VIRGINIA: Pentagon Official Thinks About Moran Challenge
Another Republican is considering throwing his hat into the ring to challenge embattled Rep. Jim Moran (D) next year.
Andre Hollis, 37, the deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for counter-narcotics, has talked to the White House and Republicans in the Old Dominion’s 8th District, according to friends, and is trying to schedule a sit-down with aides at the National Republican Congressional Committee.
With the GOP still trying to make amends from the fallout of Sen. Trent Lott’s (R-Miss.) remarks at former Sen. Strom Thurmond’s (R-S.C.) 100th birthday party, Hollis, who is black, might be an appealing candidate in some Republican quarters.
In a statement given to Roll Call, Hollis made clear that any campaign would focus on going after Moran for his own controversies, including recent remarks about Jewish leaders’ influence on the war in Iraq and loans the lawmaker received from lobbyists and companies whose priorities he later supported.
“Many friends and supporters are encouraging me to run for the 8th district,” Hollis said. “In recent days, I have had discussions with the White House and local and state party officials in Virginia. Clearly, the 8th district desperately needs effective leadership we can be proud of.”
Prior to working at the Pentagon, Hollis served as senior counsel for the House Government Reform Committee under then-Chairman Dan Burton (R-Ind.), and prior to that he was counsel at the House Commerce Committee. He has also worked as a trial attorney and lobbyist, having received his law degree from the University of Virginia.
Roll Call reported Thursday that Capitol Police Officer Mike Riccardi is also considering the race for the Republican nomination against Moran, who won with 59 percent of the vote in 2002 in a district tilted toward Democrats.
Some Republicans are trying to talk Kyle McSlarrow, a former Hill staffer who’s now deputy secretary at the Energy Department, into making another run at Moran. He ran twice against Moran in the early 1990s. And others are hoping Joe McCain, the brother of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), will make the race.
Several Democrats are also considering challenging Moran in a party primary.
— Paul Kane
Bates Unlikely to Jump Back Into House Race
After being declared ineligible last week to run for lieutenant governor in 2003, Hunter Bates, former chief of staff to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R), is highly unlikely to run in the 4th district race, according to informed sources.
Bates stepped aside Thursday just one day after a judge in Oldham County had ordered him off the ballot because had not not been a citizen of the state for the past six years. Bates’ chief residence was in Virginia, although he did move back full-time to the state last year to manage McConnell’s re-election campaign.
Bates was running on a ticket with 6th district Rep. Ernie Fletcher (R), who is a candidate for governor.
Bates had originally been expected to make a Congressional bid against Rep. Ken Lucas (D) in 2004 and quickly lined up the influential support of McConnell despite a number of potential primary challengers. He decided instead to take the lieutenant governor slot offered to him by Fletcher, himself a McConnell protege.
Already 2002 4th district nominee Geoff Davis, Campbell County Judge-Executive Steve Pendery and attorney Kevin Murphy are in the race on the Republican side.
Lucas announced in January that he would break his term-limits pledge and run for re-election in 2004.
— Chris Cillizza
Allen Hails Nethercutt At Fundraiser Last Week
Two developments late last week increased the speculation that Rep. George Nethercutt (R) plans to run for the Senate next year while Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R) does not.
Nethercutt held a $1,000 a ticket midday fundraiser Thursday at The Monocle restaurant on Capitol Hill, which featured an appearance by National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman George Allen (Va.). According to The Associated Press, Allen said that Nethercutt would make a strong challenger to two-term Sen. Patty Murray (D).
Meanwhile, Dunn — the favorite of national and state GOP leaders to take on Murray — has agreed to head the National Republican Congressional Committee’s efforts to re-elect freshman Republicans, the AP reported.
That news, along with the departure last week of her Congressional chief of staff, Doug Badger, has led many political insiders to conclude that Dunn does not plan to challenge Murray.
Dunn continues to insist that she’ll make a final decision on a Senate race in April, and told the AP that she has about $1 million in the bank.
— Josh Kurtz
Ex-Quarterback Kosar To Stay on Sidelines
Football hero Bernie Kosar, wooed by Democrats to run for the Senate in Ohio and by Republicans to run for the Senate in Florida, told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel newspaper last week that he would not do either — and wouldn’t reveal his party affiliation, either.
Kosar, a star quarterback for the University of Miami and the Cleveland Browns who now is a part owner of the Florida Panthers hockey team and maintains residences in both Ohio and Florida, said his four children are too young for him to consider a run for political office now. He also expressed admiration for both Democratic and Republican politicians.
“I don’t know how to identify myself politically,” he said.
Kosar described himself as a close friend of Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), whom Democrats are trying to defeat in 2004. Last year, he campaigned for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R). He has also given money to Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and to Florida Sens. Bill Nelson (D) and Bob Graham (D), who is up for re-election in 2004 but is also running for president.
Board of Elections Deals Setback to Third Party
In a ruling with implications for New York’s complicated ballot access laws, the state Board of Elections last week rejected the Independence Party’s bid to allow nonaffiliated voters to participate in the party’s primaries.
While the Independence Party, which was founded in the 1990s by supporters of Ross Perot and became the vehicle for businessman Thomas Golisano’s independent campaigns for governor, voted recently to allow independents to vote in their primaries, the board said the party would need approval from the state Legislature.
With the Democratic Speaker of the state Assembly already on record against any such legislation, a lawyer for the Independence Party told The Associated Press that party officials would probably appeal the board’s ruling in federal court.
New York allows minor parties to endorse major-party candidates for political offices, and candidates can run on multiple ballot lines simultaneously. As of November, there were 257,281 voters enrolled in the Independence Party, compared to more than 2.2 nonaffiliated voters.
Grassroots Group Sends More Organizers Earlier
In another sign that Democrats are still licking their wounds from losing the ground battle in the 2002 midterm elections, 21st Century Democrats, a national organization that provides grassroots field organizers to progressive candidates for federal, state and local offices, is altering its strategy for 2004.
In the last cycle, the group dispatched 128 field workers to various districts around the country. But this year, with an eye toward the presidential election and other contests, 21st Century Democrats plans to send about 100 workers to each of three states to set up early, year-round field operations.
Kelly Young, executive director of the organization, said that while the final decision on where the workers will go hasn’t been made, the leading contenders are Michigan, Minnesota and Oregon, which could all be presidential battlegrounds.
“The idea is to just lay the groundwork” for the 2004 elections, Young said.
The organization will send additional workers to help candidates in select races all across the country later in the cycle, she said.