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Utah: Incumbents Hold Huge Leads in Latest Polls

If the election were held today, Rep. Jim Matheson (D) would retain his 2nd district seat with ease, according to a new poll.

Matheson, who defeated Republican John Swallow by fewer than 1,900 votes in 2002, leads Swallow 58 percent to 24 percent, according to a Dan Jones & Associates survey released Tuesday and reported in the Deseret Morning News.

The survey of 327 voters was conducted July 6-10 and had an extremely high 6.5 percent error margin.

The firm has previously done polling for both Swallow and his vanquished GOP primary opponent, Tim Bridgewater.

Matheson, who is considered one of the most vulnerable Members of Congress this cycle, is also doing well in the money chase.

His Federal Election Commission filing, due today, will show he has more than $1 million in the bank, compared to Swallow’s $200,000, the paper reported.

Swallow spent about $550,000 on a bruising primary that concluded last month.

The same Dan Jones poll showed Utah’s other three incumbent Members of Congress — Sen. Bob Bennett (R) and Reps. Rob Bishop (R) and Chris Cannon (R) — all winning re-election handily.

Bennett had a 61 percent to 24 percent lead over former state Attorney General Paul Van Dam (D) in a poll of 920 residents that had a 3.5 percent margin of error.

Bishop led Logan City Councilman Steve Thompson (D) 55 percent to 24 percent, and Cannon led police captain Beau Babka (D) 56 percent to 22 percent. Those House polls also had a 6.5 percent error margin.

— Nicole Duran

Humphreys: Coburn Voted Like a Liberal

Former Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys (R) went up with his first negative TV ad of the Senate campaign Wednesday, blasting his chief Republican primary rival, former Rep. Tom Coburn, for votes he took in Congress on national defense and veterans issues.

Humphreys alleges that Coburn voted for cuts in intelligence and airport security funding, and that he voted to cut veterans’ benefits.

“I have some serious concerns over Tom’s votes on some critical issues,” Humphreys said. “I want to know why he felt it was so important to vote against tens of millions of dollars in military construction projects that affected military installations in Oklahoma, or why an Oklahoma Republican would cast votes with liberals to cut intelligence funding three years in a row.”

The three-way GOP primary in the race to replace retiring Sen. Don Nickles (R) is on July 27. State Corporation Commissioner Bob Anthony (R) is the third contender.
— Josh Kurtz

Oxford Seeks to Blunt Foe’s Edge With Blacks

In an effort to prove that his principal opponent in the July 20 Democratic Senate primary, Rep. Denise Majette (D), doesn’t have a lock on the critical black vote, businessman Cliff Oxford began airing a radio spot Wednesday in the metro Atlanta area featuring state Rep. Tyrone Brooks.

Brooks, a veteran civil rights activist, is the president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials.

“I want to tell you about my friend and U.S. Senate candidate Cliff Oxford,” Brooks begins in the ad. He goes on to say that, “in the Senate, he will fight for what’s right — keeping our jobs in America, providing health insurance and protecting our middle class.”
— J.K.

Fueled by the President, Nethercutt Wins Quarter

After several high-profile fundraising events, including one starring President Bush, Rep. George Nethercutt (R) outraised Sen. Patty Murray (D) in the second quarter of the year but still trails her in cash on hand.

Nethercutt will report raising a whopping $2.2 million in the three-month period ending June 30 in today’s Federal Election Commission report, according to his campaign.

Nethercutt raked in $750,000 from Bush’s visit to Spokane last month and began July with $2.7 million in the bank.

His fundraising for the third quarter also got off to a good start after first lady Laura Bush hosted a Washington, D.C., fundraiser for Nethercutt on Tuesday.

That event pulled in about $75,000 on the spot, with pledges of more money to follow, according to his campaign spokesman.

Meanwhile, Murray continues to lead Nethercutt in overall funding. The two-term Senator began July with almost $6 million in the bank after raising an impressive $1.8 million in the second quarter.

Murray’s highest-profile event to date was a Seattle fundraiser headlined by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) that yielded $400,000 in receipts.
— N.D.

Rx for Cash: The Doctor Is Self-Funding His Race

Freshman Sen. Jim Bunning (R) continues to hold a wide lead over his challenger, state Sen. Daniel Mongiardo (D), on the fundraising front.

More than half of the $1.3 million that Mongiardo has raised so far has come from his own pocket.

Bunning will report raising $783,000 from April 1 to June 30, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported this week, bringing his total raised for the cycle to more than $5.7 million. He had $3.9 million on hand at the end of June.

Mongiardo, by contrast, had more than $700,000 in the bank after recently loaning himself another $500,000. Mongiardo has now supplied more than $700,000 to his campaign.

“We’ll have the money it takes to win,” Mongiardo’s campaign manager, Kim Geveden, told the Enquirer.

