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Giuliani Stumping for Vitter on John’s Louisiana Turf

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) will travel to Louisiana on July 13 to raise money for GOP Rep. David Vitter’s bid for the state’s open Senate seat.

The event will be held in Lafayette, which is located in the 7th district, a seat currently held by Rep. Chris John, one of three Democrats seeking the Senate seat.

“Mayor Giuliani’s leadership will help highlight my bold Louisiana agenda, particularly turning Louisiana around just as he turned New York City around,” Vitter said in a release on the event.

Giuliani served as mayor from 1993 to 2001 and became a national figure in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, which leveled the World Trade Center in New York.

Since then, Giuliani has become the most sought-after fundraising draw for Republicans seeking higher office.

Vitter has proven to be an extremely strong fundraiser in his own right, bringing in $1.3 million from April 1 to June 30. He ended last month with $3.4 million in the bank.

John raised $1 million in the period with $2.4 million on hand. State Treasurer John Kennedy (D) brought in $500,000 and had $1 million in the bank. State Sen. Arthur Morrell (D) has not yet released his fundraising figures for the past three months.
— Chris Cillizza

Isakson Well-Stocked for Final Primary Push

Rep. Johnny Isakson continues to lead the way financially as the hard-fought July 20 Republican Senate primary approaches.

According to The Associated Press, Isakson spent more than $3.5 million on the campaign from April 1 to June 30, leaving him with just short of $1 million on hand. Isakson’s campaign manager told the AP that all of Isakson’s bills have been paid through the primary, leaving him with a financial head start for a possible GOP runoff in August.

The runoff would be necessary if no one gets 50 percent in the primary.

Behind Isakson financially is businessman Herman Cain, who raised more than $750,000 in the third quarter and spent $925,000, leaving $568,000 in the bank.

The third candidate, Rep. Mac Collins, raised $214,000 in the three-month period and ended June with $457,000 on hand.

“They don’t count dollars on Election Day; they count votes,” said Collins’ spokesman, Dan Kidder.

Neither of the leading Democrats running for Senate, Rep. Denise Majette and businessman Cliff Oxford, had released fundraising reports as of Wednesday.
— Josh Kurtz

John Salazar Holds Big Leads Over All GOPers

State Rep. John Salazar (D) holds double-digit leads over his three potential Republican opponents in a new poll conducted for his campaign.

Salazar led fellow state Rep. Matt Smith by 13 points and had a wider 21-point margin over both state Rep. Gregg Rippy and former Department of Natural Resources Director Greg Walcher in the race for Colorado’s open 3rd district seat.

The Democrat’s early lead is due to his large name-identification edge over the Republican field.

According to the Anzalone-Liszt Research survey, Salazar is known by 53 percent of the 600 likely voters tested. Smith, Rippy and Walcher are all known by less than one-fifth of the sample.

The poll was in the field from June 28 to July 2 with a 4 percent margin of error.

Republicans will choose their nominee in an Aug. 10 primary. Walcher has a slight edge at this point after winning the state party convention, which secured him the top slot on the primary ballot.

Salazar’s success in clearing the primary field has made this a surprisingly strong pickup opportunity for Democrats.

Rep. Scott McInnis (R) has held the Western Slope seat easily since 1992 but is retiring at the end of the 108th Congress.

The district has a slight Republican tilt — as evidenced in the Anzalone poll in which self-identifying GOPers made up 41 percent of those tested to Democrats’ 38 percent.
— C.C.

Ironman Metzl Will Run, Swim and Bike District

Former Council on Foreign Relations fellow Jamie Metzl will swim, bike and run across the 5th district in an attempt to draw attention to his Democratic primary challenge to former Kansas City Mayor Emmanuel Cleaver.

Known as the “Tour de 5th,” Metzl’s latest campaign gambit, which is scheduled for Saturday, comes less than three weeks before the Aug. 3 primary. Rep. Karen McCarthy (D) is leaving the seat after five terms.

Metzl has completed three Ironman triathlons in his life, which consist of a 2.4- mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a full 26.2-mile marathon.

Former Kansas Rep. Dan Glickman is also set to campaign and raise money for Metzl in the district today.

Glickman was recently named the incoming president of the Motion Picture Association of America, one of the most lucrative lobbying jobs in Washington, D.C.

