WASHINGTON: GOP Field for Dunn Seat Getting Crowded

Posted March 3, 2004 at 5:45pm

Two new Republicans have jumped into the race to succeed retiring Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R) in the 8th district.

Diane Tebelius, a former federal prosecutor and GOP official, and state Sen. Luke Esser have each said in recent days that they will join King County Sheriff Dave Reichert in the Republican primary.

Tebelius sits on the Republican National Committee and served as state vice chairwoman of Bob Dole’s (R) presidential campaign in 1996.

Esser was elected to the state Senate in 2002 after spending four years in the state House.

“I think Luke is clearly a rising star in the Republican Party,” Washington state GOP Chairman Chris Vance told The Seattle Times on Wednesday. “He’s popular in the grassroots, he knows how to campaign, he knows how to win tough primaries.”

Vance told the newspaper that he is not worried about a tough primary weakening the eventual nominee in what is certain to be a swing district.

Two Democrats are already in the race, RealNetworks executive Alex Alben, who was prepared to take on Dunn before her surprise decision to leave Congress this year, and interior designer Heidi Behrens-Benedict, who lost in the three previous elections to Dunn.

Meanwhile, in the 1st district, Republicans are still looking for someone to run against Rep. Jay Inslee (D) after King County Councilwoman Jane Hague unexpectedly dropped out last month. Roger Stark, a heart surgeon who began running last year, has said he will not re-enter the race. He had filed to run last year but then deferred to Hague. He is now mulling a run for the state House.
— Nicole Duran

State’s First Responders Answer Murray’s Call

Sen. Patty Murray (D) picked up endorsements from three emergency personnel organizations last week.

The Washington councils of fire fighters and police and sheriffs, along with the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association, threw Murray their support at a Seattle event last week.

Murray is expected to face Rep. George Nethercutt (R) in the general election.
— N.D.

1st President Bush to Help JoePa’s Son Scott

When he first won the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, George H.W. Bush had his name placed into nomination at the GOP convention by Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach.

Now Bush is returning the favor.

The 41st president is scheduled to headline a Washington, D.C., fundraiser on March 12 for Scott Paterno, one of a half-dozen Republicans seeking to take on Rep. Tim Holden (D) in the 17th district this November.

According to the Web site PoliticsPA.com, the $2,000-a-ticket fundraiser will be held at the Capitol Hill home of Ronald Kaufman, who was White House political director during the first Bush administration. Scott Paterno, a lawyer who works for the Pennsylvania Senate Republicans, is Joe Paterno’s son.

News of the upcoming fundraiser got a swift critique from the campaign manager of one of Paterno’s GOP primary opponents, teacher Ron Hostetler (who is himself a former Penn State football star).

“We’re not surprised,” Tim Ireland told PoliticsPA.com. “Scotty has been nursed and burped through the campaign by state Senate leaders. They’re backroom veterans who know how to raise money and secure endorsements. How else could anyone with as thin a résumé as Scotty’s have gotten this far?”
— Josh Kurtz

2 Democrats Take Shots At Sensenbrenner Votes

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R) is taking heat from both of his Democratic opponents on votes he’s taken in Congress.

The harshest attack came from political newcomer Bryan Kennedy, who accused the Judiciary Committee chairman of voting to give President Bush the authority to use force in Iraq based on his stock portfolio.

“Sensenbrenner was voting with his wallet,” Kennedy charged. “We need to ensure that our future foreign policy is not determined by corporate America but by everyday Americans.”

Kennedy claims Sensenbrenner owns stock in “Halliburton, BP Amoco and Exxon Mobil, as well as other companies that are getting rich ‘rebuilding’ Iraq.”

In response, Sensenbrenner spokesman Rajesh Bharwani said his boss is “in full compliance with House rules on ethics. As a matter of fact, he provides information above and beyond what most Members of the House do” in regards to financial disclosure.

“Mr. Sensenbrenner details his stock portfolio, bank accounts and major assets, as well as taxes paid, in the Congressional Record,” Bharwani said.

Kennedy’s Democratic primary opponent, Oconomowoc Mayor Gary Kohlenberg, chastised Sensenbrenner for his stance on the Head Start program.

By voting to move funding and administration for the early education program from the federal government to the states, Sensenbrenner has actually undercut the program, Kohlenberg charged.

“This encourages insolvent states to eliminate pre-school program funding, not supplement it,” he said. “Voting for the modified Head Start program is like pushing a man down the stairs to help him get to the bottom quicker.”

Sensenbrenner shot back: “I have long held the belief that education is best handled at the state and local level. When it comes to what’s best for our students, it’s parents, teachers and local school officials who ought to have the most input on the issues that affect our kids.

“Opponents of my position prefer letting federal government bureaucrats, instead of Wisconsin state officials, have more say on how Wisconsin’s education funds should be spent, implying a lack of faith in Governor [Jim] Doyle’s [D] administration,” he added.
— N.D.