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THE NATION: DSCC Seeks Big Haul in Big Apple This Week

Senate Democrats are scheduled to rake in at least $1 million for their 2006 campaign efforts this week at a high-dollar event in New York.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee will benefit from a $25,000-per-person event at the St. Regis Hotel tonight. About 50 VIPs will gather for what is being billed as an economic forum dinner.

In addition to DSCC Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Sens. Joe Biden (Del.), Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) will be on hand to schmooze with donors. Former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin will be the special guest moderator.

Meanwhile, the DSCC’s counterpart raked in an estimated $3.2 million last week at a fundraiser at the Washington, D.C., home of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). President Bush headlined the $25,000-per-person event, which benefited the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

At the end of the first quarter, the DSCC had a $5.6 million to $2.4 million cash-on-hand advantage over the NRSC.

— Lauren W. Whittington


Women Colleagues Say Hollinger Should Run

Several current and former women state legislators announced on Monday that they have formed a committee to urge state Sen. Paula Hollinger (D) to enter the 3rd district race. Three of Hollinger’s Senate colleagues and a member of the House are heading what they are calling the Draft Paula Committee.

Hollinger has said she is seriously considering the race and will make a decision soon.

Other possible Democratic contenders in the race to replace Rep. Benjamin Cardin (D) include Baltimore Health Commissioner Peter Beilenson (son of former California Rep. Anthony Beilenson), Del. Jon Cardin (the Congressman’s nephew), Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens, and state Dels. Neil Quinter and Bobby Zirkin.

Hollinger, Beilenson and Quinter are considered the likeliest to run.

State Del. Maggie McIntosh (D), who is close to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D), had also been contemplating the race, but she indicated last week that she would not run.

Republicans are expected to try to make the open-seat race competitive in a district that gave Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) a 9-point victory over President Bush in 2004. But no big-name Republican has entered the contest yet.

— Josh Kurtz

Hoyer Endorses Cardin, Escorts Him in District

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D) endorsed Rep. Benjamin Cardin (D) for Senate on Monday.

“His exceptional experience in state and federal office, as well as his leadership skills, legislative effectiveness, and unquestioned integrity are just a few of the qualities that make me so proud to endorse his candidacy,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer chaperoned Cardin through his southern Maryland district during the afternoon, stopping first for lunch at Casey Jones, a popular neighborhood pub in La Plata. The two then traveled together to a forum on health care at a senior center in La Plata, then to a discussion on the preservation of southern Maryland’s military bases in Lexington Park, home of the Patuxent River Naval Station.

Hoyer’s endorsement of Cardin is not unexpected: the two were elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1966, and Hoyer’s tenure as state Senate president coincided with Cardin’s as chairman of the state House Ways and Means Committee.

Cardin served as chairman and chief vote counter for Hoyer’s two leadership races in the House.

And just as he has made protecting and promoting conservative and moderate Democrats a priority in the House and in Congressional elections, Hoyer is also seen as a protector of Maryland’s conservative and moderate Democrats. He has apparently come to the conclusion that Cardin as the party’s Senate nominee will do less damage to conservative legislative candidates who have been targeted for defeat in 2006 by Republicans than other potential nominees.

Former Rep. and ex-NAACP President Kweisi Mfume (D) has already entered the Senate race, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) is weighing a run. Both are considered marginally more liberal than Cardin, despite the strong support Cardin receives from labor unions, environmentalists, women’s groups and other pillars of the Democratic Party.

— J.K.

New York

State Senator Declines to Challenge Fossella

State Sen. Diane Savino, one of three Democrats being recruited to challenge Rep. Vito Fossella (R) next year, told the Staten Island Advance on Sunday that she would not run.

Savino said she preferred to seek re-election to the state Senate because she believes Democrats have a good chance of taking control of the chamber for the first time in more than 40 years. Savino said a Democratic majority in the Legislature — the party already is in firm control of the state Assembly — would help national Democrats the next time Congressional district lines are drawn.

“It’s … important that we have a hand in redrawing our district lines so we can strengthen our position in Washington,” she said.

According to the paper, state Assemblyman Mike Cusick (D) traveled to D.C. recently to discuss the possibility of challenging Fossella with party leaders. New York City Councilman Mike McMahon (D) is also seen as a possible candidate, but he has said he wants to concentrate on his 2005 re-election campaign first.

— J.K.


Moran Says He Won’t Run for Governor in ’06

Rep. Jerry Moran (R) ruled out a challenge to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) late last week, providing Democrats with a major boost in their effort to keep the seat.

Moran has held the western Kansas 1st district since 1996 and was widely regarded as Republicans’ best — and most likely — challenger to Sebelius.

The primary reason Moran passed on the race was that he and his wife did not want to move to Topeka, according to the Kansas City Star.

With Moran out of the contest, there is no top-tier Republican currently considering the race against Sebelius.

Under the most likely scenario, a candidate from the party’s conservative wing will clash in a primary with a flag bearer for party moderates, the same scenario that led to Sebelius’ 8-point victory in 2002.

Moran is a heavy favorite to win re-election in the strongly Republican 1st district.

— Chris Cillizza

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