Old Vs. Old

Posted June 3, 2008 at 6:24pm

The votes in Tuesday’s Congressional primaries were tallied too late to be included in today’s edition of Roll Call. But several of the candidates on the ballot Tuesday enjoyed financial support from Members of Congress. Here are some of their stories:

Old Vs. Old. After Rep. Robert Andrews announced his upstart bid to oust incumbent Sen. Frank Lautenberg in the New Jersey Democratic primary, the party establishment quickly formed ranks behind the Senator and demonstrated unwavering support the best way Members of Congress know how: with their pocketbooks.

[IMGCAP(1)]Indeed, throughout the primary battle, Lautenberg’s Federal Election Commission campaign contribution reports read like a veritable Who’s Who of Democrats on Capitol Hill. Represented were the political action committees of Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), highly regarded Virginia Senate candidate Mark Warner and dozens of others.

Perhaps Lautenberg’s most vocal supporters during the primary race were the other six Members of the New Jersey Democratic House delegation, and they too put their money where their mouths were during the campaign. Two of those Garden State Democrats, Reps. Frank Pallone and Steven Rothman, had donated to Lautenberg’s campaign before Andrews announced his intent to challenge the Senator eight weeks ago. (Coincidentally, both Rothman and Pallone are also widely known to be interested in Lautenberg’s seat once he retires.)

But Andrews wasn’t completely shunned by his Congressional colleagues during what became a particularly bitter campaign. Late filings show that Rep. John Dingell (Mich.), the dean of the Democratic House delegation, gave Andrews $2,000 from his campaign account on May 28.

The support of Dingell, who at 81 years old is serving his 27th term in Congress, is particularly interesting because a major theme of Andrews’ campaign was that Lautenberg (who is 84) was way past his prime. Andrews, who is 50, often emphasized during his campaign that it was time for Lautenberg to yield his seat to someone who is younger and has more energy.

A spokesman for Dingell said Tuesday that he was unable to comment on why Dingell made the late donation to Andrews.

Andrews’ spokesman Bill Caruso said his boss and the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee are close.

“The two of them have worked on lots of projects together over the years. … They have a mutual respect for each other,” Caruso said.

One other Congressional connection that turned up in Andrews’ FEC filings was a $2,000 donation on May 29 that came from the campaign of Camille Andrews. Camille Andrews is Robert Andrews’ wife, and not long after he announced his intent to run for Senate she was tapped by the party to replace him in New Jersey’s 1st district.

California Dreaming. In California’s open 4th district — being vacated by Rep. John Doolittle (R) — former Rep. Doug Ose and state Sen. Tom McClintock brawled in a heated GOP primary battle that came to a head on Tuesday.

Perhaps because the suburban Sacramento 4th is seen as so secure for the GOP, even in these political times, Member money was nowhere to be found. According to CQ MoneyLine, no donations by Republican House Members or their political action committees were made to either candidate by the May 14 pre-primary FEC filing deadline.

Additionally, neither McClintock nor Ose has received any GOP House Member money since, according to their 48-hour FEC reports.

However, the presumptive Democratic nominee in the 4th district, retired Air Force officer and former police administrator Charlie Brown, did receive money from elected Democrats — and plenty of it. Brown, who narrowly lost to Doolittle when he ran in 2006, received $25,000 from incumbent-run political action committees and another $15,600 from their campaign accounts.

Among Brown’s benefactors are House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) and his PAC; educator Francine Busby, the Democratic nominee in the 2006 special election in California’s 50th district; Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa); and seven House Democrats from California.

Brown’s campaign also tallied donations from the PACs run by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.).

Tell it to the Marine. In California’s open 52nd district, Marine Reservist Duncan D. Hunter (R) has managed to capitalize on his father, retiring Rep. Duncan Hunter (R).

Hunter, who ran against three others in the 52nd district GOP primary — the polls were still open at press time on Tuesday — has tallied $26,500 in GOP House Member donations in his bid for the Republican nomination in the solidly conservative, eastern San Diego County seat. Additionally, Hunter has collected nearly $40,000 in PAC contributions from House Republicans.

Additionally, Hunter received one donation from former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and one donation from Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ (R-Ga.) PAC.

Wilson Beats Pearce — in Member Giving! We didn’t know at press time if Rep. Heather Wilson managed to come from behind and beat Rep. Steve Pearce in Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary in New Mexico.

But one thing we do know: Wilson crushed Pearce in the money chase, particularly when comparing Member giving.

Pearce received zero contributions from Member-controlled political action committees, and just one donation worth $1,000 from an incumbent campaign account, courtesy of Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio).

Wilson, however, received $25,500 in contributions from Members’ campaign accounts, with an additional $114,500 in donations coming from their PACs.

Among the donations was one worth $1,000 from Turner’s campaign account. Additionally, Wilson chalked up donations from PACs run by several GOP Senators, including Kit Bond (Mo.), Orrin Hatch (Utah) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas).

Wilson also tallied contributions from PACs controlled by House GOP leaders, including Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.), Deputy Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.), Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.).

Fight Fire With Fire! Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) seems to have failed in his attempts to persuade his counterpart, National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.), to disarm the third-party groups that are trying to the influence the outcome of Congressional elections.

But rather than wave the white flag in defeat, the DCCC is using Cole’s refusal to take the bait as a reason to open fire — and attempt to raise money.

DCCC Executive Director Brian Wolff on Tuesday sent an e-mail to supporters urging them to contribute to counter the influence of outside money supporting Republican candidates and causes.

“The shadowy swift-boat group Freedom’s Watch has just launched a new campaign of attacks against some of our strongest Democratic Members of Congress,” Wolff wrote.

He continued: “While your generous contributions have put us in a position of strength, these deceitful new attacks are a shot across our bow and send a clear message that they plan to come after every single Democrat this year. We need your help to fight back NOW to fund our Rapid Response Network.”

From Washington to Washington. Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) will be in Washington, D.C., for a fundraiser on June 12. Gregoire, who won one of the closest gubernatorial elections in history in 2004, will be feted at the firm K&L Gates on K Street. She faces a rematch this year with former state Sen. Dino Rossi (R).

Josh Kurtz contributed to this report.

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