MISSOURI: Bond Leads By 10 But Democrats Are Hopeful
Sen. Kit Bond (R) held a 10-point edge over state Treasurer Nancy Farmer (D) in a recent poll conducted for the Democrat’s campaign.
Bond took 49 percent to 39 percent for Farmer in a Decision Research poll, which was in the field Feb. 14-19. It tested 800 likely voters and had a 3.5 percent margin of error.
Pollster Bob Meadow pointed out that only 29 percent of those polled felt Missouri was on the right track, while 50 percent thought it was headed on the wrong track.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) held a 49 percent to 46 percent lead over President Bush in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup in the Show Me State, one of the principal battlegrounds in the 2004 race.
“Change is something people are looking for,” Meadow concluded.
Bond has held the Senate seat since 1986, although he has never received more than 53 percent of the vote.
Farmer has been in her current post since 2000.
Bond held a huge fundraising advantage at the end of 2003; his campaign committee showed $4.3 million on hand to Farmer’s $609,000.
— Chris Cillizza
Zupancic Sics FEC on His Primary Opponent
Attorney Jim Zupancic accused his GOP rival, state Sen. Jackie Winters, of violating federal election law last week.
She responded with a poll showing her in the lead in the May 18 5th district GOP primary race, though she declined to be specific.
Zupancic charges that Winters flouted the law by using state campaign funds to promote her Congressional candidacy.
In question is a newspaper advertisement Winters had inserted into a local paper touting her accomplishments in the state Senate at the end of the session.
Zupancic says it boosts her federal candidacy and filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, which is investigating the matter.
Furthermore, it violates the ban on soft money because it was paid for, in part, with corporate money received by her state political action committee, which cut the check for the ad, he charged.
Winters’ campaign denies the charge, saying it was merely a progress report on the Legislature’s session.
Zupancic’s own complaint concedes that Winters made no mention of her run for Congress in the ad.
“While the report does not mention [Winters’] candidacy for federal office, the clear effect of this advertisement is to promote and support” Winters, he said.
Zupancic also notes that the leaflet was distributed outside of her state Senate district.
No sooner had Zupancic filed his claim than Winters announced the findings of a poll conducted on her behalf by Moore Information Public Opinion Research, a Republican firm.
The sampling of 300 GOP voters, which had a margin of error of 6 percent, shows Winters in the lead “outside the margin of error,” though her campaign declined to reveal the exact numbers, said Darryl Howard, her campaign manager.
The primary winner faces Rep. Darlene Hooley (D).
— Nicole Duran
2 Senators, Alexander Helping Melancon
Former American Sugar Cane League President Charlie Melancon’s (D) campaign for the 3rd district got a big boost Monday night as Sens. Mary Landrieu (D) and John Breaux (D) as well as Rep. Rodney Alexander (D) hosted a Washington, D.C., fundraiser for him.
Melancon’s campaign would not offer a financial target for the event.
The timing of 3rd district Rep. Billy Tauzin’s (R) departure from Congress remains uncertain, although he is being heavily pressured by House Republican leadership to stay in his seat until the end of the summer in hopes of avoiding a special election.
Melancon is the only announced candidate for the seat. He has raised $150,000 so far for the race and said he expects to have between $300,000 and $400,000 in the bank by the end of March.
Former Sen. Bennett Johnston (D-La.) aide Charmaine Cacciopi, state Reps. Jack Smith and Gary Smith and state Sens. Reggie Dupre and Warren Triche are mentioned on the Democratic side.
For Republicans, former state Rep. Hunt Downer was seen as Tauzin’s natural replacement but has backed away slightly from the race in recent days.
Tauzin’s son, Billy Tauzin III, is interested in the contest and is expected to put a poll in the field this week to test his chances.
Republican state Sen. Craig Romero is also interested.
All of the eventual candidates will run in an open primary on Nov. 2; if none receives 50 percent of the vote, the two top votegetters, regardless of party, advance to a Dec. 4 runoff.
