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VIRGINIA: Election Day Baby Has Sights on Moran Seat

Robb Rourke is set to formally announce his campaign for Congress this weekend, becoming the latest Republican to enter the race for Rep. Jim Moran’s (D) 8th district seat.

Rourke, who said he has already announced he’s running, has a campaign kickoff event planned for Sept. 21 at the Crystal City Sports Pub.

A self-described “house parent,” Rourke moved to the suburban Northern Virginia district three years ago and is originally from Texas, where he said his family had always been involved in Democratic politics.

He believes he may have a leg up on the other candidates in the uphill race because he was born on Election Day in 1958.

Two other Republicans are already vying for the party’s nomination in the June 8, 2004, primary: government relations consultant Lisa Marie Cheney and nonprofit director Melissa Martin. Capitol Police officer Mike Riccardi is exploring a run, and Defense Department official Andre Hollis is also considered a potential candidate in the race.

The heavily Democratic district spans the Washington, D.C., suburbs from Arlington County and Alexandria to portions of Fairfax County. Moran is being challenged by at least two Democrats next year: outgoing Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Kate Hanley and Washington attorney Andy Rosenberg. — Lauren W. Whittington


Cheney Raises Money For Burr and Hayes

Vice President Cheney traveled to the Tar Heel State on Friday to raise money for Rep. Robin Hayes (R) and the Senate campaign of Rep. Richard Burr (R).

Cheney held a lunchtime fundraiser for Hayes in Charlotte and then made his way to a Raleigh event for Burr in the evening.

Hayes is a perennial Democratic target in his 8th district, which sprawls across much of central North Carolina and into the Charlotte suburbs. After winning an open-seat race in 1998, he was convincingly re-elected in 2000 and 2002.

No Democrats have formally entered the 2004 race, although 2002 nominee Chris Khouri is regularly mentioned.

Burr is vacating the Winston-Salem based seat he has held since 1994 to run in the now-open Senate race.

He has already proven himself a strong fundraiser, banking $3.4 million, the most of any 2004 Senate challenger.

Burr is likely to face 2002 Senate nominee Erskine Bowles (D) in the general election. (See story pg. 11) — Chris Cillizza


Poll: Bond Would Beat Gephardt in Senate Race

Sen. Kit Bond (R) led Rep. Richard Gephardt (D) in a hypothetical matchup, a new independent poll showed last week.

Bond received 51 percent to 43 percent for Gephardt, the 13-term House Member who is running for president.

The survey was conducted Sept. 8 and 9 by Research 2000. It tested 600 likely voters with a 4 percent margin of error.

Gephardt campaign operatives have repeatedly denied that he is considering a Senate run and insist that he is entirely focused on his presidential bid; he will retire from the House regardless.

State Treasurer Nancy Farmer was recruited by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and is currently raising money to challenge Bond. Farmer recently received a $5,000 contribution from Sen. Tom Daschle’s (D-S.D.) leadership political action committee, according to a Democratic source.

Farmer’s campaign released a poll just prior to her entrance that showed her trailing Bond 51 percent to 38 percent.

Bond won the Senate seat in 1986 but has never been re-elected with more than 53 percent of the vote. — C.C.

Metzl Starts Exploratory Effort for McCarthy Race

Taking another step toward his likely candidacy, former Council on Former Relations fellow Jamie Metzl (D) filed an exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission that allows him to raise money for a 5th district race.

“I’m continuing to talk with people about how to work with others to build the best future for this district and this country,” Metzl told the Kansas City Star.

Metzl is preparing to challenge embattled Rep. Karen McCarthy (D); public policy consultant Damian Thorman is already in the race.

McCarthy’s political future remains uncertain after an incident in the Capitol led her to undergo treatment for alcoholism. She has since returned to her Congressional duties but continues to be dogged by rampant staff changes, including the loss of two chiefs of staff.

The Kansas City-based district is strongly Democratic and would have given then-Vice President Al Gore 60 percent of the vote in the 2000 presidential election. — C.C.


Ken Starr to Headline Sept. 25 Lungren Event

Former California Attorney General Dan Lungren (R) has scheduled a Sept. 25 fundraiser for his nascent Congressional campaign, another signal that he is all but certain to run for the Sacramento-based seat being vacated by Rep. Doug Ose (R) in 2004.

According to the Sacramento Bee, former Whitewater special prosecutor Kenneth Starr will be the star attraction at the $2,000-a-head affair, which will be held at the home of Rick Fowler, an insurance executive who considered running for the 3rd district seat.

“This is just a small beginning,” Lungren said of the fundraiser. “This is close to being serious now.”

Lungren represented the Long Beach area in the House for a decade before becoming attorney general and moving his residence to Sacramento. He was the GOP’s unsuccessful nominee for governor in 1998.

State Sen. Rico Oller (R) is already seeking the House seat, and moderate Republicans hold out hope one of their own will also enter the race. Democrats believe they can be competitive there, though no candidates have come forward. — Josh Kurtz


DCCC Hoping Scandal Tars Possible Bishop Foe

House Democrats are hoping a wide-ranging corruption investigation focusing on Suffolk County Republicans puts the kibosh on the possible 1st district candidacy of Brookhaven Town Supervisor John Jay LaValle (R).

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee last week circulated a Newsday article which reported that the Suffolk County district attorney had subpoenaed Brookhaven town records in an investigation focusing on the county Republican leader, Thomas Neppell.

Although LaValle does not appear to be a direct target of the investigation, the DA is probing the town’s relationship with an insurance agency that Neppell owns. And Suffolk Republicans, who once ruled the Long Island county with an iron fist, appear to be in decline at the moment.

LaValle, a rising star in state Republican circles, is considered the best — and at this stage, only — potential GOP challenger to freshman Rep. Tim Bishop (D) in 2004. Bishop won his seat against a politically damaged freshman, then-Rep. Felix Grucci (R), by just 2,700 votes. LaValle has said he will decide on the House race after his re-election contest this November. — J.K.


Missing Senators Return, Redistricting Proceeding

A third special session of the state Legislature aimed at redrawing Congressional lines convened Monday, with the 11 Democrats who had fled the state for nearly six weeks returning to the chamber.

As he had promised, state Sen. John Whitmire (D) was the first Democrat on the floor, ensuring that Republicans would have the necessary quorum to vote on a redistricting bill.

Whitmire broke the Democrats’ holdout in New Mexico last week when he announced he would return to the state and allow Republicans a vote on redistricting, arguing that the partisan warfare over the issue was likely to poison relationships between the two parties on other issues.

The other 10 Senate Democrats entered the chamber shortly afterward to rousing applause, according to The Associated Press.

It now seems likely that sometime in the next 30 days Republicans will assert their majorities in the state House and Senate to pass a bill that would redraw the state’s lines to elect more GOPers to Congress.

Democrats currently have a 17-15 majority in the delegation, and Republicans led by Majority Leader Tom DeLay (Texas) have pushed for a plan that would change the partisanship of between four and six seats. — C.C

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