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SOUTH DAKOTA: Three Ohio GOPers Host Fundraiser for Diedrich

Ohio Republican Reps. Mike Oxley, Bob Ney and Steven LaTourette will host a March 23 fundraiser to benefit state Sen. Larry Diedrich, the party’s nominee in the June 1 South Dakota special House election.

The Washington, D.C., event comes just one week before White House senior adviser Karl Rove holds another event for Diedrich.

The first fundraiser asks for $1,000 contributions by political action committees and $500 donations by individuals.

Oxley is the current chairman of the Financial Services Committee, while Ney chairs the House Administration Committee.

Diedrich must make up a significant funding gap with Democratic nominee Stephanie Herseth, who was in the race several months before Diedrich secured his party’s nomination in January.

At the end of 2003, Herseth showed $354,000 on hand and her campaign estimates that she has now raised more than $800,000.

Diedrich had not begun to actively raise money by year’s end but had $34,000 left in his campaign account from a brief Congressional run in 2002.

Herseth has already begun a television advertising campaign, as has the National Republican Congressional Committee. Neither Diedrich nor the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has run ads.

The special election was set off by the Jan. 20 resignation of Rep. Bill Janklow (R).

Janklow left the seat following his conviction on second-degree manslaughter charges for an August 2003 traffic accident that left a motorcyclist dead.
— Chris Cillizza

Ex-Casino Chief to Launch His House Bid

Tom Gallagher (D), a former casino president, will officially announce his candidacy for the Silver State’s 3rd district seat today, according to a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee official.

Gallagher, who was the chief of Park Place Entertainment Corp., decided to take on freshman Rep. Jon Porter (R) in the swing district despite Porter’s huge fundraising lead.

“The real question is, why not?” the Las Vegas Review-Journal quoted Gallagher as saying at a local Democratic convention Saturday.

“Put simply, we’re fed up,” he told the group about the GOP Congressional leadership and Porter’s acquiescence to it.

“We’re fed up with those who have placed ideology above principle; with those who have squandered America’s role as the leader of the free world.”

Rick DeVoe (D), a Las Vegas construction worker, is already in the race, and Mark Budetich, who lost the Democratic primary in 2002, is expected to run again.

In 2002 Porter beat Dario Herrera — whose campaign was marred by ethics scandals — 56 percent to 37 percent, but former Vice President Al Gore would have won the 3rd, 49 percent to 48 percent in the 2000 presidential election.
— Nicole Duran

Boxer in Midst of 3-Day Swing for Re-election

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) is winding up a three-day announcement swing through the Golden State, officially launching her bid for a third term.

Boxer starts the day in Fresno and will make her way south by bus, stopping at several agricultural communities and eventually winding up at a rally in East Los Angeles. She began her tour in San Francisco on Tuesday, then flew to Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento. She went from Sacramento to the Central Valley on Wednesday, again traveling by bus.

According to several news accounts, Boxer has attempted to portray her challenger, former California Secretary of State Bill Jones (R), as far too conservative for the Golden State electorate.

“It’s nothing personal, but you’re either on the side of the people or you’re not,” the Los Angeles Times quoted Boxer as saying. “On issue after issue, my opponent’s record and positions are far on the wrong side.”

The most recent public polls showed Boxer leading Jones by 10 points.
— Josh Kurtz

Cubin May Face Two Challengers in Primary

Five-term Rep. Barbara Cubin (R) has drawn a primary challenger for the state’s at-large seat, and another could soon follow.

Bruce Asay, a Cheyenne attorney, entered the race last week, the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle reported. And state Sen. Cale Case is also contemplating the race, according to The Casper Star-Tribune.

Saying “I fall short” if the only credential needed to serve is incumbency, Asay said the Equality State needs “someone who will represent our interests” since it has only one House Member.

Asay has done legal work for the state’s Public Service Commission and the attorney general in addition to his private practice.

He has also served as assistant adjutant general of the Wyoming Air National Guard and will assume that post again later in the year.

2002 Democratic nominee Ron Akin, a retired Army officer, and Ted Ladd, a management consultant, will face off in the August Democratic primary.
— N.D.

9 Democratic Women Help Senior Senator

The Senate’s nine Democratic women will be swimming with the fishes soon.

Not really.