Throughout the race, Metzl has been the more aggressive of the two candidates, a tactic born of necessity given Cleaver’s long history in elective office in Kansas City.

Cleaver served two terms as mayor, leaving office in 1999. He had previously served three terms on the city council.

Metzl has attempted to make the race a referendum on Cleaver’s character, with some success, although the former mayor remains the favorite.

The winner of the primary will have a major advantage in the fall given the Democratic lean of the seat.
— C.C.

Edwards’ Selection Sets Off Trial Lawyers’ Foes

It didn’t take long for a few Senate contenders to compare their opponents to new Democratic vice presidential pick John Edwards — in a less than flattering way. The North Carolina Senator’s past as a trial lawyer was fodder for a healthy dose of criticism.

In the Sooner State, former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, one of three Republicans in the race, is accusing Rep. Brad Carson, the likely Democratic Senate nominee, and Edwards of being like-minded liberals.

“It takes a trial lawyer to like another trial lawyer, especially if they have liberal voting records in Washington, D.C.,” Humphreys said in a statement Wednesday. “Let there be no doubt in the minds of voters — these guys are liberal twins when you look at their voting records.”

And in the Sunshine State, former Rep. Bill McCollum (R) used Edwards’ selection as an occasion to rap former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez, his leading rival for the Republican Senate nomination.

Matt Williams, McCollum’s campaign manager, noted that President Bush and his surrogates lambaste trial lawyers at every campaign stop — criticism that is likely to intensify now that Edwards is on the ticket. But Martinez is himself a former trial lawyer.

“Mel Martinez is the John Edwards of Florida,” Williams said. “The similarities between Martinez and Edwards are striking, and a Martinez candidacy would greatly hamper our ability to present a unified message to Republicans and independents alike. Quite frankly, sending such blatantly mixed signals would be potentially damaging to the president.”
— J.K.

Polls Apart: In Newest, Murray Has Big Lead

A new poll conducted on behalf of Sen. Patty Murray (D) showed her leading her presumed Republican challenger, Rep. George Nethercutt (R), by more than 20 points.

Murray led Nethercutt 56 percent to 33 percent, according to the survey of 800 voters conducted June 24-28 by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates. The poll had a 3.8 percent error margin.

“The challenger is having a difficult time of breaking through,” pollster John Fairbank said during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “He only has about one-third of the electorate supporting him. He’s having a hard time breaking through west of Cascades.”

Fairbank said challengers in general are having a hard time getting their message out across the country in the midst of the news coming out of Iraq and amid a close presidential election.

Fairbank said the five-term Congressman’s strategy of aligning closely with President Bush is not serving him well.

The president’s numbers are dropping in Washington state, Fairbank said.

“Nethercutt has tied himself to Bush [and] running on Bush’s coattails is not conducive to Nethercutt making any gains on Murray,” he said.

Furthermore, Fairbank said Murray has increased her popularity among independent voters over her two terms.

“She has at least a 25-point lead among independents,” he said.

The Fairbank poll shows Murray faring better than she did in a recent Moore Information Public Opinion Research poll but about the same as a recent Mason-Dixon survey.

The Moore Information poll showed Murray leading 51 percent to 39 percent. The Republican polling firm conducted the survey independent of the Nethercutt campaign.

The independent Mason-Dixon poll had Murray at 53 percent support and showed Nethercutt with the backing of 34 percent of voters in the Evergreen State.

“They’re polling because they see Nethercutt has momentum on the ground,” Nethercutt spokesman Alex Conant said.
— Nicole Duran

Two New Polls Show Same Results: Very Close

Two new polls from the Last Frontier reveal what was already known about the Senate race there — that it remains a tossup.

A KTUU-TV poll had former Gov. Tony Knowles (D) besting appointed Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) 46 percent to 44 percent while a David Dittman poll, conducted on behalf of the Murkowski campaign, showed Murkowski leading 44 percent to 42 percent.

In both polls, the difference was within the error margin.

Murkowski also led all of her competitors in the Aug. 24 GOP primary with 66 percent of Republicans saying they support her, according to the KTUU poll, which is conducted by Anchorage-based pollster Ivan Moore.

Former state Senate President Mike Miller, who is challenging Murkowski from the right, had the support of 23 percent of GOP voters while former U.S. Attorney Wev Shea’s support was at 4 percent. Perennial candidate Jim Dore would get less than 1 percent of the primary vote.

