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Bowles Accepts Burr’s Offer on Financing Race

Democrat Erskine Bowles on Wednesday agreed not to spend any of his personal wealth to finance his campaign, provided that his opponent, Rep. Richard Burr (R), agrees to a ban on third-party advertising in this year’s Senate race.

Bowles’ pledge stems from a proposal Burr made last week, after a third-party group began airing ads aimed at boosting Burr’s campaign.

“For the record, I do not accept your premise. I do not believe that a candidate’s personal money is the same thing as outside groups coming into our state and running ads,” Bowles wrote to Burr. “Nevertheless, I accept your offer, because it is so important that we change the tone of politics in America. I want North Carolina to set the example.”

Bowles called on Burr last week to request that outside groups not advertise in the campaign after Americans for Job Security, a group based in Northern Virginia that has ties to the insurance industry, launched television ads praising Burr.

Burr responded by proposing that Bowles, a one-time investment banker whose wife’s family owns textile mills, agree not to self-fund his campaign.

“If you are serious about your proposal, I would suggest the following: that we eliminate all third party involvement in our campaigns, including the national parties and your personal wealth, and let the voters decide who they want as their next Senator based upon our ability to secure their support financially and at the ballot box,” Burr wrote in response to Bowles’ request.

Burr also noted that Bowles rejected a proposal made by now-Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) to forgo all television advertising when the two squared off in the 2002 Senate contest. Bowles, a former Clinton White House chief of staff, lost to Dole in 2002 after spending more than $6 million of his own money.

In that same campaign, third-party interest groups ran ads on behalf of both Bowles and Dole.
— Lauren W. Whittington

Owens, Towns At Odds Over Owens’ Re-Election

Rep. Major Owens’ Democratic primary race seems to have created some tensions between Owens and Rep. Edolphus Towns (D) — who represents an adjoining Brooklyn district and who was elected in 1982, the same year as Owens.

According to the Courier Life Newspapers in Brooklyn, Towns’ Chief of Staff Karen Johnson, a power in Brooklyn politics in her own right, was urging members of an influential political club to remain neutral last month when it came to endorsing a candidate in Owens’ primary race.

Owens, who wants to serve just one more term, is expected to square off against two New York City Councilwomen, Tracy Boyland and Yvette Clarke, in the Sept. 14 primary.

Owens won the backing of the Independent Neighborhood Democratic Club by just one vote — cast, not coincidentally, by his daughter-in-law. According to the newspaper, the Congressman was so incensed by Johnson’s lobbying for the club to remain neutral that he called Towns on his cellphone minutes after the endorsement meeting.

Johnson apologized to Owens soon after, the newspaper reported, though she insisted that she was offering her personal apology and was not speaking on Towns’ behalf.

The newspaper quoted anonymous sources as saying that Towns is supporting Clarke over Owens.

“Lots of Towns operatives are all over the borough helping Yvette, and these people don’t breathe without asking Ed Towns’ permission,” one said.
— Josh Kurtz

Newsday Rates Queens, Long Island Members

The editorial board of Newsday, Long Island’s most powerful newspaper, has rated Long Island and Queens’ Congressional delegation, and the Members come out pretty well.

With four “domes” as the top rating and zero the lowest, Members’ scores ranged from two to three and a half.

Herewith, the editorial writers’ conclusions: Rep. Gary Ackerman (D), 3 1/2; Rep. Tim Bishop (D), 2 1/2; Rep. Joseph Crowley (D), 2; Rep. Steve Israel (D), 3; Rep. Peter King (R), 3; Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D), 2 1/2; Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D), 3; Rep. Gregory Meeks (D), 3; Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D), 2; and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D), 3.
— J.K.

Rove Headlines Event for Endangered Burns

Rep. Max Burns (R), one of the big targets for House Democrats this cycle, will be joined at a fundraiser by top White House political strategist Karl Rove next week.

The June 14 event will be held at the Capitol Hill Club. For $2,000, attendees get a photo-op and “special recognition.” The general reception with Rove is $1,000 for political action committees and individuals.

Burns, first elected in 2002, is likely to face either Athens-Clarke County Commissioner John Barrow or former state Sen. Doug Haines, the leading Democratic candidates in the July 20 primary.

The 12th district, which spans from Savannah to Augusta and Athens, was drawn to help elect a Democrat.
— L.W.W.

New Law Eliminates Senate Appointments

Alaskan voters will now choose their U.S. Senators when one retires or dies before his or her term expires.

The state Legislature passed a bill, which became law without the signature of Gov. Frank Murkowski (R) over the weekend, that calls for special elections to fill U.S. Senate vacancies.

The governor can still name an interim Senator but voters will then select a permanent Senator within 90 days of the vacancy occurring, The Associated Press reported.

Lt. Gov. Loren Leman (R), whose office makes such decisions, says this will bump a citizen-driven initiative off the November ballot because the two measures are similar.

