Washington: McGavick Finally Makes His Senate Bid Official
Safeco Corp. CEO Mike McGavick (R) on Wednesday officially declared his intention to take on Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) next year.
McGavick told a statewide radio personality on KIRO-AM in Seattle: “I’ve heard the outcry for new and different leadership, in this election — I will be that leader.”
McGavick formed an exploratory committee in July led by former Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-Wash.); former Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Wash.), for whom McGavick served as chief of staff; Rep. Cathy McMorris (R-Wash.); and others.
He had hoped to shed his day-to-day responsibilities at the insurance giant by the end of August, but Safeco has yet to name a new chief executive.
Acknowledging that obstacle, he said: “I am looking forward to kickoff events in January all over the state. Until then, I will remain a part-time candidate, as my primary responsibilities remain with Safeco Corp.”
National and state Republicans are high on McGavick, who ended the third quarter with $660,000 in the bank, though he only began fundraising in earnest after Labor Day.
Cantwell had almost $4 million in cash on hand by Sept. 30.
— Nicole Duran
Vermont: Lieutenant Governor Bows Out of Senate Race
Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (R) has decided to skip next year’s open Senate contest.
Dubie, who had set up an exploratory committee, said in a statement Wednesday that he concluded he could best serve Vermont by remaining lieutenant governor.
The time a Senate bid would require was also a consideration, he said.
“I have concluded that in light of my responsibilities as a father and husband, it would be very difficult for me to campaign for the U.S. Senate, to serve as lieutenant governor, and to be the father that I want to be — all at the same time.”
His decision leaves Richard Tarrant, founder of the medical software supplier IDX Systems Corp., as the anointed Republican candidate.
“Richard Tarrant is an exceptionally qualified candidate who will make the Vermont race extremely competitive,” National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman Brian Nick said about Dubie’s decision.
Dubie declined to endorse Tarrant in making his announcement.
Charter pilot Greg Parke, who ran for Vermont’s lone House seat last year, and state Sen. Mark Shepard are also seeking the GOP nod.
Democrats are expected to support Rep. Bernie Sanders (I) in his bid to ascend to the Senate.
Florida: Well-Known Democrat Enters 9th District Race
Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Phyllis Busansky (D) said this week that she will run for the seat being vacated by longtime Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R) next year.
“This Congress has failed to act responsibly and make us proud of our government,” she said in a statement announcing her candidacy.
Busansky is the first well-known Democrat to join the primary field. Attorney Bill Mitchell, former Defense Department employee Greg Rublee and real estate agent Fred Taylor are also seeking the party’s nod.
Still, the frontrunner in the 9th district contest is state Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R), the son of the current Congressman.
Bilirakis has the support of national party leaders, and by Sept. 30 he had already banked $568,000 for his campaign.
The Tampa-area district favors Republicans, although not overwhelmingly. President Bush won 57 percent of the vote there in 2004.
— Lauren W. Whittington
New York: Report: Angry City Pol May Challenge Maloney
A New York City Councilwoman who may be angry with Rep. Carolyn Maloney could wind up challenging her in next year’s Democratic primary, Crain’s New York Business reported this week.
Quoting unnamed political insiders, the newspaper said that Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz, who is forced by term limits to leave City Hall at the end of 2005, may decide to take on Maloney.
Moskowitz is reportedly angry at the seven-term Congresswoman because Maloney did not support her unsuccessful bid for Manhattan Borough president earlier this year. Even though Maloney once represented a Council district with boundaries that were similar to Moskowitz’s, she endorsed the winner of the Democratic primary for borough president, state Assemblyman Scott Stringer (D), who is assured of election in November.
Stringer is a former top aide to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D). Moskowitz finished second in the nine-candidate primary field.
While refusing to address her future political plans, Moskowitz told Crain’s that she is looking for a job in education and would not rule out a future run for public office. Moskowitz recently endorsed Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg for re-election — a move seen by some as a bid for a job in his second administration, since he is heavily favored for re-election next month.
Whatever her motives, Moskowitz’s endorsement of Bloomberg would not necessarily serve her well in a Democratic primary should she choose to take on Maloney.
— Josh Kurtz
Colorado: Supreme Court Asked to Take Up Redistricting
State Republicans have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take up their appeal of the state’s Congressional district boundaries.
John Zakhem, one of the Republican activists who filed the initial appeal, told The Associated Press that because the state’s Congressional lines were drawn by a court rather than the Legislature, they deprive residents of the right to hold their legislators accountable.