Dittman only tested Miller and showed Murkowski leading 65 percent to 22 percent.
— N.D.

Wetterling Raising Cash At Very Fast Clip So Far

Child advocate Patty Wetterling (D), who is challenging Rep. Mark Kennedy (R) in the Gopher State’s 6th district, is off to an impressive fundraising start, according to her campaign.

The first-time candidate gained national attention after her son, Jacob, was abducted in 1989, prompting her to become a chief advocate for missing children.

Wetterling, who has not been in the race a full quarter, will report raising $350,000 in just over two months in her July 15 Federal Election Commission filing.

Her campaign estimates she has banked almost the entire amount.

Kennedy, a popular two-term Republican in a conservative-leaning suburban and rural district north of the Twin Cities, has almost $1 million in the bank.

Last time around, Kennedy won easily but spent about $2 million in a roughly $4 million race to defeat former Oak Park Heights City Council member Janet Robert, who dropped her bid for a rematch earlier this year.
— N.D.

Millionaires Using TV to Introduce Themselves

The GOP’s two millionaire Senate candidates in America’s Dairyland have both taken to the airwaves this week.

Trying to break out of the four-way Republican pack and get known before the Sept. 14 primary, both construction executive Tim Michels and auto dealer Russ Darrow are running biographical ads on television and radio.

Both men focus on their extensive family business experience — Michels heads up Michels Construction, while Darrow opened a Plymouth dealership almost 40 years ago and now oversees a chain of Chrysler-Plymouth dealerships in the Badger State.

According to the most recent Badger Poll, conducted by the University of Wisconsin, an overwhelming majority of voters say they do not know enough about any of the four Republicans to form an opinion of them.

State Sen. Bob Welch and attorney Robert Lorge are also seeking the GOP nomination, but neither has run television ads yet.

Lorge is the most unknown, with 90 percent of respondents saying they held no opinion of him. Welch, the 1994 GOP nominee for Senate, is the least unfamiliar to voters, with 75 percent saying they do not know him, followed by Darrow at 76 percent and Michels at 88 percent unknown.

The June 15-23 poll of 504 residents with a 4 percent error margin shows that the race is still in a preliminary stage, poll director Donald Ferree wrote.

“The incumbent is widely known, and enjoys moderate job performance ratings but attention to the candidates is low, and awareness of potential GOP challengers is quite limited,” he concluded.

Fifty percent of respondents said they would elect Sen. Russ Feingold (D) to a third term.

Meanwhile, Darrow has named former Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Mike Grebe as his co-chairman.

Last week, Michels, an Army reservist, revealed that he was eligible to be called for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan for another month.

The Army notified 5,600 Army reservists that they could be called upon, and Michels was one of them.

He is scheduled to be discharged on Aug. 1, however, so if he is not called before then, he will not be required to serve overseas, according to his campaign.

Michels spent 12 years on active duty as an Army Airborne Ranger.
— N.D.

Watchdog Says Coburn Saved Government $1B

Former Rep. Tom Coburn, one of three candidates seeking the GOP Senate nomination in the July 27 primary, picked up the endorsement of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste Political Action Committee.

The group credited Coburn with saving taxpayers almost $1 billion in seven of the fiscal 2000 appropriations bills, among other achievements during his time in Congress.

“Tom Coburn’s strong record of fiscal discipline and ability to fight on behalf of taxpayers is why he should be the next Senator from Oklahoma,” said Tom Schatz, chairman of the PAC. “He is the only experienced true fiscal conservative in this election.”

Coburn is fighting former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys and state Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony for the GOP nod.
— J.K.

GOP Main Street Group Says Hamel Is Hamisch

The Republican Main Street Partnership Political Action Committee, a group that seeks to elect centrist Republicans, has endorsed former local economic development official Brian Hamel (R) in his uphill campaign against freshman Rep. Mike Michaud (D).

“Brian Hamel is ideally suited to represent Maine’s 2nd Congressional district,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a member of the PAC’s advisory board. “He has the experience and determination to create jobs and economic growth in Maine.”

Hamel is the former president and CEO of the Loring Development Authority, an aviation and industrial complex and business park. He has also done economic development work in New Hampshire.
— J.K.

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