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TEXAS: In Competitive 11th, Bush Pal Enters Race

Former local school board President Dot Snyder (R) will challenge Rep. Chet Edwards (D) in the 11th district, the home of President Bush’s Crawford ranch.

“I’m working very hard on letting people know I would be a good Congresswoman and I hope that’s why they elect me,” Snyder told the Waco Tribune-Herald.

Snyder served on the board of trustees of the Waco Independent School District from 1997 to 2002. Her husband, Ned, is a regular area golfing partner of the president’s.

The Waco-based district is a perennial Republican target, as Bush would have won 67 percent there in the 2000 presidential race.

Republicans were initially keen on their 2002 candidate, Ramsey Farley. Farley, who had taken 44 percent against Edwards in 2000, made a series of critical mistakes including admitting that he opposed Bush’s education plan despite the fact that the National Republican Congressional Committee touted his support for the proposal in an ad.

Despite the slip-ups, Farley took 47 percent to Edwards’ 52 percent, the incumbent’s lowest re-election percentage ever.

Other Republicans contemplating a 2004 challenge to Edwards include Col. Hugh Shine and Wesley Riddle.

— Chris Cillizza

GEORGIA

McKinney May Be Thinking Comeback

Is former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D) seeking a rematch next year? That’s what political observers are wondering after the controversial former lawmaker filed paperwork establishing a campaign committee for 2004, even as she faces a possible audit of past campaign finances.

McKinney, who has also been floated as a potential Green Party presidential or vice presidential candidate in 2004, filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission in November to run for her old 4th district seat as a Democrat. McKinney was defeated in a heated primary last year by now-Rep. Denise Majette (D).

The committee reported a little more than $45,000 in cash on hand as of the end of last year.

But according to FEC records, as of March 12 McKinney’s campaign had yet to respond to a commission request for additional information regarding her 2002 year-end report. McKinney’s campaign was given until April 2 to provide an adequate response or face a possible audit.

While FEC records show that her committee filed an amended year-end report on March 30, it does not appear that the new document addresses all of the requests contained in the FEC’s initial letter.

Specifically, the amended report appears to lack the post-election detailed summary page that McKinney is required to file in lieu of the year-end report summary page. The re-filed report also seems to lack itemized memos detailing credit card payments, which the FEC had requested.

If she runs next year, McKinney won’t be the only former Peach State Member trying to regain a House seat. Former Rep. Bob Barr (R), who lost last year in a Member-versus-Member primary to Rep. John Linder (R), is also running for Congress next year.

Barr is seeking the open 6th district seat currently held by Rep. Johnny Isakson (R), who is running for Senate.

— Lauren W. Whittington

CALIFORNIA

A Singer, but Not a Star, Enters GOP Senate Fray

It isn’t the superstar GOP leaders are hoping for, but there is now one Republican officially in the race to take on two-term Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) next year.

Danney Ball, a country-western and gospel singer from Hemet, a town on the edge of the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County, announced Sunday that he is seeking the GOP nomination.

“I have a lot of energy and plan to spend every waking hour out on the trail telling voters how I plan to do this job,” Ball said in his announcement speech. “I plan to put an end to the myth that California is the most liberal state.”

Traveling the state in a mobile home, Ball won 13,156 votes to finish sixth in the 2002 Republican gubernatorial primary.

Other Republicans eyeing the Senate race are Rep. Darrell Issa, U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin, Rep. Doug Ose, Rep. George Radanovich and businessman Bill Simon.

— Josh Kurtz

MISSOURI

Barry in the Mix for Gephardt House Seat

Former state Rep. Joan Barry (D) has established an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for a potential run in the 3rd district.

Barry joins state Sen. Steve Stoll, state Rep. Russ Carnahan and St. Louis Circuit Clerk Mariano Favazza as likely Democratic candidates for the seat being vacated by Rep. Richard Gephardt (D), who is pursuing his party’s presidential nomination.

Stoll is considered the early favorite and is seen to have the tacit backing of Gephardt’s Missouri political operation.

Carnahan is the son of late Gov. Mel Carnahan (D) and former Sen. Jean Carnahan (D). He has formed an exploratory committee and held a kickoff fundraising event March 31.

Barry won a hotly contested special election in 1996 to win a competitive St. Louis County seat after serving as Concord Township Democratic committeewoman. She retired from the state House in 2002.

Barry, like Stoll, opposes abortion rights; Carnahan favors abortion rights.

No Republicans have entered the race.

— C.C.

SOUTH CAROLINA

School Official Takes on Inglis in House Primary

Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R) drew a primary challenge for his old 4th district seat on Tuesday when Greenville County School Trustee William Herlong announced his candidacy for the GOP nomination.

“I pledge not only to work to see that the 4th district receives the attention it deserves but also to see that its values are translated into national policy,” Herlong told The Greenville News.

