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WASHINGTON: Candidate Ross to Sign Off the Air on July 23

Democratic Congressional hopeful Dave Ross has promised to quit his public affairs radio show July 23.

The late entrant into the crowded field to replace retiring Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R) in the swing 8th district said he would leave his popular show on KIRO-AM to focus on his campaign, the King County Journal reported last week.

Ross had come under fire from Republican and Democratic rivals alike, particularly former RealNetworks executive Alex Alben (D), who has been in the race longer than any of the six other candidates.

They have all argued that the popular three-hour daily radio show gives Ross an unfair advantage and that KIRO should have offered the other candidates equal time.

The station refused such requests.

The filing deadline in Washington is July 30, meaning that Ross would have been hard-pressed to remain on the air after officially becoming a candidate.

Meanwhile, Ross and Alben seem to be splitting union endorsements.

Alben is backed by the Washington State Labor Council, which includes 550 unions, one of which is the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 751. Those Boeing workers endorsed Ross last week.

Alben’s campaign boasted that since Ross entered the race, the Washington Education Association has opted to support Alben.

Alben will report raising $270,000 in the second quarter, $100,000 of which came from his own personal fortune, according to his campaign. He has raised $730,000 since entering the race last year and has about $500,000 in the bank, according to his spokesman.

Ross has not made his figures available yet, nor has Heidi Behrens-Benedict, a Democrat who lost to Dunn in three previous attempts.

On the GOP side, Republican National Committeewoman Diane Tebelius will disclose in her July 15 Federal Election Commission report that she has raised $320,000 so far, including $160,000 in the second quarter of this year. She begins July with $235,000 in the bank, according to her spokesman.

While no other GOP candidate has made his campaign finance report available yet, state Senate Majority Floor Leader Luke Esser announced that the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs and the Washington State Patrol Troopers Association have decided to back him, despite the fact that a fellow law enforcement officer is in the race.

King County Sheriff Dave Reichert is also seeking the GOP nomination in the Sept. 14 primary, as is Bellevue City Councilman Conrad Lee.

— Nicole Duran

Moore Information Says Nethercutt Is Gaining

In the Evergreen State’s Senate race, a new GOP poll found Rep. George Nethercutt (R) gaining on Sen. Patty Murray (D).

The poll, conducted June 23-24 by Moore Information Public Opinion Research on behalf of the Nethercutt campaign, showed Murray leading 51 percent to 39 percent.

The poll, which had a 4 percent error margin, shows Nethercutt has moved up some since Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. said the race was 53 percent to 34 percent in Murray’s favor a few weeks earlier.

On the fundraising front, neither campaign has released its second-quarter numbers yet, but both continue to trot out high-profile pols to raise cash on their behalf.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) helped Murray rake in $400,000 at a Seattle luncheon last week, while Nethercutt is getting help from first lady Laura Bush at a July 12 reception in Washington, D.C.

The price of admission for both events was $250, while donors seeking photos with either the former or current first lady had to pony up $1,000. Laura Bush’s help comes on the heels of her husband’s June 17 trip to Spokane that helped Nethercutt raise $760,000.

On the public relations front, Nethercutt is seeking more mileage from the “Spider-Man 2” baseball controversy.

Nethercutt, who wrote a letter chiding Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig for considering allowing baseball to participate in a publicity blitz for the movie, is now encouraging people to go see it.

“Every American should catch a baseball game or a blockbuster this July 4 weekend,” he said in a news release touting his minor-league baseball night out Friday.

The release goes on to point out Nethercutt’s role in sidelining MLB’s plans to feature the movie logo on bases during games this summer.

“Despite the more modest advertising campaign, ‘Spider-Man 2’ recorded the largest box-office opening in history Wednesday,” Nethercutt said.

— N.D.

South Carolina

DeMint Jumps to Lead In First Post-Runoff Poll

Fresh off his stronger-than-expected victory over former Gov. David Beasley in the June 22 Republican Senate runoff, Rep. Jim DeMint has surged to a 6-point lead in the general election, according to a poll commissioned for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

The poll of 600 likely Palmetto State voters, conducted June 28-29 by Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies, showed DeMint preferred by 47 percent of those queried. The Democratic nominee, state Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum, was the choice of 41 percent of those surveyed.