“This is about states’ rights versus federal mandates,” Zakhem said. “District lines should not be drawn by the courts.”
Zakhem said he would ask the Supreme Court to rule quickly, so that district lines could be adjusted in time for the 2006 elections.
After state legislators were unable to agree on Congressional boundaries following the 2000 Census, a state judge wound up drawing the lines that were used in the 2002 elections.
Republicans, who had seized control of the Legislature that year, then rammed through a re-redistricting in 2003 that was more favorable to the GOP, making the swing 3rd and 7th districts far more Republican than they were in the court-drawn plan.
But Democrats successfully challenged the redraw in the state Supreme Court, which ruled that redistricting could be undertaken only once a decade. The court-drawn lines remained intact for the 2004 elections.
Republicans appealed that decision to a federal court, which refused to hear the case because it did not want to overrule the state court’s ruling. The GOP is now hoping that the nation’s highest court disagrees.
State Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald (D) said she surmises that the Republicans chose this moment to go to the Supreme Court because President Bush will soon have filled two slots there.
“I guess I shouldn’t be surprised,” she told the AP.
Fitz-Gerald’s Decision Could Impact 2008 Race
In an announcement that could have implications for the 2008 Congressional elections, state Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald (D) revealed this week that she will not run for governor next year.
Fitz-Gerald was just propelled into the Senate’s top slot after the 2004 elections, when Democrats regained control of the chamber. In her announcement, Fitz-Gerald said she wanted to concentrate on keeping the Legislature in Democratic hands beyond 2006.
“The governor’s campaign in 2006 [is] the wrong race for me,” Fitz-Gerald said in a statement.
Left unsaid is that Fitz-Gerald is term-limited in 2008, when she will be seen as a possible candidate to replace Rep. Mark Udall (D), who already has announced his intention to run for Senate that year.
Fitz-Gerald is one of several Democrats who already have been mentioned as possible candidates for the 2nd district seat when Udall moves on, along with state House Majority Leader Alice Madden, state Board of Education member Jared Polis and state Sen. Ron Tupa. When Udall was a candidate for Senate for 24 hours in 2004, Polis jumped into the race to succeed him, only to drop out as soon as Udall folded his tent in the Senate race.
Arizona: Poll: Kyl Still Has Big Lead Over Pederson
In the first public poll released since he formally entered the Senate race last month, real estate developer Jim Pederson (D) continues to lag far behind two-term Sen. Jon Kyl (R).
A poll of 385 registered voters conducted Oct. 20-23 by the Arizona State University Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and KAET-TV found Kyl supported by 50 percent of those surveyed and Pederson the choice of 28 percent.
The poll had a margin of error of 4.9 percent.
Despite Pederson’s current standing, Democrats are optimistic about his prospects. One cause for their optimism: Pederson’s close association with popular Gov. Janet Napolitano (D), whom he helped elect when he was chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party and who will be heading the Democratic ticket next year.
Napolitano’s re-elect number was at 60 percent in the poll, and she defeated two prospective Republican challengers by more than 30 points.
Rhode Island: Marine Hopes to Storm Democratic Senate Race
A former Marine who hopes to capture the Democratic nomination for Senate in the Ocean State kicked off his campaign decrying special interests and wealthy candidates.
Carl Sheeler held a quart of motor oil and said: “No more blood for oil,” in reference to the war in Iraq, The Providence Journal reported Wednesday.
He spoke to about 40 supporters gathered at a Providence high school.
Sheeler faces two well-established candidates, former state Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse and Secretary of State Matt Brown, in the Democratic primary.
Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey is challenging Sen. Lincoln Chafee for the Republican nomination.
Wisconsin: Feingold Plans to Stump In Neighboring State
Sen. Russ Feingold (D), who is mulling a 2008 presidential bid, is traveling to neighboring Minnesota to address local Democrats.
Feingold, whose liberal bent likely plays well in the state that sent the late Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) to Capitol Hill, will be the keynote speaker Friday at the 1st Patriots’ Ball in Burnsville, a Minneapolis suburb.
The costume-themed event also will highlight the Democratic-Farm-Labor Party’s 2006 Senate candidates.
Feingold is traveling under his Progressive Patriots Fund, the leadership political action committee he established after winning re-election last year, which has sent him to Alabama, Tennessee and other states this year to help support liberal candidates and raise his national profile.