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Naples Surpasses $560K In Month of Fundraising for New York Race

The Republican candidate in one of the most competitive open-seat races in the country has burst from the starting gate financially — fueled by $200,000 from her own bank account.

Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples, who is assured the GOP and Conservative Party nominations in the race to replace retiring Buffalo-area Rep. Jack Quinn (R), reported raising $562,000 since launching her fundraising drive on June 1. The frugal Naples, who is the chief financial officer for the county of 950,000, had $551,000 on hand as of June 30.

“I’m honored at the level of support we’ve received in these early days of the campaign,” Naples said.

Naples’ totals dwarf those of the leading Democrat in the race, state Assemblyman Brian Higgins, who said last week he would report raising more than $300,000 on his bid since Quinn’s retirement announcement at the end of April. Higgins, however, has not put any of his own money into the race.

At least one other Democratic candidate, West Seneca Town Supervisor Paul Clark, is also expected to show a significant fundraising total, though his son and spokesman, Andrew Clark, said the campaign is still crunching numbers.

“We believe we’ll be on top” in the Democratic field, Andrew Clark said.

Paul Clark said last month that he would seed his campaign with at least $200,000, however.

— Josh Kurtz

Weiner Raises $500K for Possible City Hall Race

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) continues to raise money for a possible 2005 bid for mayor of New York City.

According to several New York media outlets, Weiner this week reported raising more than $500,000 in a city election account he established three months ago.

That total was less than the amount taken in by other potential Democratic challengers to Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R). But Weiner also has about $1.7 million in his Congressional campaign treasury, and he is beginning to ask donors to the federal account to give to the city campaign fund instead. The City Council is contemplating a measure that would prevent Weiner, and others, from using funds raised for other races on campaigns for city offices.

Among other potential Democratic mayoral candidates, city Comptroller William Thompson reported raising $1.2 million in the past six months and banking $2.7 million. City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, a former aide to Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), raised $750,000 this year and had roughly $3.3 million on hand. Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields raised $260,000 and had $910,000 in the bank.
— J.K.

OKLAHOMA
Humphreys Trips BCRA Millionaires Provision

The fireworks continue in the Sooner State Senate race, with only two weeks left before the hotly contested GOP primary.

Last week, former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys (R) donated $731,000 in personal funds to his campaign, tripping the “millionaires” provision of the new campaign finance law. His opponents, former Rep. Tom Coburn and state Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony, will now be able to accept $6,000 contributions from individuals instead of $2,000.

Humphreys said the infusion of personal money was intended to combat the spending of out-of-state special interest groups, a reference to Coburn’s support from the Club for Growth. The group has bundled contributions to the former Congressman and several weeks ago launched a $175,000 ad campaign touting his candidacy.

“Because of the amount of out-of-state contributions flooding into my chief opponent’s campaign from one group as well as their recent lavish media spending for my opponent, I am redoubling my personal commitment to winning this campaign by contributing personal funds,” Humphreys said.

Coburn’s campaign responded by pointing out that Humphreys has received almost $200,000 from Washington, D.C.-based lobbyists and political action committees, which is about five times the amount Coburn said he has received from those sources.

“A majority of our support — both in terms of donors and the amounts received — has come from Oklahomans,” Coburn said in a statement.

While Coburn and Humphreys have waged positive TV ad campaigns thus far, the new infusion of money has heightened speculation that Humphreys may be about to launch an onslaught of “comparative” advertising.

Anthony has already run negative ads targeting Humphreys.

An Aug. 24 Republican runoff will be held if no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote. Coburn and Humphreys are favored to emerge from the primary.

Also this week Humphreys, who is backed by Sen. James Inhofe (R) and retiring Sen. Don Nickles (R), filed an amended personal financial disclosure form after the Senate Ethics Committee said it wanted more information about certain business assets.

The amended financial disclosure report shows that Humphreys and his family own interests in commercial properties and undeveloped land in seven states, according to his campaign. The total value of his ownership interest in the properties is a little more than $6 million, and he has a net equity of $4.2 million.

Meanwhile, Coburn, who is running as a Washington outsider not afraid to buck his own party or the status quo, raised a few eyebrows with a statement he made in a recent interview with The Associated Press.

“I favor the death penalty for abortionists and other people who take life,” Coburn told the AP.

Coburn, a family physician, said he performed two abortions in cases where the lives of the mother were at risk, but he opposes the procedure in other cases — including rape.
— Lauren W. Whittington

Carson Goes Up With Third Ad of Campaign

Rep. Brad Carson, the presumed Democratic Senate nominee, launched his third ad in the campaign this week. The new 30-second spot will run in the Tulsa media market, which encompasses much of eastern Oklahoma. Carson is now running ads in all media markets across the state.