When “leaners” were factored in, DeMint enjoyed a 50 percent to 43 percent lead. The poll had a 4.4 percent margin of error.

Republican officials called DeMint’s lead a “springboard” from his runoff victory and a sign that the GOP is unified in a state that has become increasingly conservative. Beasley endorsed DeMint last week “in an emotional and magnanimous way,” NRSC Chairman George Allen (Va.) said.

Republicans are also convinced that the Democratic presidential contender, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, will be a drag on Tenenbaum in November. Allen said that Tenenbaum’s endorsement from EMILY’s List, the organization that supports female Democratic candidates who favor abortion rights, “shows her to be out of step with the views and values of South Carolina.”

— Josh Kurtz


E. Dole Aids Murkowski At Low-Dollar Event

Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) hosted a breakfast for Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) in Anchorage on Friday. The $50 event was just the latest in a series featuring high-profile Republicans helping shore up the appointed Murkowski in her tough election bid.

Dole has become a top fundraising draw for fellow Republicans across the country since coming to the Senate two years ago.

Murkowski is locked in a neck-and-neck race with former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles, although she also faces two opponents in the Aug. 24 GOP primary.

— N.D.


Oxford Trips Millionaire Amendment in Primary

By spending more than $800,000 on TV advertising last week, businessman Cliff Oxford triggered the “millionaire’s amendment” in the July 20 Democratic Senate primary, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Oxford’s spending spree enables his primary opponents to exceed regular limits on campaign contributions, though the paper reported that Oxford’s principal rival for the Democratic nomination, Rep. Denise Majette, seems the most likely to be able to take advantage.

The millionaire’s amendment of the campaign finance law has not been tripped in the three-way Republican primary despite the presence in the race of multimillionaire ex-Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain.

Cain, who has built his campaign treasury without substantial personal funds, is squaring off against Rep. Johnny Isakson, who has led all GOP primary polls, and Rep. Mac Collins.

In a statement, Oxford’s campaign sought to paint his freewheeling personal spending as a positive development.

“The investment shows two things,” campaign manager Kevin Ross said. “One, Oxford will be an independent voice in the Senate, not controlled by special interests. Two, Oxford’s resources will allow him to compete against the well-funded Republican nominee in November.”

In another Journal-Constitution article last week, Oxford dismissed reports that Majette has a comfortable lead in recent polls and predicted that he can close the gap quickly.

“It’s a hill to climb, but it’s pretty easy to climb,” he said.

— J.K.


Carson Would Beat Two Of Three GOPers: Poll

A new poll commissioned by Rep. Ernest Istook (R), who contemplated getting in the Senate race this year, showed his Democratic colleague, Rep. Brad Carson, narrowly leading two of the three Republican candidates in hypothetical Senate match-ups.

In the Wilson Research Strategies poll of 500 statewide voters conducted June 28-29, Carson led the favorite of the Oklahoma GOP establishment, former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, 41 percent to 34 percent. He also topped Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony (R) 39 percent to 34 percent.

But Carson trailed 2 points behind the third Republican in the race, former Rep. Tom Coburn, who led 37 percent to 35 percent in the poll, which had a 4.4 percent error margin. Coburn and Carson have the same geographic base in Little Dixie.

Meanwhile, Anthony launched a statewide TV ad last week accusing Humphreys of profiting from land the Oklahoma City municipal government bought and sold near land that he owned.

— J.K.

New York

House GOP Leaders Will Fete Naples Tonight

Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples, the likely Republican nominee in the closely fought race to replace retiring Rep. Jack Quinn (R), will be feted by Republican House leaders tonight at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce headquarters.

Headlining the event will be Quinn, Speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.) and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.), who represents the district next to Quinn’s.

Several candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination in the Buffalo-area district, headed by state Assemblyman Brian Higgins. The 27th district has 80,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans.

— J.K.


Emmylou Harris, Leahy Will Be ‘Together Again’

Country singer Emmylou Harris is putting on a concert for Sen. Patrick Leahy (D) later this month.

According to the Senator’s campaign Web site, Harris and Buddy Miller will perform at the Flynn Theater in Burlington on July 24 “to honor” Leahy.

— N.D.