Connecticut: Though Staying Active, Lamont Skips House Bid

Posted February 14, 2007 at 6:19pm

Ned Lamont, the millionaire businessman who snatched the Democratic Senate nomination from Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID) last year, apparently does not want to be a Congressman.

Lamont, who lost to Lieberman in November after Lieberman created his own third party to run in the general election, told the Connecticut Democratic Party chairwoman that he does not want to challenge Rep. Christopher Shays (R) next year, according to the Connecticut Post.

Shays is the last Republican remaining in the Constitution State’s delegation.

While a Congressional bid looks unlikely, Lamont is keeping up with liberal activists and sending missives to subscribers of NedLamont.com.

On Tuesday he sent an e-mail to supporters encouraging them to get behind legislation sponsored by Sen. Chris Dodd (D), and others, dealing with the Military Commissions Act, which authorized the government to try terrorism suspects in military tribunals.

Last month, he threw a reunion for his “Nedheads” at a New Haven bar.

— Nicole Duran

Legislature May Outlaw Robocalls This Session

The Connecticut Legislature might outlaw automated-message calls.

Robocalls, often deployed by political campaigns, could be history if a bill working its way through the Legislature is passed. However, the firms that call thousands of homes and play recorded messages will not go quietly.

Robocalls across the state have been encouraging residents to urge their legislators to vote against the bill, the Hartford Courant reported Wednesday.

The legislation is based on Minnesota’s ban on automated calls, which has been upheld in federal court, the paper reported.

— N.D.

NEVADA

Republican Members Start Fundraising Drive

Nevada’s GOP Congressmen are wasting no time jumping into the 2008 money chase.

Today, freshman Rep. Dean Heller will try to replenish his campaign coffers.

House Chief Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is the special guest at a $1,000-a-person luncheon at the Capitol Hill Club.

Heller, who had to fight through a bruising Republican primary before defeating Democrat Jill Derby in a targeted race in November, began the year with less than $26,000 in his campaign account.

Earlier this week, members of the construction industry hosted a $1,000-per-political action committee breakfast for Rep. Jon Porter.

The fundraiser, which was hosted by PACs representing roofers and the National Association of Home Builders, among others, also benefited Rep. Ron Lewis (R-Ky.).

Porter’s 3rd district, based in suburban Las Vegas, is a classic swing district Democrats have targeted ever since it was created after the 2000 Census.

— N.D.

FLORIDA
Line for Mahoney Seat Appears to Be Growing

The Sunshine State’s 16th district is teeming with Republicans who want to go up against freshman Rep. Tim Mahoney (D).

Thomas Rooney told supporters that he was forgoing an appointment with the Florida attorney general’s office to run for Congress, according to Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers. Rooney, an attorney who is part of the family that owns the Pittsburgh Steelers football team, said he would file candidate papers at the end of the month.

Also committed to the race is state Rep. Gayle Harrell (R), who plans to kick off her campaign March 24 with former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), the paper reported this week.

Hal Valeche, a Palm Beach Gardens city councilman, told The Palm Beach Post last week that he is “highly likely” to join the fray as well.

Also reportedly mulling bids are Rod Siedlecki, a failed state House candidate, and Mike Mett, a business consultant.

One Republican who took his name out of the mix recently is Joe Negron, who narrowly lost to Mahoney in November.

Negron became the de facto GOP nominee after then-Rep. Mark Foley (R) resigned in disgrace on Sept. 29 amid revelations that he sent sexually explicit e-mails to male pages.

It was too late to remove Foley’s name from the ballot, and Mahoney beat Negron 49 percent to 48 percent in the GOP-leaning district.

— N.D.

Former Senate Nominee Eyes Challenge to Klein

Rep. Ron Klein (D) is faring better than fellow Sunshine State freshman Tim Mahoney (D), at least when it comes to staving off possible opposition.

Several GOP state lawmakers appear to be passing on the race.

The most eager Republican to date is a failed Senate candidate from Connecticut.

Alan Schlesinger, who finished third in the three-way Senate race in the Constitution State last year, said he might move to Florida and take on Klein, according to The Palm Beach Post.

Klein ousted veteran Rep. Clay Shaw (R) in November to claim the seat in the Democratic-leaning 22nd district.

— N.D.

NEW YORK
Report: Sweeney May Seek Comeback in ’08

Is ex-Rep. John Sweeney (R) preparing for a political comeback?

Local Republican chairmen in the 20th district told The Post-Star in Glens Falls this week that they have heard directly or indirectly from the former four-term Congressman that he may be seeking a rematch with freshman Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D), who ousted Sweeney in November.

“There’s a few scenarios that could play out,” Warren County GOP Chairman Michael Grasso told the newspaper about Sweeney’s political plans. “Let’s just say none of those options would be for lower office [than the House of Representatives].”

Michael Lisuzzo, the Republican chairman in Sweeney’s hometown of Clifton Park, said he will support the former Congressman if he runs again.

But Sweeney is not the only Republican who may want to take on Gillibrand in 2008, and it’s unclear whether any of the other potential candidates would automatically defer to him. Former state GOP Chairwoman Sandra Treadway is actively exploring the race. State Assemblyman Roy McDonald, former Assemblyman John Faso and Richard Wager, an aide to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R), also are mentioned. Wager, who lives in New York City, this week told the Poughkeepsie Journal — a newspaper his father once published — that he expects to establish an exploratory committee in the next month.

Gillibrand beat Sweeney 53 percent to 47 percent despite the fact that President Bush won the upstate district by 8 points in 2004.

— Josh Kurtz

GEORGIA
DeKalb County CEO Holds Senate Fundraiser

DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones (D), who has openly flirted with — but not officially committed to — running against Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) in 2008, held the first fundraiser for his campaign this week.

Jones, who will be term-limited out of his current job at the end of next year, is currently the only Democrat to publicly express interest in the Senate contest.

While Jones, who is black, has characterized himself as a conservative Democrat, his base in metro Atlanta may make his candidacy a hard sell to voters in the rest of the state.

Chambliss defeated then-Sen. Max Cleland (D) in a bitter race in 2002. But the state has trended more and more Republican since that time, and it remains to be seen if a top-tier challenger will emerge this cycle.

— Lauren W. Whittington