GOP Poll: Cantwell Approval at 45 Percent in Washington State
A recent Republican poll shows Sen. Maria Cantwell (D), who is seeking re-election in 2006, with an approval rating below 50 percent.
The poll, conducted Jan. 24-26 by the GOP firm Strategic Vision, showed Cantwell’s approval rating at 45 percent, with 40 percent of the 800 Evergreen State voters surveyed disapproving of the way the freshman Senator is doing her job.
The poll had a 3-point error margin. It did not match up Cantwell with any of her potential Republican challengers.
The question was part of a larger poll focusing on opinions about the state’s protracted and controversial governor’s race, the results of which the Republican Party is still contesting.
Democrat Christine Gregoire was elected governor as a result of a hand recount after two machine counts showed her narrowly losing to former state Sen. Dino Rossi (R).
The Washington Republican Party is suing for a new election.
— Nicole Duran
With Eye on Hutchison, Bonilla Preps Senate Bid
Confirming what had long been suspected, Rep. Henry Bonilla (R) told a local radio station Tuesday that if Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) runs for governor, he will be a candidate for Senate.
“We all support Kay if she wants to run for re-election, but if she makes a decision for whatever reason to move on, I’m in,” Bonilla said.
Bonilla carries several advantages into a Senate race: He is Hispanic, a huge plus given the state’s ever-growing Latino community, and he has more than $1 million in his Congressional campaign account, all of which could be transferred to a statewide bid.
Hutchison is continuing to mull whether to vacate her seat for a primary challenge against Gov. Rick Perry (R). Though she has not publicly signaled a preference, most informed insiders expect her to return to Texas to take on the incumbent.
Such a move would create a major scramble on both sides of the aisle to replace her.
In addition to Bonilla, who has held the West Texas 23rd district since 1992, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state Attorney General Greg Abbott are mentioned as potential GOP candidates.
On the Democratic side, former Rep. Jim Turner, former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk and former state Comptroller John Sharp are seen as possible candidates.
— Chris Cillizza
Grams May Seek 2006 Rematch With Dayton
Former Sen. Rod Grams (R) said he may want another crack at Sen. Mark Dayton (D), the man who unseated him in 2000.
Grams told The Associated Press this week that he is thinking about challenging Dayton, who is a top GOP target, in 2006.
Reps. Mark Kennedy and Gil Gutknecht are also seen as potential Republican challengers, and former Rep. Vin Weber (R), a powerful Washington, D.C., lobbyist, has also been mentioned.
Grams said he will take up to two months to determine if “this pool of support is wide and if it’s deep,” according to the AP.
Grams is a former local news anchor who owns three radio stations in the Gopher State and does some consulting work for a Washington, D.C.-based firm. Dayton defeated Grams 49 percent to 43 percent in the 2000 election, outspending him by a margin of about 2-to-1.
Democrat Launches Bid to Oust Sensenbrenner
While the party committees are just beginning to recruit candidates for the 2006 cycle, one Wisconsin man has already launched a Web site to promote his long-shot candidacy in the 5th district.
Drew Pitt, who has held a variety of jobs, including substitute teacher, said he will seek the Democratic nomination for the right to challenge entrenched Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R).
Noting that a Democrat has not held the suburban Milwaukee district since 1964, Pitt writes on his campaign site: “The Republican Party does not own the 5th Congressional District and it’s not impossible for a Democrat to win this seat.”
University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee professor Bryan Kennedy (D) lost to Sensenbrenner, who was seeking a 14th term, by more than 100,000 votes in November.