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In New Hampshire, State Rep. Files Papers to Challenge Bradley

State Rep. Peter Sullivan (D) took the first formal step toward declaring his candidacy for the Granite State’s 1st Congressional district last week.

He filed paperwork to challenge Rep. Jeb Bradley (R), who was just elected to a second term, the Web site reported.

Sullivan is in his third term representing portions of Manchester in the Legislature. Bradley represents a district that has been competitive in presidential elections.

“Democrats haven’t begun early traditionally, and that’s probably why we haven’t won this seat in 20 years,” Sullivan told the Web site. “I hope this shows the seriousness of this campaign.”
— Nicole Duran

Rumor Resurfaces on Espy Congressional Bid

Speculation has resurfaced that state Rep. Chuck Espy, the nephew of former Rep. and Clinton administration Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (D), may be gearing up to challenge Rep. Bennie Thompson in next year’s Democratic primary.

The Web site reported last week that the topic was discussed during a recent meeting at the Jackson home of political strategist and businessman Tom Espy, Chuck Espy’s uncle.

Chuck Espy, the son of Clarksdale Mayor Henry Espy, was elected to the state Legislature in 2000. He has been mentioned as a possible challenger to Thompson before.

Thompson was first elected to Congress in 1993, replacing Mike Espy, who resigned to become Agriculture secretary.
— Lauren W. Whittington

Ex-Nominee Seeking Rematch With Simmons

Former state Rep. Joe Courtney (D) will challenge Rep. Rob Simmons (R) in 2006 — a rematch of the contest staged in 2002 in the 2nd district.

“Just going out and testing the waters in the past several months has been like night and day compared to three-and-a-half years ago,” Courtney told the New London Day last week.

Courtney has formed a campaign committee to begin raising the millions of dollars he’ll need if he hopes to unseat the third-term Member.

He has also moved quickly to cut off primary opposition, having already met with Connecticut Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D) and John Larson (D) as well as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) to talk about his candidacy.

In 2002, Courtney was highly touted by national Democrats after making an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor in 1998.

His candidacy was widely seen as a disappointment, especially on the fundraising front as Simmons outspent him $1.8 million to $1.2 million.

Simmons won the race 54 percent to 46 percent despite the fact that then-Vice President Al Gore had carried the 2nd district with 55 percent two years earlier.

In 2004, Simmons beat former Norwich City Councilman Jim Sullivan (D) by the same 54 percent to 46 percent margin.
— Chris Cillizza

Unclear When Perdue Will Sign Remap Bill

The Peach State’s newly proposed Congressional boundaries landed on the desk of Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) last week, as state legislators completed action on a mid-decade redistricting effort Tuesday.

Perdue is expected to sign the measure into law, although a spokesman for the governor declined to give a specific timetable for when that might happen. He said Perdue will take time to carefully review the new lines.

Because Georgia falls under the Voting Rights Act, the map will have to be approved by the Justice Department before going into effect for the 2006 elections.

Republicans, who now have unified control of state government, sought to change the current map, drawn by Democrats in 2001, because they argued the boundaries were unfairly drawn to produce partisan gains. Their new map splits fewer precincts and counties than the Democratic plan and, Republicans argue, reunites communities of interest.

Democrats, meanwhile, have called the unprecedented mid-decade action a GOP power grab and have threatened a court challenge.

The current makeup of the state’s delegation — seven Republicans and six Democrats — is unlikely to change much, if at all, if the new map is implemented.

For Republicans, the greatest political outcome of the line change is solidifying Rep. Phil Gingrey’s 11th district for the GOP.

Meanwhile, the new map would potentially complicate the re-election efforts of Democratic Reps. John Barrow and Jim Marshall.
— L.W.W.

Mayor Continues Push for Possible Vacancy

Englewood Mayor Michael Wildes (D) will host a fundraising reception Wednesday night, as he gears up for a possible 2008 Congressional run.

The $1,000-per-person event is taking place at Solaia Bar and Restaurant in Englewood.

Wildes has opened a federal campaign account in anticipation of running for the 9th district seat currently held by Rep. Steve Rothman (D), who was also Englewood mayor before being elected to Congress.

Rothman is considered a possible Senate candidate in 2008, if Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D) decides to forgo re-election.

Wildes, who was first elected mayor in November 2003 and is seeking re-election in 2006, has said he does not plan to challenge Rothman in a primary and would only run if the seat is vacant.
— L.W.W.

State Democrats Certain to Give Jeffords a Pass

Vermont Democrats are in no rush to field a candidate against Sen. Jim Jeffords (I) next year.

The state Democratic Party chairman recently told a Vermont paper that the group gave the former Republican Senator its highest honor and that many Green Mountain State Democrats think very highly of the man who bolted his party in 2001, temporarily giving control of the chamber to the Democrats.

“I’m going to wait, keep my powder dry, and see what the landscape looks like, but Democrats like Jim Jeffords a lot,” Peter Mallary told Seven Days, a Burlington weekly.

National Democrats have already pledged their support to Jeffords.

Republicans will give Jeffords no such pass, and state party leaders are searching for a top-tier challenger to take on the man they consider a “turncoat.”

Republicans reportedly mulling the race are Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie, former state House Speaker Walter Freed and IDX Chairman Richard Tarrant.

Retired Air Force pilot Greg Parke, who badly lost his Congressional bid last year to Rep. Bernie Sanders (I), has already thrown his hat into the ring.

Meanwhile Jeffords’ colleague Sen. Patrick Leahy is the latest Democrat to lend him a hand.

Carolyn Dwyer, who managed Leahy’s successful re-election bid last year, has signed on with Jeffords, the Montpelier Times Argus reported.

She will serve as a consultant and help Jeffords organize his campaign.
— N.D.

Murphy May Want to Play Ball With Matheson 

Former Atlanta Braves standout Dale Murphy is reportedly mulling a Congressional bid in the Beehive State.

He has been seen making the Republican Lincoln Day dinner circuit and delivering speeches, according to Utah Policy Daily.

Murphy is “seriously” considering challenging Rep. Jim Matheson (D) in the 2nd district, the newsletter’s Web site reported last week.
— N.D.

GOP Waiting for Rossi as Senate Race Looms

No Republican is expected to declare his candidacy for the Senate until the fate of vanquished gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi, who is still challenging the results of last year’s election, is known.

“Everybody knows the situation” and will wait to see what develops, state Republican Party Chairman Chris Vance told The Olympian newspaper recently.

Rossi narrowly won the first two counts after the balloting, but Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared the winner after a hand recount gave her a 129-vote margin of victory.

If he loses his case for a new election or otherwise does not become governor, Republicans will urge Rossi to challenge freshman Sen. Maria Cantwell (D), whom they think is very vulnerable.

Vance said he would probably vie for the GOP Senate nomination if Rossi declined and asked him to run instead.

According to a recent poll, Rossi would be the most formidable of the possible Republican contenders against Cantwell, while Vance would be the weakest.

Former state Rep. Rick White (R), who won Cantwell’s House seat from her in 1994, and others are also mulling the race.
— N.D.

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