Louisiana: Mardi Gras Kicks Off With Baker Fundraiser
Rep. Richard Baker (R) is celebrating Mardi Gras in Washington, D.C., to raise money, which could be used for a Senate bid.
Baker is considering challenging Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) in 2008. His latest filing with the Federal Election Commission showed he needs to throw a few more parties to catch up and be financially competitive.
Baker began the year with less than $37,000 in the bank while Landrieu had a little more than $950,000 in her re-election account.
Baker is hosting a “Mardi Gras celebration” Thursday evening at 101 Constitution Ave. NW. Attendees paying $2,500 as a political action committee sponsor or $500 as an individual will be treated to a complimentary noon luncheon at Charlie Palmer Steak, which is on the building’s first floor.
Tickets for the reception only are $1,000 for PACs and $250 for individuals.
— Nicole Duran
Stender Preparing for Rematch With Ferguson
State Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D) appears to be gearing up for a rematch with Rep. Mike Ferguson (R).
Stender was in Washington, D.C., late last week to meet with Democratic officials and leaders of Democratic-leaning interest groups about a possible run. But Stender said she is not prepared to officially launch her candidacy — and is unlikely to do much fundraising — until after her race for re-election to the Legislature is completed this November. That may be significant because Stender did not get into the 2006 race until December 2005, giving Ferguson a substantial head start raising money.
The Congressman spent about $3 million to win 49 percent of the vote in November, the lowest percentage of his four election victories. Stender spent more than $1.8 million to finish about 3,300 votes behind.
Through Dec. 31, Ferguson had $72,000 in the bank but also carried a $240,000 debt. Stender had just $8,000 in her Congressional account.
— Josh Kurtz
Walberg Event Tonight Will Replenish Coffers
Freshman Rep. Tim Walberg (R) is trying to replenish his nearly depleted campaign coffers.
The former state lawmaker, who relied heavily on the Club for Growth in his GOP primary victory over then-Rep. Joe Schwarz last August, began the year with less than $38,000 on hand.
Walberg is holding a reception and dinner tonight at the Capitol Hill Club. He is asking for $2,000 from political action committee sponsors and $1,000 from individual sponsors. Attendees must pay $250, and PACs are being asked to contribute $1,000.
Democrats think they can flip the 7th district now that the moderate Schwarz is no longer representing it.
No Democrat has announced a challenge yet.
Newsletter: State Senator Eyeing Race With Kline
Several Democrats are being floated as potential challengers to Rep. John Kline (R) in the 2nd district.
Former state Sen. Sharon Marko (D) is seriously considering a bid, according to the Politics in Minnesota newsletter.
Marko made an 11th-hour try for the Democratic nod last year only to drop it after deciding that eventual nominee Coleen Rowley already had locked up the party’s endorsement.
Rowley did not live up to party officials’ expectations, taking just 40 percent of the vote. Democrats still think the district just south of the Twin Cities has potential.
The 2nd district favored President Bush over Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) 54 percent to 45 percent in 2004.
Other names mentioned include failed 2006 gubernatorial candidate Mike Hatch and Teresa Daly, who lost to Kline in 2004, but neither is very interested, according to the newsletter.
State Attorney General Lori Swanson lives in the 2nd district, but it is unclear if she would undertake a Congressional bid.
The newsletter also said the names of state Rep. Joe Atkins and state Sen. Steve Murphy have been bandied about, though they appear disinclined to run at present.
GOP Leaders Headline Fundraiser for Renzi
Rep. Rick Renzi (R) has scheduled a fundraiser that will be hosted by some of the biggest names in the House Republican Conference, including Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio); Chief Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.); National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) and Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), the former Speaker.
The Feb. 17 event, to be held at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, also is being hosted by GOP Reps. Tom Latham (Iowa) and Patrick McHenry (N.C.).
Renzi had a tougher-than-expected re-election contest in November against little-known attorney Ellen Simon (D), taking just 51 percent of the vote. But it is not yet clear whether the Democrats are going to field a top-tier challenger against him in 2008.
— David M. Drucker
Fossella Hosting Donors at Johnny’s Half Shell
Rep. Vito Fossella (R), who remains a target of national Democrats, is hosting a fundraising luncheon this afternoon at Johnny’s Half Shell, the Capitol Hill eatery. Tickets cost $1,000.
Despite the national Democratic wave that was especially heavy in the Empire State in November, Fossella took 57 percent of the vote against an unknown and woefully underfunded attorney. Fossella spent more than $1.6 million on his re-election and ended 2006 with just $12,000 in the bank.
Democrats hope to run a higher-profile challenger in 2008, but no one has emerged yet, and the Democrats’ recruiting process could be delayed some with the sudden death late last month of the Staten Island Democratic party chairman.
Ex-Hostettler Staffer May Be Gunning for Ellsworth
A former staffer to former Rep. John Hostettler (R) might try to avenge his former boss’s 2006 loss.
Gibson County Prosecutor Rob Krieg (R) told the Princeton Daily Clarion last week that he will decide in a month or two whether he will challenge freshman Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) in the “bloody 8th.”
Ellsworth, who was then Vanderburgh County sheriff, stomped Hostettler, denying him a seventh term by 22 points in 2006.
Krieg worked for Hostettler in different official and campaign capacities on and off between 1994 and 2002, according to the paper.
He just won re-election to his county prosecutor post last November.
Northup Poll Shows Her Tied With Gov. Fletcher
A poll conducted recently for former Rep. Anne Northup (R) found her tied with Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) in a trial heat of the May GOP gubernatorial primary. Each candidate had 39 percent in the poll.
The survey, conducted Jan. 28 and 29 with an error margin of 4.4 percent, showed 12 percent of Republicans undecided, with 10 percent support going to a third Republican candidate.
The poll by Public Opinion Strategies surveyed 500 likely GOP primary voters.
Northup was upended in her bid for a sixth House term in November by now-Rep. John Yarmuth (D).