But all nine are scheduled to appear at a March 22 fundraiser for one of their own, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D), at the National Aquarium in Baltimore.

Ticket prices for the aquarium are expensive enough, but this event will be even more so. The reception costs $250, and the dinner costs $1,000. Wonder if they’ll be serving seafood.

Mikulski is heavily favored to win a fourth term in her contest against freshman state Sen. E.J. Pipkin (R).
— J.K.

GOP Primary Possible in Long Island District

As former Southampton Village Trustee William Manger continues to stump for the Republican nomination in the 1st district, Newsday reported recently that he could face opposition in the GOP primary from seven-term Suffolk County legislator Michael Caracciolo (R).

While Caracciolo has not begun raising money for the race, he is something of a gadfly who frequently finds himself at odds with GOP leaders, according to Newsday columnist Rick Brand. A strong environmentalist, Caracciolo could wind up switching parties if he loses the GOP Congressional primary.

The eastern Long Island-based 1st is far and away the most competitive district in the Empire State this year. Freshman Rep. Tim Bishop (D) defeated then-Rep. Felix Grucci (R) by 2,700 votes in 2002, though Grucci’s wounds were largely self-inflicted.

The district has been represented by both Democrats and Republicans in the past several years. Bishop cut a break recently when the GOP’s most attractive potential challenger, Brookhaven Town Supervisor John Jay LaValle, announced that he would not run.

Meanwhile, challengers to entrenched incumbents appear to be emerging in two Rochester-area districts, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported Tuesday.

Michael Laba (R), a 29-year-old former aide to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, is talking to party leaders about challenging nine-term Rep. Louise Slaughter (D) in the 28th district. Erie County legislator Charles Swanick (R), a former Democrat, is also eyeing the race, the newspaper said.

Two Democrats are already vying for the right to take on Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) in the adjacent 26th district: 2002 nominee Ayesha Nariman, a financial planner, and Jack Davis, owner of a small manufacturing company. Davis told the newspaper that he plans to spend $500,000 of his own money on the race.
— J.K.

Owens Challenger Took Corporate Contributions

New York City Councilwoman Tracy Boyland (D), who is challenging Rep. Major Owens (D) in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary, has run afoul of the Federal Election Commission by accepting corporate donations for her campaign.

The Courier Life newspapers in Brooklyn last week reported that Boyland has agreed to return at least $20,000 in contributions from corporations, which are prohibited from giving to federal candidates.

Boyland blamed the mix-up on her campaign treasurer, who she said is more familiar with New York campaign finance rules than the federal law.

“My treasurer is very inexperienced,” she told the newspaper. “She was excited about the broad-based support that we got. She deposited all the checks that we’ve gotten.”

Boyland is the leading Democratic challenger in the race against Owens, but she is not the only one. Owens, who is seeking a 12th term, has made himself potentially vulnerable by announcing that he plans to retire in 2006.

City Councilwoman Yvette Clarke (D) — whose mother and predecessor Una Clarke gave Owens a strong primary challenge in 2000 — has said she also plans to run. Gabriel Toks Pearse, a self-described Democratic political consultant, is already in the race.

Several ambitious Democratic officeholders who would like to run for the 11th district seat when Owens retires are also watching to see what develops. Some have held open the possibility of jumping in this year’s race.

Owens’ son, former local school board member Chris Owens (D), is expected to try to succeed his father in 2006.
— J.K.

Winters Endorsed by Right to Life PAC in 5th

State Sen. Jackie Winters (R) has won the backing of Oregon’s Right to Life political action committee.

She faces attorney and businessman Jim Zupancic in the Republican primary for the 5th district seat currently held by Rep. Darlene Hooley (D).

The group has backed Winters in her previous state elections.
— N.D.

Four Unions Back One of Sensenbrenner’s Foes

Political newcomer Bryan Kennedy (D) has snagged the endorsements of four labor unions.

The Milwaukee Building and Construction Trades Council, Sheet Metal Workers Local 18, Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 35, and the National Association of Retired Federal Employees Chapter 94 have gotten on board with Kennedy.

Kennedy is squaring off against Oconomowoc Mayor Gary Kohlenberg in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary.

The winner gets to challenge 12-term Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R) for the Badger State’s 5th district.
— N.D.

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