GEORGIA: Haines Uses ‘L’ Word in Blog Ad for 12th District
While conventional wisdom would argue that to be labeled a “liberal” in the South is in most cases political suicide, 12th district Democratic candidate Doug Haines has apparently decided to challenge that notion.
In a Blogspot ad for Haines’ campaign, which appeared last week on left-leaning blogs such as www.dailykos.com, the candidate wholeheartedly embraces the label.
One screen flashes “Doug Haines = Liberal” while the next screen says “Damn Straight.”
The text under the ad reads: “Doug Haines wants to take our fight to Congress. This race in GA-12 is bigger than just one seat, it is about taking the House back from a radical right-wing majority. Help a real progressive Democrat fight for us.”
While a Haines campaign consultant conceded that embracing the liberal label would not work in many districts across the South, he noted the message plays to the “tremendous amount” of Democratic energy in the district.
“I don’t think that that label in that district is one that’s going to be antithetical to getting a win,” said Bob Doyle, a consultant to Haines’ campaign.
A campaign spokesman further reasoned that because Republicans often attach the liberal label to their opponents, Haines will be one step ahead of freshman Rep. Max Burns (R) if he is the eventual nominee.
“If we’re going to be defined as liberal, we’re going to be defined under our definition,”said Haines’ spokesman Martin Matheny, adding that the strategy is to “show the voters that liberal is not a dirty word.”
Haines, a former state Senator, is vying in the July 20 primary for the right to face Burns. The district heavily favors Democrats and party leaders have targeted Burns for defeat this cycle.
Haines’ leading primary opponent, Athens-Clarke County Commissioner John Barrow (D), also has been advertising on weblogs, including www.dailykos.com.
A poll recently released by Haines’ campaign showed him leading Barrow in the primary by 8 percentage points and leading Burns in the general by 14 points.
Barrow’s campaign has charged that the poll was designed and taken in a manner that misled potential supporters. A spokesman for the Haines campaign told the Augusta Chronicle the questions were “fairly straightforward” but declined to release the exact wording of those used in the survey.
— Lauren W. Whittington
U.S. Chamber Endorses Brown, Swipes at Bard
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed ophthalmologist Melissa Brown’s (R) Congressional bid Monday, as she seeks to win the seat of Rep. Joe Hoeffel (D). Hoeffel is vacating the 13th district, which encompasses northern Philadelphia and much of Montgomery County to run for Senate.
“We are very excited about electing Melissa Brown to Congress,” said Sean Heather, executive director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who made the endorsements at a news conference in the district.
Brown, who has run twice before in the 13th district, faces state Rep. Ellen Bard and Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Al Taubenberger in the April 27 primary.
In endorsing Brown, Heather also took a swipe at Bard, Brown’s leading opponent in the nomination fight.
Bard recently said she does not favor making President Bush’s tax cuts permanent, while Brown supports their permanent extension.
“Recent comments from Melissa’s opponent Ellen Bard are extremely troubling and make the U.S. Chamber’s involvement all the more crucial,” Heather said.
Did Group Boo Lawyer, Or the Things He Said?
GOP candidates in the 5th district went another round over debates and taxes recently — a recurring theme in their primary battle.
Attorney and businessman Jim Zupancic has dogged state Sen. Jackie Winters for backing Measure 30 — the state Legislature’s failed attempt to shore up the state budget through a major tax increase — and for refusing to defend her vote publicly.
But in the latest debate, it was Zupancic who left chided, according to Winters’ camp.
After the two met at the 40th annual Dorchester Conference — a confab of GOP faithful started by former Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) — Winters circulated a letter from delegate Rolf Glerum saying that Zupancic owed Winters and the group an apology for violating the group’s rules.
Candidates were supposed to introduce themselves to the assembled activists and leave speeches for the stump, but Zupancic did not.
“You gave a passing nod to the suggested subject, then you launched into a diatribe against your opponent,” Glerum wrote. “It was apparent that you had a prepared speech and by God, you were going to give it come hell or high water, no matter what the ‘rules’ were.”
Zupancic campaign manager Devon Lyon said it did not exactly go down that way.