Ryun Running Strong Against Businesswoman
Rep. Jim Ryun (R) held a 28 point lead over businesswoman Nancy Boyda (D) in a poll conducted for her campaign earlier this month.
Ryun received 56 percent to 28 percent for Boyda; he was known by 87 percent of the district voters, while Boyda was known by only 12 percent.
Boyda’s campaign strategists argued that putting aside the head-to-head number, which, they believe, is a reflection of Ryun’s significant name identification edge, the internal numbers in the survey bode well for them.
A Republican candidate holds only a 4 point lead over a Democratic candidate on the generic ballot test; President Bush leads Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) by only a 47 percent to 42 percent margin in a hypothetical presidential matchup.
Ryun, a former Olympic runner, has held the 2nd district easily since winning it in 1996.
Stretching north to south across most of eastern Kansas, the district includes the state capital of Topeka as well as the city of Manhattan, where Kansas State University is located.
In the 2000 presidential election Bush won a 54 percent to 41 percent victory in the district, although Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) carried it with 57 percent in her 2002 win.
The poll was conducted for Boyda by Cooper & Secrest Associates on Feb. 5 and Feb 7-9. It tested 506 likely voters with a 4.4 percent margin of error.
Hastert to Raise Money for Kilmer This Week
As one of the most highly touted GOP challengers this cycle, state Rep. Bev Kilmer (R) is getting some high-powered fundraising help, with House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) scheduled to swing in for a fundraiser this week.
Hastert will appear on Friday at a $250-per-person luncheon in Tallahassee on behalf of Kilmer, who is challenging Rep. Allen Boyd (D) in November.
Kilmer told the Tallahassee Democrat she expects that Hastert will be only the first of several well-known Republican leaders who will visit the district in coming months.
“We’re going to get more attention and high-ranking people than Tallahassee has ever seen before,” Kilmer told the newspaper. “We’re trying to put Tallahassee on the map for Republicans because everybody assumes it’s so Democratic.”
Boyd has not faced a serious challenge since first winning the rural panhandle district in 1996.
— Lauren W. Whittington
Maloney Isn’t Leaving, Former Aide Writes
PoliticsNY.com, the Web site for Empire State political gossip, speculated last week that Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D) may be thinking of retiring this year after a dozen years in Congress.
Under the scenario sketched out on the Web site, Maloney would announce her retirement after the filing deadline for the race, enabling Manhattan Democrats to choose her designated successor — New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller (D), a former Maloney aide.
Miller, the Web site theorized, would much prefer a slam-dunk Congressional race than the bruising 2005 Democratic mayoral primary he is preparing to enter.
But Miller quickly shot down the speculation with a letter posted on PoliticsNY.com a day after the originally item appeared.
“Your gossip story alleging that Carolyn Maloney might retire from Congress gives new meaning to the term ridiculous,” he wrote.
Without mentioning his own political future — he is term-limited from the Council — Miller said Maloney plans to serve in Congress until she can become the first woman to chair the Financial Services Committee, “where she can deliver the most for New York’s economy.”
— Josh Kurtz
Conservatives Question GOP Senate Favorite
The small but feisty Conservative Party is preparing to exert its influence on the Empire State Republican Party once again.
No sooner did the state’s GOP establishment rally around Assemblyman Howard Mills III (R) as its preferred challenger to well-stocked Sen. Charles Schumer (D) this year than Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long began touting a candidate of his own.
The New York Post reported Monday that Long is urging Marilyn O’Grady, a Long Island ophthalmologist, to enter the Senate race — at least as a Conservative, and possibly as a Republican as well.
“She’s seriously considering it, and I’m leaning heavily that she’s going to get into the fray,” Long told Post political columnist Fred Dicker.
The article quoted Conservative leaders as saying that Mills, who has the blessing of the New York Republican chairman and operatives close to Gov. George Pataki (R), is not conservative enough to win the third party’s endorsement.
