OKLAHOMA: Dan Boren Reportedly Ready to Run for House
State Rep. Dan Boren (D) has decided to enter the open-seat 2nd district race, the Tulsa World reported Wednesday, making the son of former Sen. David Boren (D) the instant frontrunner to succeed Rep. Brad Carson (D), who is running for Senate.
Boren’s home and most of his state House district fall within the district lines of the neighboring 5th district, but his family name and deep roots in the area should minimize the residency issue.
Boren, 30, was first elected to the Legislature last year. His father, also a one-term former governor, served in the Senate from 1979 until 1994. Dan Boren’s grandfather, former Rep. Lyle Boren (D), represented portions of what is now the 2nd district when he served in the House from 1937 to 1947.
Former District Attorney Kaylin Free is the only announced Democratic candidate in the 2nd district race. Two other Democrats — former state Senate Majority Leader Billy Mickle and District Attorney Rob Wallace — are also seriously considering the race, and it is still unclear what effect Boren’s candidacy will have on their decisions.
State Sen. Kenneth Corn (D) is also looking at running and has said he will not be dissuaded by Boren’s candidacy, according to the World. Republicans are not expected to contest the seat.
— Lauren W. Whittington
Poe Hopes Voters Tell Lampson ‘Nevermore’
Former state District Judge Ted Poe (R) announced Tuesday that he will run against Rep. Nick Lampson (D) in the redrawn 2nd district.
Poe, who stepped down from the bench last month after 22 years, said he would make his candidacy official in the next few weeks.
The district was made roughly 8 points more Republican in the map approved by Republican state legislators in October. Lampson was first elected to the Gulf Coast district in 1996 and has won re-election easily despite the Republican lean of the seat.
Under the new map both Lampson and Rep. Gene Green (D) would live in the 2nd, although Green is likely to move to the new 29th district — a more friendly Democratic district that currently has no incumbent. Lampson has not yet announced his future political intentions.
The proposed map is at the Justice Department for preclearance under the Voting Rights Act. Democrats are appealing the map in court as well.
— Chris Cillizza
Yates Enters GOP Race In Gephardt’s District
Former state Rep. Zane Yates became the second Republican to join the race for the 3rd district seat of retiring Rep. Richard Gephardt (D).
Yates joins perennial candidate Bill Federer on the Republican side. Federer ran against Gephardt in 1998 and 2000 but never got above 42 percent. Yates held a state House seat from 1990 until 1996 when he left the state Legislature for a post as a St. Louis County family court commissioner. He is seen as one of the rising stars in the state Republican Party.
State Reps. Russ Carnahan and Joan Barry, state Sen. Steve Stoll, St. Louis Circuit Clerk Marianno Favazza, and Washington University Associate Dean Mark Smith are all in the race on the Democratic side.
Carnahan is the son of the late Gov. Mel Carnahan (D) and former Sen. Jean Carnahan (D) and is considered the early frontrunner in the race. Stoll is also running a strong campaign and has some labor backing.
Gephardt has held the seat since 1976, and no Republican has won it since 1949. Then-Vice President Al Gore would have taken 54 percent in the district in 2000.
Breaux Nixes Rumors of His Early Retirement
Sen. John Breaux (D) this week dismissed the idea that he might resign his seat if a Democrat is elected governor on Nov. 15, pledging to serve out his term but making no commitment on whether he would run in 2004.
“The result of the governor’s race would not affect my decision in any way,” Breaux told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “If I decide to retire, I intend to serve my whole term. I would not quit in the middle.”
Speculation had run rampant that if Lt. Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) defeats former Health and Human Services Department official Bobby Jindal (R) in next Saturday’s gubernatorial runoff, Breaux would retire, allowing Blanco to appoint Rep. Chris John (D) to the seat.
Most knowledgeable Democratic observers still believe a Breaux retirement is more likely than a decision to run for a fourth term. Breaux has served in Washington, D.C., for more than three decades and has given hints that now is the time to start a second career.
In the event Breaux retires, John and Rep. David Vitter (R) are the expected nominees.
Political Player Hood Booted Out by Union
In a development that could have implications for the re-election prospects of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), Jerry Hood, the powerful leader of the Alaska Teamsters, was tossed out of office this week by the union rank and file.
Hood was defeated in his bid for another term as secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 959 by Michael Kenny, a construction surveyor and union business agent. According to the Anchorage Daily News, Kenny had 1,107 votes to Hood’s 965 votes.
Kenny said Hood’s support for now-Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) in the 2002 gubernatorial election and his frequent absences from Alaska to lobby Congress to approve drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge contributed to his defeat.
Hood had become a major political figure in Alaska and one of President Bush’s favorite union leaders in the country. He became a Republican last year to protest Democrats’ opposition to ANWR drilling, and he was one of two dozen Republicans Murkowski considered appointing to the Senate after he was elected governor. Frank Murkowski eventually selected his daughter for the Senate vacancy.
Hood considered challenging Lisa Murkowski in the 2004 GOP Senate primary but bowed out in the name of party unity. He told the Anchorage paper that his defeat — which he also attributed to his links to Frank Murkowski — provides “a lesson for Lisa,” given the fact that her father is politically unpopular in the state right now.
Lisa Murkowski faces a tough race for a full term against former Gov. Tony Knowles (D).
But a former Anchorage trucker told the newspaper that Hood has no one but himself to blame for the loss.
“I think the reason he lost was he was too interested in Jerry Hood and politics,” the former trucker, Leroy Barr, said. “Teamsters have always been Democratic and when he thought he had a chance to go to Washington to replace Murkowski, all of a sudden he was a Republican.”
— Josh Kurtz
Dreier Backs Lungren In 3rd District Primary
Rep. David Dreier (R), chairman of the Rules Committee, on Wednesday endorsed former California Attorney General Dan Lungren in the GOP primary for the open 3rd district seat now held by retiring Rep. Doug Ose (R).
“Dan Lungren will come to Congress with a wealth of experience and accomplishments,” Dreier said in a statement. “Those of us who served with him remember his tough, fiscal conservatism, and his command of the issues. The people of the 3rd Congressional district will be well-served by having a representative who will hit the ground running.”
Lungren was first elected to Congress in 1978, serving five terms before his appointment by then-Gov. George Deukmejian (R) to fill the unexpired treasurer’s term of the late Jesse Unruh (R). Lungren and his family moved to Sacramento, but the Democratic majority in the state Legislature blocked his confirmation, citing his fiscal conservatism.
Two years later, Lungren was elected California attorney general, where he served for eight years before losing a race for governor in 1998.
Lungren is vying with state Sen. Rico Oller (R) in the race to succeed Ose in the Republican-leaning, Sacramento-area district.
Dreier, who has served in Congress since 1980, is a powerful figure in state GOP circles, having served as co-chairman of Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R) recent campaign and chairman of his transition committee.