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Lipinski Confirms Exit, Son in Line for Seat

Veteran Democratic Rep. Bill Lipinski announced Friday that he will not seek a 12th term in November, paving the way for 3rd district party leaders to anoint his son to replace him on the ballot.

Democratic committeemen, including Lipinski, are scheduled to meet Tuesday to select Daniel Lipinski (D) to run in his father’s place.

Lipinski, the third-ranking Democrat on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, has specialized in transportation issues throughout his 22-year tenure in the House. There has been speculation that he is eyeing a lobbying job tied to that industry.

The younger Lipinski left his job as an assistant professor of political science at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville earlier this summer and returned home to prepare to run in November.

The 3rd is a solidly Democratic seat, and the younger Lipinski is expected to cruise to victory against Ryan Chlada (R) in the fall.

— Lauren W. Whittington

Coors Tops Schaffer, Walcher Leads Smith

National Republicans got their wish Tuesday when brewing magnate Pete Coors crushed former Rep. Bob Schaffer in Colorado’s Republican Senate primary, setting up a November matchup with state Attorney General Ken Salazar (D).

Coors took 61 percent of the vote to Schaffer’s 39 percent, capitalizing on a huge fundraising advantage. Schaffer’s support was largely consolidated in the eastern Colorado 4th district he held from 1996 to 2002.

On the Democratic side, Salazar cruised to a 73 percent to 27 percent victory over educator Mike Miles.

The seat came open in March when Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R) announced he would retire after two terms.

In the only contested House race on the ballot, former state Natural Resources Secretary Greg Walcher appeared to eke out a victory over state Rep. Matt Smith in the Western Slope 3rd district’s Republican primary. Rep. Scott McInnis (R), who now holds the seat, is retiring.

Walcher received 32 percent to Smith’s 31 percent; the two were separated by just 275 votes, and Smith had yet to concede as of press time pending the counting of provisional ballots, which could take until the end of this week.

Whoever emerges as the nominee will face state Rep. John Salazar (D) in the fall; Salazar, Ken’s older brother, was unopposed.
— Chris Cillizza

Majette Wins Runoff but Still Faces Long Odds

Rep. Denise Majette (D) won the runoff last week to become the first woman and first black Georgian ever nominated for Senate.

Majette defeated millionaire businessman Cliff Oxford by 20 points in the runoff but faces an uphill battle against Rep. Johnny Isakson (R) in November.

While Oxford poured more than $1.8 million of his own money into the race and spent much of that on television advertising, Majette became the first major-party candidate in recent memory to win a primary or runoff in the state without running any TV ads.

Her biggest obstacle in the general will be to raise enough money to stay competitive.

Even so, national Democrats long ago took Georgia out of their equation for winning a majority in the chamber this fall.
— L.W.W.

Price, Westmoreland Picked to Fill Open Seats

Also on Tuesday, Republican voters in the 6th and 8th districts selected state Sen. Tom Price (R) and state Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R), respectively, to represent them in the Peach State’s two open House seats.

In the suburban Atlanta 6th district runoff, Price beat fellow state Sen. Robert Lamutt for the GOP nod to succeed Isakson in the staunchly Republican district. Price is unopposed in the November general.

Lamutt dumped more than $1.5 million of his own money into the primary and runoff, but in the end he garnered only 46 percent.

In the 8th district, Westmoreland handily beat back an aggressive challenge from former Bush administration aide Dylan Glenn, who was attempting to become the only black Republican in the House next Congress.

The final margin was 55 percent to 45 percent, after the runoff turned into a nasty and high-profile affair marked by prominent endorsements and racial politics.

The 8th district, currently represented by retiring Rep. Mac Collins (R), is heavily Republican territory and stretches from the southern suburbs of metro Atlanta to Columbus.

Westmoreland will face little-known Democrat Silvia Delamar in November.
— L.W.W.

Cubin Likely to Cruise to Primary Victory

Rep. Barbara Cubin (R) is expected to win Tuesday’s primary, although a recent survey showed a large number of the state’s voters uncertain about whether they will vote to re-elect the five-term incumbent.

Only 46 percent of voters in a poll conducted for the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle said they would vote for Cubin, while 41 percent said they were unsure.

Despite polling below 50 percent, Cubin likely will win the primary as her next closest rivals each only earned 6 percent in the poll conducted Aug. 5-7 by A&A Research of Kalispell, Mont. The poll of 400 voters had a 5 percent error margin.

State Sen. Cale Case and Cheyenne attorney Bruce Asay tied for distant second in the poll.

Among Democrats, Ted Ladd, John Henley and Al Hamburg will square off in the Democratic primary.

According to the Tribune-Eagle, Ladd and Henley are tied at 17 percent, while Hamburg garnered the backing of just 2 percent of voters. A whopping 65 percent were undecided.