Herlong is currently in his fifth year on the nonpartisan school board, having been re-elected in 2002.

Herlong paints himself as a “George Bush Republican,” and was actually recruited to run in 1998 as a Democrat for the seat Inglis vacated to run for the Senate.

Inglis held the seat from 1992 to 1998. That year he lost to Sen. Fritz Hollings (D) 53 percent to 46 percent.

Inglis showed $112,000 raised with $138,000 in the bank through March 31; Herlong said he had raised $57,000 in that period.

The strongly Republican Up Country district is open as a result of Rep. Jim DeMint’s (R) decision to abide by his three-term-limit pledge; he will run against Hollings in 2004.

— C.C.

NEW YORK

Daniels Files for Office, But Won’t Say Which

New York Secretary of State Randy Daniels (R), a rising star in state politics, filed papers last week to set up a statewide campaign committee, which enables him to begin raising money. But he did not specify what office he would be seeking — or when.

Daniels, the highest-ranking black official in Gov. George Pataki’s (R) administration, has been touted as a candidate for governor or as an opponent to Sen. Charles Schumer (D) next year. He is a former television journalist who also worked as an aide to several Democratic politicians.

Under state election law, even though he can begin raising money, Daniels does not have to specify what office he is seeking until June of the election year he is running in, according to the Albany Times-Union.

Daniels is thought to be Pataki’s leading choice to replace him in 2006, if he doesn’t seek a fourth term. Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Rep. John Sweeney, Erie County Executive Joel Giambra and state Sen. Michael Balboni are also considered possible GOP contenders.

— J.K.

NEBRASKA

Nelson Launches Early Attack on Gov. Johanns

Sen. Ben Nelson (D) used a local party dinner to launch the first verbal jab of a potential 2006 Senate race against Gov. Mike Johanns (R).

“Education is now a casualty instead of a priority,” Nelson said. “We deserve better than this.”

Johanns has served as the state’s governor since 1998 and is widely seen as the strongest Republican challenger to Nelson in 2006. He won re-election in 2002 with 69 percent.

Nelson himself served as governor from 1990 to 1998. In 1996, he lost a surprising race to Sen. Chuck Hagel (R) but bounced back in 2000 to win the open seat of retiring Sen. Bob Kerrey (D) with 51 percent.

Nebraska is one of the strongest Republican states in the union, providing George W. Bush with a 29-point victory in 2000. Nelson is the only Democrat in a statewide post.

— C.C.

MAINE

House Redistricting Likely Headed to Court

While negotiations between state lawmakers are still under way, it appears likely that the makeup of Maine’s two Congressional districts will again be decided by the state Supreme Court.

The deadline for the state redistricting commission to approve new lines passed last week, with the panel still sharply divided.

On a party-line vote, the commission narrowly approved a Democratic plan for district lines. But the map is unlikely to pass muster with Republicans in the Democratically controlled state Legislature, where a two-thirds vote is required for approval. The neutral chairman of the 15-member commission voted with Democrats to approve the plan.

The Democratic plan would shift some voters from Rep. Tom Allen’s (D) southern 1st district into the vastly rural and sparsely populated northern 2nd district, causing only minimal changes to the current district outlines.

A Republican plan would twist the two districts to an east-west configuration. Democrats charge that this proposal would make freshman Rep. Mike Michaud’s (D) marginal 2nd district more GOP-friendly.

If the Legislature is unable to agree on a map, the task of approving new Congressional boundaries would move to the state Supreme Court, the same body that drew the existing lines after the Legislature deadlocked a decade ago. The court would have to issue a decision by the end of June.

Maine is the last state in the country to complete redistricting because by law the state is not required to redraw district lines until the third year of each decade.

— L.W.W.

MARYLAND

Cummings Won’t Run For Mayor of Baltimore

Despite a favorable Democratic primary calendar, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) said through a spokesman this week that he will not run for mayor of Baltimore in 2003 — or 2004.

Although Cummings is occasionally rumored to be interested in running for mayor of his hometown, “he does plan on staying in Congress for now,” spokeswoman Devika Koppikar said.

Thanks to a dispute in the Maryland General Assembly that was not resolved before the Legislature adjourned Monday night, the party primaries for city offices in Baltimore will be held this September — 14 months before the general election. That would have allowed Cummings to run in the Democratic mayoral primary without having to sacrifice his safe House seat.

Although Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley (D) is a rising star in Maryland politics, some black leaders in the majority-black city have been disenchanted with his administration and have been casting about for a challenger to unify behind. Cummings would have been their dream candidate, but Koppikar said her boss and O’Malley “have a good working relationship.”

Now, with such an early primary date, it will be difficult for anyone in the Democratic primary to raise enough money to gain any traction against O’Malley. And a Republican is all but doomed in the heavily Democratic city.

— J.K.

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