Report: Hafer Will Run Against Murphy in Pennsylvania ’06 Race
Former state Treasurer Barbara Hafer (D) has decided to challenge Rep. Tim Murphy (R) next year, the Web site PoliticsPA.com reported Wednesday.
Hafer, a Republican-turned-Democrat who also once served as state auditor general, is expected to make a formal announcement closer to Labor Day.
Murphy was first elected to Congress in 2002 and has never faced a competitive challenge in the Western Pennsylvania seat. President Bush won 54 percent of the vote in the 18th in 2004.
Hafer could get considerable support from EMILY’s List, which was set to back her 2006 Senate bid before she deferred to state Treasurer Bob Casey Jr. (D) and opted out of the race.
— Lauren W. Whittington
Moderate to Challenge Doolittle in Primary
A moderate Republican this week announced his intention to challenge eight-term Rep. John Doolittle in next June’s GOP primary.
“It is our contention [Doolittle] is out of touch with the district and the people here,” Auburn Vice Mayor Mike Holmes (R) said during his announcement speech on the steps of Auburn’s court house, according to the Sacramento Bee.
A 65-year-old retired Navy officer, Holmes described himself as a fiscal conservative with moderate views on social issues. He said he supports abortion rights and more government funding for stem-cell research and also believes that U.S. troops should withdraw from Iraq soon.
Richard Robinson, Doolittle’s chief of staff, told the Bee that Holmes sounds more like a Democrat than a Republican.
“It sounds like he may be running in the wrong primary,” Robinson said.
This is not the first time that the Holmes and Doolittle forces have clashed, the Bee reported.
Last year, Holmes’ brother won a seat on the Placer County Board of Supervisors by beating a candidate backed by the Congressman. And moderate ex-Rep. Pete McCloskey (R-Calif.) recently paid for a billboard attacking Doolittle for his opposition to stem-cell research; McCloskey and Holmes have spoken about the race, though Holmes said the former Member is not involved in his campaign.
— Josh Kurtz
Kean Quietly Building Sizable War Chest
While much of the focus on next year’s Senate race has thus far centered on which Democrat might succeed Sen. Jon Corzine (D) on the ballot if Corzine is elected governor this fall, state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R) continues to build his campaign war chest in preparation for the November 2006 fight.
Kean raised $325,000 in the second quarter of the year for his Senate bid, bringing his cash on hand total to $643,000 as of June 30.
Kean is the son of former Gov. Tom Kean (R), chairman of the 9/11 Commission.
Four Democratic Members of the Garden State Congressional delegation ended June with more than $1 million in their campaign accounts: Reps. Bob Menendez ($4 million); Rob Andrews ($1.5 million); Frank Pallone ($1.5 million) and Steve Rothman ($1.4 million).
Vikings to Aid Kennedy’s New Fundraising Blitz
Rep. Mark Kennedy (R) hopes to rake in some big bucks for his Senate campaign using the Minnesota Vikings as bait.
The political action committees of 3M, American Collectors Association and Xcel Energy are hosting the fundraiser for Kennedy’s Senate candidacy at the Vikings training camp in Mankato, the Politics in Minnesota newsletter reported.
The event will feature a stocked air-conditioned hospitality tent and visits from Vikings players and coaches.
“Democratic football fans will recall that Vikings Head coach Mike Tice introduced George Bush at a Minneapolis campaign rally in 2004. [Of course, that was before Tice was busted for scalping Super Bowl tickets],” the newsletter noted.
— Nicole Duran
Connections Cut Both Ways in House Election
Dawn Gibbons (R), who is hoping to succeed her husband, Rep. Jim Gibbons (R), in the House next year, found there is a downside to being well-connected.
Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.), who announced last week that he will not seek re-election after federal authorities raided his residence in connection with an investigation into his relationship with a defense contractor, hosted a fundraiser for Dawn Gibbons late last month in Washington, D.C.
According to the Ralston Report, a Nevada political tip sheet, Gibbons said she believes Cunningham is innocent until proven guilty.