“I’m Brad Carson and it’s been an honor to represent eastern Oklahoma in Congress,” Carson says in the new ad. “But our work isn’t done yet. At a time when Tulsa is hurting we need a Senator who will fight for eastern Oklahoma. That’s why I approve this message.”

Last week, Carson released his first two ads, a 60-second biographical spot and a 30-second spot titled “Stillwell.”
— L.W.W.

PENNSYLVANIA
Philadelphia AFL Taps Specter Over Hoeffel

The Philadelphia AFL-CIO late last week announced its support of Sen. Arlen Specter (R) in his bid for an unprecedented 5th term.

The Philadelphia Council, which represents about 150,000 regional members, is recommending that the union’s statewide federation back Specter when the state labor coalition meets in August to decide its endorsements.

Specter faces a challenge from Rep. Joe Hoeffel (D), a Philadelphia-area lawmaker who is also considered a friend to labor and who has worked hard to line up labor support in the race.

But in the end, Specter’s seniority and record in the Senate trumped the Congressman’s efforts.

“You don’t forget people who have been there for you, and he has been there for us for those though votes,” Philadelphia AFL-CIO President Patrick Eiding told The Associated Press. “And he has seniority in the White House, which means a lot.”

Meanwhile, Hoeffel produced his own good news last week, announcing that he raised $1.1 million in the second quarter of the year. Hoeffel’s fundraising has been lackluster to date, and the second-quarter posting more than doubles the amount the Congressman took in from January through March.

Hoeffel was aided by fundraising events last quarter featuring Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D).

Overall, Hoeffel has raised $2.5 million for the race and had an estimated $1.4 million left in the bank on June 30.
— L.W.W.

Poll Shows Gerlach With Big Lead Over Murphy

A new poll in the 6th district race shows freshman Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) well-positioned for re-election and disputes the results of a Democratic poll released last month.

The poll, conducted by GOP pollster Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies, showed Gerlach leading Democrat Lois Murphy 59 percent to 20 percent. The survey of 350 likely voters was conducted June 8-9 and had a margin of error of 5 percent.

Newhouse is Gerlach’s pollster, but the survey was commissioned and paid for by the American Hospital Association Political Action Committee.

According to the poll results only 17 percent of respondents said they had heard of Murphy, an attorney with close ties to Gov. Ed Rendell (D).

The results of this poll varied greatly from those of a poll conducted for Murphy’s campaign less than a week before the POS poll was in the field.

In the Democratic poll, conducted June 3-4, Gerlach led Murphy 45 percent to 24 percent. At the same time, only 34 percent of those surveyed said they would definitely vote to re-elect Gerlach.

While the Democratic poll showed Democrats with a 16-point advantage in a test of the generic ballot, the GOP poll showed Republicans had a 6-point advantage when voters were asked if they would vote for the Republican or the Democrat for Congress if the election were held today.

Gerlach narrowly beat attorney Dan Wofford (D) in an open-seat race in 2002, winning 51 percent of the vote.

The 6th district contest is expected to be one of the most hotly contested House races this cycle.
— L.W.W.

CALIFORNIA
McCain, Cheney Will Stump for Bill Jones

Two Republican superstars are due to stump for GOP Senate nominee Bill Jones, the former California secretary of state, in the weeks ahead.

Repaying a political favor, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) is scheduled to spend two days next week stumping for Jones, who was one of McCain’s most prominent Golden State supporters during McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign. The Senate nominee’s daughter, Andrea Jones, went to work for McCain on Capitol Hill after the campaign — though she has returned to California to aid her father’s Senate bid.

Meanwhile, Vice President Cheney is scheduled to appear with Jones at a fundraiser at a Riverside hotel on July 27.

In a related development, Jones and two-term Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) have agreed to at least one debate, Aug. 10 at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.

The debate is sponsored by the League of Women Voters, which is insisting that it will invite only candidates who receive 10 percent or more in independent polls. This presents a conundrum for minor-party candidates — none of whom have been included in any independent surveys.
— J.K.

LOUISIANA
Mount Formally Enters, Doucet Leaves Contest

It’s one in and one out in the Democratic race to replace Rep. Chris John (D) in the 7th district.

State Sen. Willie Mount on Monday formally declared her candidacy, though she has been campaigning and raising money for months — ever since John announced that he would be running for an open Senate seat.

Mount is in a crowded, competitive race with fellow state Sen. Don Cravins (D), cardiologist Charles Boustany (R) and Lafayette Parish School Board Member David Thibodeaux (R). Boustany this week announced that he has raised $500,000 for the race so far.

The four candidates will appear together on the Nov. 2 ballot. If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, the top two votegetters, regardless of party affiliation, will proceed to a December runoff.

A fifth candidate, former Judge Ned Doucet (D), dropped out of the race last week, citing an inability to raise the necessary funds to remain competitive.
— J.K.

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