“He didn’t go out to disobey the rules and ruffle feathers,” Lyon said. Rather Zupancic was not aware of the “rules” until he was on stage, at which point it was too late to divert from his prepared remarks, which set out to contrast his positions with Winters’.
As for the booing that the Winters’ campaign said was directed at Zupancic, even a local newspaper said it was not clear who was being booed, Lyon said.
“He was booed, but it was unclear whether people in the audience were displeased with Winters — or with Zupancic’s attack on her during what was supposed to have been introductory remarks about his own candidacy,” the Portland Statesman Journal reported.
Lyon said that Glerum is a Winters supporter. Winters told the Statesman Journal that Zupancic cannot talk about Measure 30 forever.
The winner of the May 18 primary will face Rep. Darlene Hooley (D) in November.
— Nicole Duran
Cheney Helps Fortify Bunning’s Re-election
Vice President Cheney raised $250,000 for the re-election campaign of Sen. Jim Bunning (R) Friday night.
“This November I am confident the people of Kentucky are going to send [Bunning] back for a second term,” Cheney said at the Florence, Ky., event.
Bunning is one of a handful of Republican incumbents considered vulnerable in 2004.
He won the open seat of former Sen. Wendell Ford (D) by less than 7,000 votes over then-Rep. Scotty Baesler (D).
In order to solidify himself, Bunning had banked roughly $3.2 million at the end of 2003.
Democrats struggled to recruit a top-tier candidate following the political demise of former Gov. Paul Patton (D), who was long expected to take on Bunning in 2004.
Patton left office in disgrace after it was revealed he had carried on an extramarital affair with a state employee.
Democrats finally settled on state Sen. Dan Mongiardo as their preferred nominee. Mongiardo had a less than stellar fundraising debut, bringing in $300,000 in the final three months of 2003 — $200,000 of that total came from his own pocket.
— Chris Cillizza
Thompson, 2 Members Raise $60,000 for Jindal
Former Health and Human Services Department official Bobby Jindal (R) got a major boost in his nascent campaign for the 1st district open seat last week from his former boss and two current Louisiana House Members.
HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson and Louisiana Reps. Jim McCrery and David Vitter helped raise $60,000 for Jindal’s campaign.
Jindal faces a Republican primary challenge from state Rep. Steve Scalise and state Sen. Tom Schedler.
No serious Democrats are expected to make the race.
Jindal joined the contest as its frontrunner, due to his near miss runoff loss to Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) last November. In that race, Jindal carried the suburban New Orleans district handily.
Vitter is vacating the district he has held since 1999 to run for the state’s open Senate seat.
Foe Says Sensenbrenner Insensitive, Misguided
Democratic challenger Gary Kohlenberg last week assailed Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s (R) record on taxes and criticized him for being mean-spirited to boot.
The Oconomowoc mayor, who faces political newcomer Bryan Kennedy in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, says Sensenbrenner is no tax hero, despite what one anti-tax organization says.
In February, Sensenbrenner’s voting record on taxes and adherence to the group’s pledge to fight raising certain taxes earned him the Americans for Tax Reform’s “taxpayer hero” award.
“Taxpayer hero? Taxpayer zero is more appropriate,” Kohlenberg declared in a statement. “The Congressman is busy filling his mantle with silly awards as he signs legislation that passes the buck to the next generation. … Today’s deficit is tomorrow’s tax.”
Kohlenberg then attacked Sensenbrenner for comments the Congressman made in The New York Times in response to House passage of the so-called cheeseburger bill, which would prohibit consumers from suing fast-food chains for making them obese.
“This bill says, ‘Don’t run off and file a lawsuit if you are fat.’ It says, ‘Look in the mirror because you’re the one to blame,” the Times quoted Sensenbrenner as saying last week.
“The Congressman’s interpersonal skills have never been his strong suit,” Kohlenberg said. “His comments on Wednesday were cruel and malicious. He should apologize. … Being on a strict ‘foot in mouth’ diet for years has made him a bit ornery.”
Sensenbrenner declined to comment on either issue.
Independent Enters 1st District House Race
In the 1st district, Rep. Paul Ryan (R) has drawn another challenger — Janesville businessman Norman Aulabaugh, an Independent.
