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GEORGIA: GOP Marshals Forces For Retired General

Unhappy with the fundraising totals of 2002 nominee Calder Clay (R), Republicans are working to convince retired general Richard Goddard (R) to challenge Rep. Jim Marshall (D) in 2004.

Goddard is the former commander of Robins Air Force Base, which lies within the boundaries of the 3rd district that Marshall won in an open seat race in 2002.

In that race, Marshall defeated Clay, a former Bibb County Commissioner, by 1,500 votes out of roughly 150,000 cast. It was the third closest House race in the 2002 cycle.

It is worth noting, however, that Republicans had their most successful election in recent memory in the Peach State in 2002. Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) won upset victories, and Reps. Phil Gingrey (R) and Max Burns (R) won in districts redrawn by a Democratic-controlled Legislature to favor their party.

Republicans see the seat as a major target in 2004 regardless of whether Marshall runs for a second term or decides to run for the state’s open Senate seat.

Clay had raised $122,000 from Jan. 1 to June 30, a sum that Republicans say is not sufficient for what is likely to be a costly race.

— Chris Cillizza


Bryant May Want Name In 2006 Candidate Mix

Former Rep. Ed Bryant (R) is considering a run for the expected open seat of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R).

Bryant told The Associated Press last week that he would entertain the idea of a second Senate run in the 2006 cycle. Bryant ran an unsuccessful primary challenge against now-Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) in 2002, taking 43 percent of the vote.

Prior to his Senate bid, Bryant had represented the western Tennessee 7th district since 1994.

If he made the race, Bryant would likely face primary opposition from Rep. Zach Wamp (R), who is already raising money and beginning to put together a statewide organization. Wamp showed $718,000 on hand at the end of June.

Former Rep. Van Hilleary (R), who lost a governor’s race in 2002, and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) are also mentioned as possible candidates.

On the Democratic side, Rep. Harold Ford Jr. is seen as the odds-on favorite for the nomination.

Ford has focused heavily on fundraising, showing $625,000 on hand through June.

Frist has indicated he will stand by his two-term limit pledge. He was elected in an open-seat contest in 1994 and ascended to the Senate’s top position in late 2002. He is seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2008.

— C.C.

Puerto Rico

Resident Commissioner Will Run for Governor

Resident Commissioner Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá, who announced last month that he would not seek a second term as Puerto Rico’s non-voting delegate in the House, has accepted the Popular Democratic Party’s nomination to run for governor of the commonwealth in 2004.

Last month, Acevedo-Vilá said he was considering running for mayor of San Juan, the island’s capital city, among other options.

The move comes as Gov. Sila Calderón, who is not seeking re-election, said she would step aside as president of the PDP, which favors maintaining the island’s commonwealth status.

Acevedo-Vilá, whose term ends in 2004, has pledged to fill out the remainder of his four-year Congressional term.

In the 2004 gubernatorial race, he will face the winner of a primary between New Progressive Party President Carlos Pesquera and Pedro Roselló, who served as the island’s governor from 1993 to 2000 (and whose tenure was tarnished by executive-level fraud). The Puerto Rican Independence Party has tapped Ruben Berrios Martinez, a former Puerto Rico Senator, as its candidate.

In line to fill Acevedo-Vilá’s open seat is the PDP’s Roberto Prats-Palerm, who currently serves in the Puerto Rico Senate. Those candidates squaring off for the NPP nomination include former Resident Commissioner Carlos Romero Barcelo, former Puerto Rico Sen. Charlie Rodriquez and Puerto Rico Sen. Miriam Ramirez. The PIP has drafted Edwin Irizarry Mora, a professor, as its nominee.

— Bree Hocking


Polls Apart: GOP Survey Shows Murkowski Lead

Three days after Democrats released a poll showing former Gov. Tony Knowles (D) 12 points ahead of Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) in a hypothetical 2004 match-up, the Republicans countered with a poll showing Murkowski three points ahead of Knowles.

The GOP poll, however, is more than two months old.

The poll, conducted May 4-6 by Moore Information, had Murkowski favored by 46 percent of voters, Knowles by 43 percent, with 11 percent undecided. The survey of 500 registered voters had a 4 percent margin of error.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee had released portions of the poll shortly after it was completed, but not the head-to-head numbers. The Moore survey was conducted before Knowles formally declared his intention to take on the freshman Senator.

Knowles, a former two-term governor and former mayor of Anchorage, was in Washington, D.C., last week. Among his stops: A dinner at the home of Democratic pollster Mark Penn. They were joined by Members of Congress, journalists, political operatives and campaign analysts Stuart Rothenberg (who is a Roll Call columnist) and Charlie Cook.

— J.K.


Boyd Unveils Team for Open-Seat Senate Race

Rep. Allen Boyd (D-Fla.) announced the formation of a campaign team last week, taking the next clear step toward seeking the Democratic nomination for Senate in the event there is an open seat in 2004.

In announcing his provisional candidacy for the seat of Sen. Bob Graham (D), Boyd, a Vietnam veteran, said his military background helps set him apart from the rest of the likely Democratic field.

Graham is currently seeking the Democratic nomination for president but has not ruled out running for a fourth term next November.

