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KENTUCKY: DCCC Poll Has Miller Trailing Northup by 6

Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk Tony Miller (D) trailed Republican Rep. Anne Northup by just 6 points in a new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee poll of 3rd district voters.

Northup received 51 percent to 45 percent for Miller in the Hamilton Beattie & Staff survey. It was in the field June 13-16, testing 400 registered voters with a 4.9 percent margin of error.

Miller is relatively well-known in the district for a candidate who has not yet done any paid communication.

He was recognized by “just over half” of the poll respondents and had a 46 percent favorable to 10 percent unfavorable rating, according to the polling memo.

Despite being heavily targeted since 1996, Northup had a very solid 63 percent favorable score with a 35 percent unfavorable rating.

Democrats believe that after three unsuccessful attempts to knock off Northup, the underlying partisanship of this district will finally deliver them a victory.

Democrats hold a 19-point registration edge in the district, which is based in Louisville, and in the DCCC poll Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) is leading President Bush in the presidential matchup there.

Northup is a very strong fundraiser and campaigner. She had $1.2 million on hand as of April 28. Miller banked just $258,000 at that time.

— Chris Cillizza


Darrow Has Big Lead in His Campaign Poll

Republican Senate candidate Russ Darrow put out a poll on Friday showing him 24 points ahead of his closest GOP rival in the September primary to take on two-term Sen. Russ Feingold (D).

In the poll of 401 likely Republican primary voters conducted June 6-10 by Voter Consumer Research, Darrow, an auto dealer, took 40 percent of the vote. State Sen. Bob Welch got 16 percent, businessman Tim Michels had 8 percent and attorney Robert Lorge took 4 percent.

One-third of the voters were undecided in the poll, which had a 4.9 percent error margin.

Darrow’s lead may have been fueled in part by his superior name recognition. He was known by 71 percent of the voters, compared to Welch’s 50 percent. The other two candidates had name IDs in the 20s.

— Josh Kurtz

New Mexico

Richardson Predicts He Can Play King-Maker

Gov. Bill Richardson (D) went straight from appearances at the National Association of Latino Elected Officials conference in Washington, D.C., late last week to a fundraiser for Gary King, the Democrat who is seeking to unseat freshman Rep. Steve Pearce (R) in the Land of Enchantment’s 2nd district.

King, a former state Representative, was also in D.C. last week meeting with party leaders and interest groups.

Richardson told reporters that he’s cautiously optimistic about the prospects of both King and state Senate President Pro Tem Richard Romero (D), who is locked in a rematch with 1st district Rep. Heather Wilson (R).

He said that Romero would be “competitive” in the Albuquerque-based district. Of King, Richardson said, “I predict an upset there.”

Fueling Democrats’ optimism in those two heavily Hispanic districts is the fact that Richardson’s political action committee, Moving America Forward, has helped register 50,000 new voters in the state this year — about 20,000 in the Albuquerque area and a significant number in Las Cruces, the largest city in the 2nd district.

Richardson predicted that the fate of King and Romero will be tied closely to the showing of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in the New Mexico presidential vote.

“I’m going to be very involved for Kerry in New Mexico, and that’s going to help, with all due modesty,” he said.

— J.K.


Poll Finds Many Voters Still Don’t Know Hoeffel

A poll just released in the Keystone State’s Senate race shows that Sen. Arlen Specter (R) maintains a sizable lead over Rep. Joe Hoeffel (D), who is still relatively little-known to voters statewide.

Specter led Hoeffel 50 percent to 35 percent in the Quinnipiac University poll that queried 839 registered voters June 21-22. The survey had a 3 percent margin of error.

The poll showed that Hoeffel remains unknown to 73 percent of the state’s voters. Also, about one-third of Republicans said that Specter, who endured a bruising ideologically driven primary earlier this year, is “too liberal” for the state.

While 51 percent of voters said they approved of Specter’s job as Senator, only 36 percent had a favorable view of the four-term incumbent and 21 percent had an unfavorable view.

Meanwhile,’s political action committee announced last week that it is throwing its support behind Hoeffel in the race. Democrats hope the liberal Internet-based organization will provide a boost to Hoeffel’s fundraising.

The PAC also announced that it is supporting attorney Lois Murphy (D) in her effort to defeat freshman Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) in the 6th district this fall.

— Lauren W. Whittington


Gregg Cuts $10K Check To Michaud Opponent

When logistical constraints kept Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) from co-headlining a fundraiser for Maine Republican Congressional candidate Brian Hamel with former Gov. John McKernan (R), Gregg did the next best thing: He wrote a check.

“In lieu of the fundraiser, Senator Gregg recently contributed $10,000 to my campaign from his Leadership PAC,” Hamel wrote in an e-mail.

McKernan and his wife, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R), earlier chipped in $1,000 each.

Hamel, who is challenging freshman Rep. Mike Michaud (D) for the chance to represent Maine’s yawning northern-tier 2nd district, had $137,000 in the bank through May 19.

Still, Michaud a former mill worker who narrowly won election to the swing seat in 2002, has far outpaced Hamel in the money chase, posting $415,000 on hand at the same time.

Hamel, who moved to the 2nd district 10 years ago when he was recruited by McKernan to head up the redevelopment of the former Loring Air Force Base, earlier undertook a similar project at New Hampshire’s Pease Air Force Base, at the request of then-Gov. Gregg.

In March, Hamel took unpaid leave from his post as president and CEO of the Loring Development Authority to pursue the House seat.