Chet Bell (D) and George Meyers, the Libertarian nominee in 2002, are also in the race.
“I used to think I was a Republican until George Bush got elected,” Aulabaugh told The Janesville Gazette.
He is disappointed in Ryan for not doing more to shore up Social Security.
He says he will run as an Independent to stay above the partisan fray and does not intend to spend a lot of money.
“I believe I can get elected without spending a million dollars,” the paper quoted him as saying. “I’m going to win this election one vote at a time.”
Knowles Selling His Deli to Focus on Senate Race
Senate hopeful Tony Knowles (D) is so focused on his race against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) that he has sold the restaurant he has owned for almost 30 years.
The former governor and his wife had co-owned the Anchorage restaurant, the Downtown Deli and Cafe, with another couple, Dave and Fran Rose, since 1976, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
“There are a lot of things that are happening in our lives and we decided to sell it,” Fran Rose told the paper.
The new owner promised to maintain the status quo so locals should still be able to get their fix of reindeer stew and Alaskan salmon at the ideally situated eatery in downtown.
Interstate Billboard Bids Wilson a Fond Farewell
The first political ad of the 2004 1st district House race (other than a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ad last summer aimed at the incumbent) was launched by one of the long-shot Democratic candidates.
Miles Nelson has bought a huge billboard at the interchange of Interstates 25 and 40 just north of downtown Albuquerque that says, “Hello Miles, Goodbye Heather.”
Heather is Rep. Heather Wilson (R), whom Democrats have been desperate to defeat since she first won a special election in 1998.
Miles, an emergency room physician, is squaring off in the June 1 Democratic primary against state Senate President Pro Tem Richard Romero, the frontrunner, and retired DEA Agent Eli Chavez.
He told a New Mexico political Web site that the billboard ad is the first of three he’ll pay for along the stretch of highway known as “the Big I.”
In a related development, KOB-TV, in an analysis of Romero’s record in the Senate, has determined that he paid far more attention to criminal justice, military and veterans’ issues in the past two sessions of the Legislature than he ever had previously.
“I chose those because I think the public is demanding action on many of those issues,” said Romero, an educator who has frequently worked education legislation in Santa Fe.
But Republican leaders think Romero’s interest in other issues is related to the Congressional campaign. He was the Democratic nominee against Wilson in 2002.
“It’s interesting because I would have never pegged Romero as a champion of veterans up until this point,” New Mexico GOP Chairwoman Ramsay Gorham told the TV station.
— Josh Kurtz
Kline Foe Blasts His Low Score From Green Group
One of Rep. John Kline’s (R) Democratic challengers is using the recently released League of Conservation Voters’ score card against him.
Burnsville City Councilwoman Teresa Daly (D) promised to “protect Minnesota’s waters and wildlife habitats” if elected.
“Minnesota’s waters and environment are being neglected by John Kline in Congress,” she charged. “Supporting clean water and air only 5 percent of the time puts our families at risk every day,” she said, alluding to his score from the environmental group.
Daly faces fellow Democrat Peter Idusogie in the July 20 primary for the right to take on Kline, a freshman, in November.
Provocateur Kimble Won’t Be on Nov. Ballot
One little-noticed aspect of the March 2 state primaries: The apparent end of John Kimble’s colorful political career.
Kimble, a self-described behavioral scientist and expert on wolves, was the four-time Republican nominee against Rep. Al Wynn (D) in the heavily Democratic district. He finished third in the GOP primary to John McKinnis II, a political neophyte who runs a technology company.
While never taking more than 21 percent against Wynn, Kimble nevertheless gained national attention.
In 1996, he offered to pose nude for Playgirl magazine as a way to raise money for his campaign. The magazine politely refused the offer.
In 2000, Kimble persuaded Wynn’s ex-wife to campaign for him. She cut a robo-call message for Kimble accusing her ex-husband — who had left her for a white woman — of showing disrespect toward black women.
But despite these antics, Kimble is now urging his supporters to back Wynn in November. In a message on his Web site, Kimble calls the Congressman “a good man.”