“Consultant Jim Denton, who is advising Dawn Gibbons’ congressional campaign … said many of the revelations about Cunningham did not come until after the June 29 event,” Ralston reported.
No word yet on what, if anything, she will do with the proceeds in the event he is found guilty of wrong-doing.
Jim Gibbons is giving up his 2nd district seat to seek the governorship.
Young Democrat Is First To Challenge Rep. Ney
Rep. Bob Ney (R), whose ethics woes have led Democrats to peg him as one of their top targets in 2006, has drawn his first challenger, the Athens (Ohio) News recently reported.
Josh Wolf (D), a 24-year-old recent graduate of Ohio University, recently filed his candidacy with the Federal Election Commission and plans to formally announce his campaign in the coming weeks, according to the chairwoman of the Athens Democratic Party.
Wolf was a member of the Ohio University Young Democrats until his graduation last year and he is now working as a grass-roots organizer for the Ohio Democratic Party.
National Democrats have been aggressively wooing several potential challengers to Ney, including former state Senate Minority Leader Greg DiDonato and state Rep. John Boccieri.
Second Democrat Joins Race to Replace Green
A former local official has entered the race to succeed Rep. Mark Green (R) in the 8th district.
Nancy Nusbaum (D), former De Pere mayor and Brown County executive, threw her hat into the ring earlier this week.
She joins business consultant Jamie Wall in the Democratic race, while state Assembly Speaker John Gard is the only official Republican candidate in the Republican-leaning district.
State Assemblywoman Terri McCormick (R) has formed an exploratory committee for a possible bid.
Gard and Wall have both raised more than $200,000, though much of Wall’s total is from his own pocket.
Green is running for governor.
Pederson is Closer Still To Challenging Sen. Kyl
Wealthy developer Jim Pederson (D) this week took another step closer to challenging Sen. Jon Kyl (R) in 2006, announcing that he was resigning as chairman of the state Democratic Party after almost five years in the post.
“It’s time for some fresh blood in the party,” Pederson told the Arizona Republic. “But I know there are a lot of Democrats who would like to see me run against Kyl, including [Gov. Janet Napolitano]. If I do this, I’ll get a lot of Republican votes.”
Pederson promised a decision on the Senate race by September, but he has already taken other steps to become a candidate. Earlier this year, he relinquished many of the day-to-day responsibilities at his company. And he recently attended a seminar for potential Senate candidates hosted by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Nantucket.
Democrats believe Pederson is an attractive candidate in part because of his vast personal wealth. They’ll need it if they want to knock off Kyl; he had $3.6 million in his campaign account as of June 30.
Pederson has opened his wallet to Democratic candidates and committees in the past, and he is largely expected to self-fund his Senate campaign should he get into the race.
Brown Loses Key Latino Support to Whitehouse
Just as Senate hopeful Matt Brown (D), Rhode Island’s secretary of state, launches a grass-roots effort in the Latino community he lost another key Latino supporter, according to the Rhode Island’s Future Web log.
State Sen. Juan Pichardo (D), who is of Dominican descent, withdrew his support for Brown in a recent letter to supporters.
Pichardo was Brown’s Providence co-chairman.
Pichardo noted his relationship with Brown rival Sheldon Whitehouse, formerly the state’s attorney general, and said he had struggled with his decision ever since Whitehouse entered the 2006 race to challenge Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R) in April.
“I honestly thought that I could continue providing my support for Matt’s candidacy, [but] it was becoming increasingly obvious to me that it was no longer within me and it would not be fair to him,” Pichardo wrote.
Pichardo’s decision to defect to the Whitehouse campaign comes on the heels of news that Brown campaign treasurer Tomas Ramirez came to the same conclusion.
Nonetheless, “Viva Brown!” continues and will host a fundraiser for Brown in September.
The effort to build up Latino enthusiasm for Brown’s campaign is being led by Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, a medical doctor, past chairman of a state Latino political action committee and radio talk-show host on a local Spanish-language station.
“We are building a strong organization in the Latino community for Matt Brown — a leader who has always stood up for what’s important to us,” Rodriguez said.