Responding to Boyd’s announcement, state Rep. Bev Kilmer (R) said the four-term Congressman has every right to “try and advance his political career.”

Kilmer, who outraised Boyd in the 2nd quarter of the year, is seeking the Republican nomination in Boyd’s 2nd district regardless of what Boyd ultimately decides to do.

Also seeking the Democratic Senate nomination if Graham does not are former state Education Commissioner Betty Castor, Rep. Peter Deutsch and Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) has formed an exploratory committee to look at the race.

— Lauren W. Whittington


Oberweis Enters Race, Foes Decry Dairy Ads

Millionaire dairyman Jim Oberweis (R) announced his Senate candidacy Thursday, amid calls by his opponents for his dairy business to stop airing an ad campaign that hit the airwaves just days before the official launch of his campaign.

Oberweis appears on camera in four commercials for Oberweis Dairy, a multi-million dollar company he chairs that has never run television ads before. He also serves as the president of Oberweis Funds, a brokerage firm.

Stacey Zolt, an Illinois spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, called on Oberweis to pull the ads Thursday after the party noted that a principal in the company that produced the dairy ads also did the commercials for Oberweis’ failed 2002 primary bid.

Oberweis finished second in the 2002 Senate primary, after spending $1 million of his own money and garnering the endorsement of Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). He has already pledged to dump at least $1 million in personal funds into this cycle’s race.

A number of other wealthy businessmen are also seeking the GOP nod, including Schwartz Paper Company President Andy McKenna, Goldman Sachs & Co. executive turned teacher Jack Ryan and businessman John Cox.

In Democratic campaign news last week, state Comptroller Dan Hynes, who is seeking the party’s Senate nomination, nabbed his first Congressional endorsement in 12th district Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.).

Illinois Democratic Reps. Lane Evans, Reps. Jesse Jackson, Jr. and Danny Davis are backing state Sen. Barack Obama in the Senate primary.

Other Democratic contenders in the race for retiring Sen. Peter Fitzgerald’s (R) seat include: former Chicago school board Chairman Gery Chico, millionaire businessman Blair Hull and health care consultant Joyce Washington.

— L.W.W.


Consultant Joins GOP Contest for Moran Seat

The second Republican to enter the race against Rep. Jim Moran (D), Lisa Marie Cheney was scheduled to announce her 8th district candidacy over the weekend.

According to a media advisory announcing her kick off campaign event, Cheney, 38, owns a government relations consulting firm based in Alexandria and is a lifelong resident of the suburban 8th district.

“I am not going to run against Moran as much as I am going to run for my neighbors, family and fellow residents of District 8,” Cheney said.

Melissa Martin, who recently moved to the district, is the only announced Republican in the race for the heavily Democratic seat. Capitol Police officer Mike Riccardi is also exploring a bid and a group of district residents are working to draft Defense Department official Andre Holis into the race.

Two Democrats have also announced they are challenging Moran in the primary, attorney Andy Rosenberg and outgoing Fairfax County Board Chairwoman Kate Hanley.

In March, Moran made controversial comments suggesting that Jews were pushing the nation toward war with Iraq. He later apologized and said the statement was taken out of context.

— L.W.W.


New Legislator Explores Mikulski Challenge

State Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R) is considering challenging three-term Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D) in 2004.

“I have had numerous conversations with E.J. about his emerging role in the Republican Party, and, yes, I would be thrilled if he decided to run for the United States Senate,” Maryland Republican Party Chairman John Kane told The Gazette newspaper on Friday. “He would certainly make an attractive candidate.”

Pipkin, 46, is a wealthy businessman who spent $600,000 of his own money en route to defeating an entrenched committee chairman to win a state Senate seat last year on the Eastern Shore. He is a fiscal conservative but was backed by the state’s environmental community in 2002.

One Republican source told The Gazette last week that Pipkin is considering commissioning a poll and has met with officials of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. To date, Democrats — and Republicans — have considered Mikulski safe.

Pipkin is also mentioned as a possible future candidate for the 1st Congressional district seat now held by Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R).

In related news, while Gilchrest was working on Capitol Hill last Wednesday, his Republican primary challenger, state Sen. Richard Colburn (R), was pressing the flesh at the annual J. Millard Tawes Crab Feast in Crisfield, a can’t-miss event for ambitious Maryland politicians. Gilchrest sent his chief of staff, Tony Caligiuri, in his place.

Colburn told The Gazette that he expected to raise $40,000 at a fundraiser this week. But as of Friday, the lawmaker had not filed his quarterly campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission.

FEC records showed that Colburn had $6,000 in his campaign account as of March 31. Gilchrest reported raising $99,000 in the last quarter and having $105,000 on hand.

— J.K.


Radio Hosts Signs Off From Race for Ose Seat

Radio talk show host Tom Sullivan took himself out of the mix in the Republican race to replace self-term-limited Rep. Doug Ose (R) in the Sacramento-based 3rd district next year.

Sullivan told the Sacramento Bee that he did not have the “patience” for the job. His departure leaves state Sen. Rico Oller (R) as the only declared candidate for the seat, though former state Attorney General Dan Lungren (R) — the GOP nominee for governor in 1998 and a former Congressman from the Long Beach area — is also considering running.

Democrats believe they also have a shot at the open seat, though no one is running yet.

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