— Bree Hocking


McCain to Stump With Joe Schwarz This Week

Former state Sen. Joe Schwarz, one of a half-dozen Republicans seeking to replace retiring Rep. Nick Smith (R), will get a boost this week from Arizona Sen. John McCain (R).

The Arizonan is scheduled to spend part of a day stumping with Schwarz in the 7th district, repaying Schwarz for his service as chairman of McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign in Michigan. Schwarz is the lone moderate in the GOP primary field and is only too happy to link himself to McCain’s reputation for independence.

Meanwhile, Rep. Clark Bisbee last week became the second Republican candidate to go on the air with TV spots, running a 30-second ad in all of the district’s media markets. According to the Jackson Leader newspaper, the ad, titled “Results,” highlights the lawmaker’s achievements in Lansing.

State Rep. Gene DeRossett has already begun airing ads. The other candidates in the Aug. 3 primary are former state Rep. Paul DeWeese, former state Rep. Tim Walberg and attorney Brad Smith, the Congressman’s son.

— J.K.

New Jersey

Candidate Concedes From His Hospital Bed

Businessman John Cusack (R) last week conceded the 1st district GOP primary for health reasons “from his hospital bed,” according to a release from his campaign. The release did not specifically identify his health problems.

“Due to my health we are unable to fulfill our legal obligations to petition the proper county boards of elections calling for a recount within the time frame established by law,” Cusack said.

He finished the June 8 primary 12 votes behind attorney Daniel Hutchinson (R), and Cusack had said earlier that he planned to ask for a recount of the votes.

Hutchinson will now face Rep. Rob Andrews (D) in the staunchly Democratic Camden-based district.

— L.W.W.


Widow of Coverdell Backs Isakson for Senate

The widow of the late Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-Ga.) is taking a high-profile role in helping elect Rep. Johnny Isakson (R) to the seat her husband once held.

Isakson, the current frontrunner in the July 20 GOP primary, announced on Friday that Nancy Coverdell will serve as statewide co-chairwoman of the campaign.

“Johnny Isakson is a Paul Coverdell Republican in the truest sense of the phrase,” Coverdell said in a statement released by Isakson’s campaign. “He was there with Paul at the foundation of the modern Republican Party in Georgia, and his rock-solid devotion to conservative principles is unquestionable. Johnny Isakson is the only candidate in this race who can guarantee us a victory in November.”

Isakson is battling Rep. Mac Collins and pizza tycoon Herman Cain for the GOP nomination next month. Both Cain and Collins are vying for the “true conservative” mantle in the race while working to portray Isakson as the liberal in the field.

— L.W.W.


One-Day Poll Shows McCollum Way Ahead

A McLaughlin & Associates one-day poll conducted for former Rep. Bill McCollum showed him leading the GOP Senate primary field, although the largest percentage of those polled were undecided.

McCollum got 26 percent compared with 14 percent for former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez. State House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, millionaire businessman Doug Gallagher and judicial activist Larry Klayman all registered in single digits. Forty-five percent of those surveyed were undecided.

The poll, conducted June 17, surveyed 600 likely GOP primary voters and had a 4 percent margin of error.

— L.W.W.


State Rep. Baldone Joins Race for Tauzin’s Seat

State Rep. Damon Baldone officially announced his candidacy late last week, becoming the third Democrat to enter the race to replace retiring Rep. Billy Tauzin (R).

“I’m mature enough to go to Congress, yet young enough to stay there for a long time,” said Baldone, who at 39 is the second youngest candidate in the field.

The youngest of the group is also the early favorite — lobbyist Billy Tauzin III (R), the son of the current Congressman.

Aside from Baldone, former state Rep. Charlie Melancon and former Senate aide Charmaine Caccioppi are running on the Democratic side.

State Sen. Craig Romero (R) is also seeking the seat.

Under Louisiana election law, all of the candidates will run in an open primary on Nov. 2; if no one receives 50 percent, the two top votegetters, irrespective of party affiliation, advance to a Dec. 4 runoff.

Baldone was mentioned early on as a potential candidate but was not expected to run due to the likely bid by former state Rep. Hunt Downer (R). The two men share a geographic political base in Houma, which is located in the far southern portion of this coastal seat.

Even when Downer surprisingly decided against the race, Baldone was still not expected to run due to the candidacy of state Sen. Reggie Dupre (D), another Houma lawmaker.

Dupre stayed in the race for only a few months before dropping out in March. That left an opening for Baldone, a second-term state legislator.

Although he is getting into the race somewhat late, Baldone is putting $250,000 of his own money into the campaign.

— C.C.


Cuellar Asks for Full Court to Hear Vote Case

Rep. Ciro Rodriguez’s chances of overturning his narrow Democratic primary loss to former Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar received a boost last week when a three-judge appeals court ruled that allegations of voter fraud need to be heard.

The court said that Rodriguez should be allowed to present his alleged proof that hundreds of voters who went to the polls on March 9 should be disqualified because they do not live within the 28th district.

“We have more than 500 votes which we feel were cast improperly,” said Rodriguez.

Cuellar immediately asked that the full seven-member appeals court examine the ruling. If that appeal fails, the case will be remanded to the state district judge who originally heard it.

On primary night, Rodriguez appeared to win the race by 145 votes but several hundred ballots were found soon after, nearly all of which went for Cuellar. After a second recount, Cuellar emerged victorious by 58 votes.

The 28th district is anchored by San Antonio in the north and Laredo in the south. It is a majority-minority district and strongly Democratic.

— C.C.

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