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Tancredo, Immigration Foe, Says Ga.’s Price Is Right

Georgia state Sen. Tom Price (R) recently received the endorsement of Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), chairman of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, in the 6th district GOP primary.

“I have examined all the candidates in the race for the open seat in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia, and I have concluded that you are the candidate who can be counted on to support vigorous enforcement of our immigration laws and decisive efforts to halt the flow of illegal immigration across our borders,” Tancredo wrote Price in an endorsement letter.

In a follow-up letter, Tancredo responded to charges by Price’s opponents that the state Senator has supported issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

“Your strong stand has always been to make certain this did not happen,” Tancredo wrote Price.

Price is one of the leading candidates vying to replace Rep. Johnny Isakson (R), who is running for Senate. Other top contenders in the race are state Sens. Chuck Clay and Robert Lamutt.

If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in the July 20 primary, an Aug. 10 runoff will be held.
— Lauren W. Whittington

After Convention, Two GOP Primaries on Tap

Utah Republicans will face at least six more weeks of intraparty warfare in the battles for the GOP nod in two of its three House districts.

No Republican in the 2nd or 3rd districts succeeded in receiving 60 percent of delegates’ votes — the percentage needed to forgo a primary — at Saturday’s state GOP convention.

In the swing 2nd district, software executive Tim Bridgewater received 54 percent of the vote to former state Rep. John Swallow’s 46 percent in the race for the chance to take on Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson in the general election. A third candidate, Salt Lake County Councilman David Wilde was eliminated at the convention.

Swallow, who received fewer votes at the 2002 convention — only to go on to best Bridgewater in the primary — has proven himself a prodigious fundraiser.

Heading into the convention last week, he had more than $300,000 on hand, having raised far more than $600,000 for his campaign. Meanwhile last week, Bridgewater had about $243,000 on hand, much of that in personal loans.

The winner of the primary will compete in what is expected to be a very tight general election contest with Matheson, who has prevailed despite the strong GOP underpinnings in the district.

In the central 3rd district, four-term Rep. Chris Cannon (R), who just narrowly missed avoiding a primary, netted 57 percent of the convention vote to former state Rep. Matt Throckmorton’s 42 percent. A third candidate, attorney Greg Hawkins, was defeated at the convention. While neither is considered a fundraising powerhouse, Cannon is heavily favored. As of April 18, Cannon had just $26,791 on hand, while Throckmorton — who had unsuccessfully challenged Cannon at the 2002 convention — had a mere $3,300.

First district Rep. Rob Bishop (R) was not opposed for his party’s nomination.
— Bree Hocking

Murkowski Is Choice of Half of Primary Voters

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) took just more than half of the Republican primary vote against former state Senate President Mike Miller (R), a new poll conducted by a GOP pollster has found.

In the poll of 508 likely primary voters, taken in late April and early May, Murkowski was favored by 53 percent of those surveyed. Miller took 19 percent, with the rest opting for other candidates or unsure.

Murkowski did have a 70 percent approval rating among the Republicans surveyed by Anchorage-based Dittman Research, which has worked for the Senator’s father, Gov. Frank Murkowski (R), in the past.

Pollster David Dittman said that despite the current numbers, Miller, who spent 18 years in the state Legislature, “is expected to be a strong challenger” in the August primary.

The winner will face former Gov. Tony Knowles (D).
— Josh Kurtz

Rodriguez Cuts Deficit as Voting Trial Begins

With the lawsuit in the contested 28th district primary scheduled to go to trial today, Rep. Ciro Rodriguez (D) has crept closer in the vote count to the man who appears to have beaten him.

A second recount of Democratic primary ballots in former Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar’s (D) home county late last week cut Rodriguez’s deficit from 203 votes to just 58 votes.

Rodriguez held a slim lead over Cuellar after the primary ballots were first counted in March. But a recount produced several dozen ballots in Cuellar’s home territory that had not originally been tallied, putting the challenger ahead by 203 votes.

Rodriguez sued, alleging voter irregularities. That case is expected to be heard in Laredo today.

The judge in the case had called for a second recount in two counties, which is why the margin between Cuellar and Rodriguez was reduced. If the judge dismisses Rodriguez’s suit, the four-term Congressman plans to take his case to federal court.

The eventual winner will face Republican Jim Hopson in the general election, but the Democrat will be heavily favored.
— J.K.

Norton Launches Bid for 7th Term Saturday

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) will formally kick off her campaign for a seventh term on Saturday.

Norton, first elected to office in 1990, is scheduled make the announcement at the AFL-CIO’s headquarters on 16th Street Northwest.

The incumbent, who won re-election in 2002 with 93 percent of the vote, is unlikely to face competition in the Sept. 14 primary. Norton will likely face Republican Michael Monroe, who announced his bid earlier this year, in the November election for the District’s nonvoting Congressional seat. He will be 25 years old prior to the general election — old enough to serve if he wins.

Monroe, 24, runs his own communications firm and serves as marketing director for the Chef Geoff’s restaurant group.

According to Federal Election Commission reports, Norton’s re-election campaign had $145,536 in cash on hand as of March 31. Candidates cannot officially file nominating petitions with the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics until June 14. The deadline for turning in the petitions is July 7.
— Jennifer Yachnin

Webster Leaves Senate Field as Deadline Passes

State Sen. Daniel Webster (R) ended his uphill Senate bid late last week, opting instead to run for re-election. He made the decision on Friday, the last day for federal candidates to file in the Sunshine State.

Webster, 55, had been campaigning for the seat of retiring Sen. Bob Graham (D) since August, but his campaign had been dogged by sluggish fundraising and single-digit poll numbers.

Webster told the Orlando Sentinel that his decision was not based on polls or money but a feeling “just within my own spirit” that it was not the right thing to do. Webster, a former state House Speaker, had $272,000 in the bank at the end of March.

“It really wasn’t a matter of win or lose,” Webster said, according to the newspaper. “I just felt like I shouldn’t be in this race.”

His departure from the contest still leaves a crowded field of Republicans and Democrats in the winner-take-all Aug. 31 primary. Webster declined to endorse any of the remaining GOP candidates Friday.

Former Rep. Bill McCollum and former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez are the leading Republicans in the race.

State House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, judicial watchdog group founder Larry Klayman, millionaire businessman Doug Gallagher and wealthy tax-cut advocate Karen Saull are the other major Republican candidates.

The leading Democrats are former state Education Commissioner Betty Castor, Rep. Peter Deutsch and Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas.
— L.W.W.

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