At least one of the Democratic lawmakers who spearheaded the initiative says he may challenge Leman’s decision because the new law still allows for gubernatorial appointments, albeit temporary ones.

Murkowski’s decision to let the bill become law without his signature is notable considering the ballot initiative was driven by voter dissatisfaction with his decision to appoint his daughter Lisa Murkowski (R) to fill his Senate seat when he resigned in 2002 to become governor.
— Nicole Duran

Environmentalist Drops Bid For Bass’ House Seat

Environmental activist Roy Morrison (D) dropped out the Granite State’s 2nd district House race Wednesday.

Morrison threw his support behind attorney Paul Hodes (D), a former state prosecutor who just entered the fray last week.

Unless another Democrat jumps in before Friday’s filing deadline, Hodes will face no opposition in the Sept. 14 primary and will move on to the general election against Rep. Charles Bass (R).

Morrison said he can better advance his message of ecological taxation and sustainable growth by working with the Mink Hills Center for Sustainable Development, a new nonprofit formed by Morrison and his former campaign manager.

“I was looking forward to running against Charles Bass and his support of business, war and pollution as usual,” Morrison said in a statement. “I can better advance the cause of taxing pollution — and not income — and advancing ecological sanity through the [center] than in a primary fight against Hodes.”
— N.D.

Police Get Their Man: Sheahan in 5th District

Larry Sheahan, the state Senate Majority Floor Leader, has been racking up endorsements from law enforcement groups in his quest for the GOP nomination in the Evergreen State’s 5th Congressional district.

The Washington State Troopers Association, Law Enforcement Administrators of Washington and the Washington State Council of Police and Sheriffs have all gotten on board.

One of the groups said its endorsements are bestowed only upon candidates who “have shown an extraordinary amount of support to law enforcement, and have developed a strong partnership with our members.”

Furthermore, Sheahan touted his 100 percent legislative rating from the Washington Conservative Union and compared it to his primary competitor’s lower ranking.

State Rep. Cathy McMorris received a 77 percent score from the group, while attorney Shaun Cross, the third Republican seeking the nomination, was not rated as he is not a lawmaker.

“Time and time again, candidates for political office claim to be conservative but don’t vote that way when it counts,” Sheahan said of McMorris.
— N.D.

Reynolds to Headline LaTourette Fundraiser

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.) will be the featured guest at a fundraiser tonight for Rep. Steven LaTourette (R).

Reynolds is headlining the $2,500 per person dinner at the Capital Grille in Washington, D.C.

LaTourette in November faces political novice Capri Cafaro, who bested a crowded primary field that included a millionaire and a popular state lawmaker to secure the Democratic nomination.

Ohio Democrats are high on Cafaro, despite her tainted name — her father was sentenced to probation for his role in the bribery scandal that brought down former Rep. Jim Traficant (D-Ohio) and landed him in the clink — because of her youth, enthusiasm and proven ability to largely self-fund her campaign. She is the heiress to a shopping mall fortune.

Republicans have said LaTourette should win handily but agreed to take no chances and want to do whatever it takes to compete with the wealthy 26-year-old Democrat.

As of the most recent Federal Election Commission campaign reports, LaTourette had $685,000 in the bank while Cafaro was almost broke.
— N.D.

Rep. Ose Seen as Likely Statewide Candidate

Although he is retiring this year to honor a pledge to serve only three terms, Rep. Doug Ose (R) is, at age 48, still thought to have a bright political career in the Golden State.

Last week, Ose’s name surfaced in the California Political Week newsletter as the leading likely Republican candidate for state insurance commissioner in 2006, in the event that the incumbent, John Garamendi (D), runs for lieutenant governor as expected.

Ose has also been mentioned as a possible candidate for state treasurer. That post will be vacant in 2006, when the term-limited incumbent, Phil Angelides (D), is expected to run for governor.

Former Rep. Dan Lungren (R) and financial adviser Gabe Castillo (D) are competing for the right to succeed Ose in the Sacramento-area 3rd district.
— J.K.

GOP Senate Candidate: I Never Backed Dukakis

GOP Senate candidate Jack McMullen wants to set the record straight that he never supported former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis (D) in his failed 1988 presidential bid.

McMullen is so adamant about it that he issued a news release just to clear up any confusion created by a local newspaper article.

The Brattleboro Reformer on Saturday erroneously reported that McMullen, a management consultant, worked to make Dukakis more “user-friendly” in his 1988 campaign, according to his campaign.

McMullen has asked the paper to clarify that in 1982 and 1983 he served on a task force commissioned with making the Bay State’s Revenue Department, not its governor, more user-friendly.

Furthermore, he notes that he whole-heartedly supported George H.W. Bush in his 1988 White House bid.

McMullen faces civil engineer Peter Moss in the Sept. 14 GOP primary. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) has no primary opponent.
— N.D.

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