State, National GOP Fight Over Attack Utah Mailer
The Utah Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee are fighting over mailers supporting the Congressional candidacy of former state Rep. John Swallow (R), with the state party disavowing controversial campaign literature and refusing to mail the last two pieces, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday.
“We were holding our noses anyway. But that went too far,” state GOP Chairman Joe Cannon, brother of Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah), told the paper. “I and many others thought these were over the top.”
Cannon was referring to items chastising Rep. Jim Matheson (D) for supporting some Republican initiatives and the general negative tone of other mailers.
But the NRCC has also declined to take ownership for the mailers, and it appears the national committee and state party are caught in a game of internal finger-pointing.
The Utah Democratic Party is set to file a Federal Election Commission complaint alleging illegal coordination by the Swallow campaign, the state Republicans and the NRCC in the hotly contested 2nd district race, according to the paper.
Utah Democrats point out that all three used the same direct-mail company as proof of coordination outlawed by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.
The NRCC has denied responsibility for the mailers in question.
Matheson and Swallow are in a furious rematch of their 2002 contest, which Matheson won by just 1,600 votes. Polls have shown Matheson with a substantial lead, but the election is expected to close in the final days given the Republicans’ overwhelming strength throughout the Beehive State.
— Nicole Duran
Wilson, Romero Mellow; New Poll Out Sunday
After weeks of mudslinging, Rep. Heather Wilson (R) and her Democratic challenger, state Senate President Pro Tem Richard Romero, will air only positive spots in the final days of the campaign.
According to the Albuquerque Tribune, Wilson, who has touted her independence throughout her political career, has begun airing a spot featuring Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and the president of the New Mexico Fraternal Order of Police.
Romero, who finished 10 points behind Wilson in 2002 but is running closer this time, speaks to the camera in his final ad, reminding voters of his earlier career as a teacher and public school administrator.
“When you’ve been a teacher, you know that every day is an opportunity to make a difference,” Romero says.
While the principals have gone positive, the two Congressional campaign committees appear likely to remain on the air with harsher attack spots, the newspaper reported.
Wilson led Romero by just 1 point in the Albuquerque-based 1st district at the beginning of the month. A new independent poll is expected to be published in Sunday’s Albuquerque Journal.
— Josh Kurtz
Man Files FEC Charge Against Abercrombie
A Honolulu resident has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission charging the re-election campaign of Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D) with accepting illegal donations.
Sam Slom, the president of Small Business Hawaii who says he filed the complaint last week, charged that Abercrombie has accepted donations from at least one felon and others who have violated Hawaii’s state election laws.
Furthermore, he says Abercrombie contributors funneled money to the seven-term Congressman through a third party to get around individual contribution limits.
Slom notes the contribution of Michael Matsumoto, a Hawaiian who was previously fined more than $300,000 by the Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission and admitted to felony money laundering charges.
“It’s baseless — a last-minute rock thrown,” said Mike Slackman, Abercrombie’s campaign spokesman.
Abercrombie is expected to coast to a ninth term next week.
Granny D Reaches End of (Campaign) Trail
Granny D, formerly Doris Haddock, the clean-government advocate who is challenging Sen. Judd Gregg (R) in a symbolic campaign in the Granite State, is expected to complete her 230-mile walk across the state today.
The 94-year-old activist who once walked across the country to support campaign finance reform took a much shorter stroll to promote her uphill Senate candidacy.
She began her walk along New Hampshire’s Old Post Road Route 3 on Aug. 12.
Haddock has trailed Gregg badly in both the polls and fundraising.
Democrats Hope Paper’s Endorsement Boosts Daly
In a race that Democrats continue to watch with a glimmer of hope, The Minneapolis Star Tribune, the state’s largest newspaper, has endorsed Teresa Daly (D) in her bid to unseat Rep. John Kline (R) in the 2nd district.
Saying that Kline is a natural Congressman, the paper concluded that he is “more a messenger on national Republican orthodoxy than an advocate for Minnesotans.”
“Teresa Daly does a better job on that front, and we endorse her.”
Kline remains the frontrunner, but Democrats are still optimistic about the Burnsville city councilwoman’s chances of unseating the freshman Congressman.
McCain Backs Long-Shot GOP House Contender
The most independent Republican of them all has gotten involved in the race in a state that values its Independents.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has endorsed fellow veteran Greg Parke (R) in Parke’s uphill battle to unseat Rep. Bernie Sanders (I).
Parke is a 22-year Air Force veteran but trails Sanders badly in the Green Mountain State.
Cafaro Aide Departs After Snooping Incident
The spokesman for shopping mall heiress Capri Cafaro (D) left the 26-year-old’s campaign last week amid allegations that he provided video surveillance of Rep. Steve LaTourette (R) to a local television station.
LaTourette is estranged from his wife and has reportedly been dating his former chief of staff, who is now a lobbyist. Their relationship has been the source of conflict-of-interest charges by the Cafaro campaign and state Democrats, who have asked the Justice Department to investigate the relationship and whether any impropriety has occurred.
The video showed LaTourette leaving the lobbyist’s house and riding in her car, the News-Herald of Northeast Ohio reported.
Shortly thereafter, Cafaro replaced spokesman Mike Cook with Vic Rubenstein, though her campaign declined to say whether Cook was fired because of the incident.
Cafaro’s campaign maintains it had nothing to do with the acquisition of the tape, nor with its release to the television station.
Cafaro hopes her union support, personal wealth and LaTourette’s personal woes will prompt voters to dump the 10-year veteran.