But Bunning’s campaign manager, David Young, said that Mongiardo’s loan to himself “is confirmation that Kentuckians aren’t buying his liberal ideas.”
— J.K.

Gallagher Trying to Close Funding Gap

Former casino executive Tom Gallagher (D) reported raising more than $430,000 in the second quarter of the year but still lags considerably behind Rep. Jon Porter (R) in cash on hand.

After a significant ad buy, Gallagher banked $546,000 for the race in the competitive 3rd district as of June 30, while Porter reportedly has stockpiled more than $1 million.

Porter reportedly raised more than $500,000 in the second quarter and spent little.

Democrats have high hopes for the former gambling chief executive officer and have been eager to showcase his fundraising abilities.

Gallagher has put $100,000 of his own money into the race and raised more than $860,000 total, despite entering the contest late.
— N.D.

Ex-Spitballer Perry to Pitch In for Boehlert

Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R) never hesitates to take full advantage of the fact that the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is in his district.

So another baseball great will be pitching in for Boehlert as he seeks to ward off former Cuyuga County Legislator David Walrath in the Sept. 14 Republican primary.

Gaylord Perry, the infamous spitballer and 300-game winner, will be the feature attraction at a Boehlert fundraiser Monday evening on Capitol Hill. The $1,000-a-ticket event takes place at the Kenneth Nash American Legion Post.
— J.K.

State Labor Federation Gets Behind Higgins

The New York State AFL-CIO announced Wednesday that it is endorsing state Assemblyman Brian Higgins (D) in the Buffalo-area race to replace retiring Rep. Jack Quinn (R).

“With a 100 percent lifetime labor voting record in the state Assembly, Brian Higgins has distinguished himself as a friend of the labor movement and as a guardian of working families,” said Denis Hughes, president of the state federation.

The New York State AFL-CIO represents about 75,000 union members in the 27th district.

Higgins, whose father and uncles were bricklayers and labor leaders in Buffalo, has made union support a cornerstone of his campaign. Quinn was the rare Republican Member of Congress who attracted widespread labor support, and Higgins has argued that if Democrats can bring labor “home,” they will retake the seat.

He must first get through a Democratic primary that is expected to also feature West Seneca Town Supervisor Paul Clark, attorney Michael Collesano, attorney Peter Crotty Jr. and Chautauqua County Executive Mark Thomas.

Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples will be the Republican nominee. Naples told Roll Call last week that she hopes to attract some support from law enforcement unions.
— J.K.

Billionaire Bloomberg Plays Host to Kelly

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R), who has been known to open his swank townhouse off Fifth Avenue to raise money for candidates and causes that he likes, is making his place available for Rep. Sue Kelly (R).

Kelly, who represents the Hudson Valley north of the city, will be the beneficiary of a $1,000-a-ticket event on the evening of July 26. Kelly is not expected to face serious opposition in November.
— J.K.

House Leaders to Join Romero at D.C. Event

Fresh off delivering the Democrats’ weekly radio address last weekend — en Español — state Senate President Pro Tem Richard Romero (D) will travel to Washington, D.C., next week for a fundraiser with a Hispanic political action committee to aid his rematch with Rep. Heather Wilson (R).

Romero will be feted Tuesday by the Committee for Hispanic Causes and Building Our Leadership Diversity PAC.

The entire Democratic House leadership — Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), Caucus Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Robert Matsui (Calif.) — is scheduled to attend. Rep. Tom Udall, the lone Democrat in the New Mexico House delegation, is also scheduled to be there.
— J.K.

The Coach Will Help The Judge in 1st District

Speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.) will travel to Tyler on Aug. 9 to raise money for the Congressional bid of former state Appeals Court Justice Louie Gohmert (R), the Longview News-Journal reported this week.

More than 1,000 invitations have gone out for the luncheon, which will cost between $100 and $2,000 to attend.

Gohmert is one of national Republicans’ most highly touted challengers this year. His race against Rep. Max Sandlin (D) in the newly drawn 1st district is considered a tossup.

Vice President Cheney has already been to the district for Gohmert, helping him raise more than $250,000 in May.
— J.K.

Homeless Candidate Lists Depot as Address

An Independent candidate for U.S. Senate reportedly lives at the Greyhound bus station in Green Bay.

Eugene Hem, a peripheral candidate who has run unsuccessfully for other offices, listed the station as his home address in candidate papers filed with the state, the Green Bay News-Chronicle reported Wednesday.

He has turned in more than enough signatures to get on the ballot and his lack of a permanent home should not prevent him from qualifying, the paper quoted a state official as saying.

Meanwhile, a long-shot Republican Senate hopeful also has an unusual residence.

Marc Gumz, a farmer, reportedly lives in a shelter — not a farm house — on his property in Saulk.
— N.D.

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