The other two Republicans challenging Cubin are Jim Altebaumer and Marvin “Trip” Applequist Jr.
— Nicole Duran

NRSC Poll Shows Coburn up 12 Points

A GOP poll released last week in the Sooner State Senate race showed former Rep. Tom Coburn (R) leading Rep. Brad Carson (D) by a 12-point margin in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Don Nickles (R).

Coburn led 44 percent to 32 percent in the first poll conducted after the former Congressman won a heated July 27 GOP primary.

The survey of 600 likely voters was taken July 29 and had a 4-point margin of error. It was conducted by Basswood Research for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

A spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee noted the poll had a high number of undecided voters (25 percent) and suggested it was conducted to capture any bounce Coburn received from media coverage of the primary before it dissipates.
— L.W.W.

GOP Unites Behind Fitzpatrick in 8th District

Republicans in the 8th district nominated Bucks County Commissioner Michael Fitzpatrick to succeed retiring Rep. Jim Greenwood (R) on Thursday night, setting up what is expected to be a competitive race against Democrat Virginia Schrader in November.

Fitzpatrick’s nomination came as little surprise and he won the nod in a unanimous vote, after his main rival, state Sen. Joe Conti (R), begrudgingly stepped aside.

Although Conti was backed by Greenwood, he was given little hope of securing the nomination after powerful Bucks County GOP Chairman Harry Fawkes, as well as other prominent conservatives in the state, got behind Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick, 41, opposes abortion rights and the issue is expected to play a large role in the general election.

The 8th district is a swing seat that covers Bucks County and small portions of Montgomery County and the city of Philadelphia.
— L.W.W.

Higgins Touts Poll Showing 43-Point Lead

Assemblyman Brian Higgins released a survey last week aimed at casting himself as the clear frontrunner in the Sept. 14 Democratic primary for the open 27th district.

Higgins had a 53 percent to 10 percent lead over West Seneca Supervisor Paul Clark. Attorney Michael Collesano took 9 percent; Chautauqua County Executive Mark Thomas, 6 percent; and attorney Peter Crotty Jr., 5 percent.

The survey was in the field July 20-22, testing 501 likely Democratic primary voters with a 4.4 percent margin of error.

In a head-to-head matchup with Clark, Higgins led 66 percent to 16 percent.

Erie County Executive Nancy Naples is not being challenged for the GOP nomination.

The Upstate seat is being vacated by Rep. Jack Quinn (R) after six terms. It is one of House Democrats’ best pickup opportunities, having given then-Vice President Al Gore a 12-point victory in 2000.
— C.C.

Wetterling Closes In on Incumbent Kennedy

A recent poll conducted for Democratic candidate Patty Wetterling shows the child advocate trailing Rep. Mark Kennedy (R) by only 3 points in the 6th district.

The poll conducted by Wetterling pollster Victoria Research and Consulting has the two-term Kennedy leading 46 percent to 43 percent.

The poll, conducted July 11-14, had a 5 percent error margin.

Wetterling, who is known nationally for her work on behalf of missing and exploited children, has higher name recognition than the incumbent.

Wetterling is known to 91 percent of voters, while Kennedy is known by only 86 percent in the Republican-leaning 6th district.

National Democrats are high on Wetterling’s chances and rewarded her impressive fundraising — she quickly raised more than $400,000 — with a speaking spot at last month’s national convention.

Nonetheless, she trails Kennedy badly in the money chase. He began August with almost $1 million in the bank.
— N.D.

Thune’s New Strategy: Independent From Bush

Former Rep. John Thune (R) is up with a new 60-second ad in which he casts himself as an independent voice for the state, a major change from his 2002 Senate bid, in which he tied himself closely to President Bush.

“No party is right all of the time,” Thune says in the ad. “There are times when what’s important to South Dakota conflicts with someone else’s agenda.”

Thune is challenging Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D) this fall in the most high-profile race of the cycle.

Daschle’s campaign quickly responded to the new ad with a document pointing out a number of instances in which Thune has cast the race as a choice between someone who will support Bush’s agenda and someone who will oppose it.

“If I disagree with the president, I’ll let him know that, but it’s important that we be working together,” Thune says in the spot.

The most recent public polls have shown Daschle with a lead ranging from 2 points to 13 points.

Privately, strategists on both sides agree the margin is likely in between those two pol1s.
— C.C.

Clark Follows Cleland In Aiding Knowles’ Bid

Former Democratic presidential hopeful and retired Gen. Wesley Clark will stump for former Gov. Tony Knowles (D) this week in the Last Frontier.

Clark follows former Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.), who trekked to Alaska in May to help Knowles shore up the veterans’ vote in his bid to unseat Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R).

Knowles has shunned help from many of his party’s standard-bearers, including the presidential nominee, Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), but welcomes the assistance of other military men such as Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam, and the former NATO commander.

Knowles, who is also a veteran, is working hard to win the votes of veterans who make up 16 percent of the state’s population.
— N.D.