O’Grady has already announced her intention to seek the Republican nomination in the 4th House district, where she was the Republican-Conservative nominee against Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D) in 2002. O’Grady took 43 percent of the vote against McCarthy, despite being outspent by almost 6-to-1.
Republicans have another highly touted candidate in the 4th — Hempstead Mayor James Garner.
Former financial services worker Michael Benjamin is also seeking the Republican Senate nomination.
Embattled Sheriff Loses His Campaign Manager
Perhaps it’s no surprise that the only paid campaign aide to Pueblo County Sheriff Dan Corsentino (R), whose campaign to succeed retiring Rep. Scott McInnis (R) has been rocked by allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances to four women, has left.
The Rocky Mountain News reported Friday that campaign manager Dan Diekmann, a former press aide to Gov. Bill Owens (R), resigned.
“We agreed that it was best for me to move on and pursue other opportunities,” Diekmann told the newspaper.
In addition to the harassment charges, the Pueblo district attorney is looking into allegations that people connected to the Corsentino campaign tried to use semi-nude photographs of one of his accusers to get her to recant her accusations. The DA is now also looking into allegations that a sheriff’s deputy has been working for Corsentino’s campaign while being paid by the county.
Corsentino is one of a half-dozen Republicans seeking to replace McInnis in the 3rd district on the Western Slope. The district is expected to be competitive between the two parties, with state Rep. John Salazar the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.
Ziser Still Likely 2004 GOP Senate Nominee
Another GOP official has opted out of the Senate battle.
Secretary of State Dean Heller joins a long list of Republican recruits who have declined to take on Silver State Sen. Harry Reid (D), beginning with Rep. Jim Gibbons (R) last summer.
Once again, conservative activist Richard Ziser finds himself the frontrunner in advance of the Sept. 17 primary that features no top-tier candidates.
Schwarz Enters Race With Moderates’ Help
Former state Sen. Joe Schwarz (R) has finally announced his official entry into the GOP primary to succeed retiring Rep. Nick Smith (R).
Even before he filed the paperwork he enjoyed the backing of the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership PAC, which announced last week it would support him in the six-way primary in the open 7th district seat.
By contrast, lawyer Brad Smith, who hopes to succeed his father, can tout endorsements from the party’s more conservative wing.
The younger Smith has former Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) and one-time presidential aspirant Steve Forbes on his side.
Both men face four past or present state legislators in the Aug. 3 primary, while only one Democrat, Jason Seagraves, has filed so far.
Two Republicans Take Aim at Rep. Cannon
In the heavily Republican 3rd district, the real battle will be waged in the June 22 primary, and Rep. Chris Cannon (R) is not getting a pass.
Despite winning his fourth term with 67 percent of the vote, he has drawn two challengers — the latest being one he vanquished at the 2002 state convention.
Matt Throckmorton, a former state legislator, wants another crack at Cannon while attorney Greg Hawkins, a 2000 Senate candidate and 1998 lieutenant governor candidate, has already entered the fray.
In a district that went 75 percent for President Bush in 2000, no Democrat has filed yet.
NWPC Loves California, Supports Newcomers
The National Women’s Political Caucus recently announced its latest round of Senate and House endorsements of the cycle — the bulk of them coming in California, where primaries are being held today.
In addition to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and 17 Democratic female House Members from California, the NWPC also endorsed Lisa Quigley (D), who is running for the seat of her boss, retiring Rep. Cal Dooley (D-Calif.).
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Missouri Treasurer Nancy Farmer (D), who is challenging Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), and former Florida Superintendent of Education Betty Castor (D), who is running for an open Senate seat, also picked up endorsements.
Among House candidates running for open seats or challenging Republican incumbents, the NWPC has endorsed Melissa Bean (D), who is challenging Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.); Pennsylvania state Sen. Allyson Schwartz (D), who is running for an open seat in the Philadelphia area; Jan Schneider (D), who is seeking a rematch with Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.); and Florida state Sen. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D), who is running for Rep. Peter Deutsch’s (D) seat.