has worked for Dooley since he entered Congress. She was also an aide to another Central Valley Congressman, former Rep. Tony Coehlo (D).
Assemblywoman Sarah Reyes (D) and former state Sen. Jim Costa (D) are also expected to run. — Josh Kurtz
Fossella Says He May Fight City Hall in 2005
Rep. Vito Fossella (R) told the New York Post this week that he is contemplating challenging New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the 2005 GOP primary.
“I’m a city resident, and I want this city to move in the right direction,” he said. “It’s a tax hell, and that needs to be reversed rather than amplified.”
Fossella’s admission comes as a new Quinnipiac University poll conducted at the beginning of the month showed that just 38 percent of New Yorkers approve of Bloomberg’s job performance. A whopping 60 percent said they would elect someone else mayor in 2005.
Fossella, who represents a Staten Island-based district, is the second House Member to publicly acknowledge that he is exploring a run for City Hall. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) is one of many prominent Democrats looking at the race, and he has made several appearances recently outside his Brooklyn district.
Fossella, who has compiled a moderate-to-conservative record since entering Congress in a 1997 special election, could be competitive with Bloomberg in a Republican primary because he would run to the mayor’s right. But he would face a decidedly uphill battle in a general election in a city that is overwhelming Democratic.
Fossella would not have to give up his seat to run for mayor. If he wound up winning, there would likely be a competitive primary and general election to replace him.
Although Republicans have held the seat since 1980, the district generally votes Democratic in national elections, and conservative Democrats have prospered on Staten Island. Coincidentally, Bloomberg is scheduled to christen a new Staten Island Ferry — named for former Rep. and Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari (R) — in a few weeks. — J.K.
Surprise! Glickman Says He Won’t Run for Senate
Former Rep. Dan Glickman (D) said Tuesday that he will not challenge Sen. Sam Brownback (R) in 2004.
“One could never do this kind of race without a lot of background preparation,” Glickman told The Wichita Eagle. “I haven’t done those things.”
Glickman’s decision marks the second consecutive cycle he has flirted with a Senate run only to back away. In 2002, he was heavily recruited by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which conducted a poll on his behalf, but he decided against challenging Sen. Pat Roberts (R).
Brownback has held the seat since 1996 when he won a special election race to serve out the remaining two years of Sen. Bob Dole’s (R) term.
In 1998, he was easily elected to a full six-year term, taking 65 percent of the vote.
Glickman’s departure from the field makes it unlikely Democrats will seriously contest the Kansas Senate race. Some mention newly elected Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) as a candidate, but she is very unlikely to run. — Chris Cillizza