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Hill Holding Fundraiser for Probable Rematch in Indiana

Former Rep. Baron Hill (D) will hold what is being billed as a formal Washington, D.C. kickoff of his campaign fundraising effort next month, as he moves closer to officially announcing a bid to regain his old seat.

“I intend to run but I am short of making a formal announcement about it yet because I want to see how the fundraising goes,” Hill said Wednesday from his Washington office at mCapitol Management, where he serves as senior adviser.

Hill will be the featured guest at a “Bring Back Baron” event June 13 at Tortilla Coast on Capitol Hill. Sen. Evan Bayh (D) and Democratic Reps. Julia Carson and Peter Visclosky are the headliners of the event.

Contribution levels for the fundraiser range from $250 to $5,000.

After losing to now-Rep. Mike Sodrel (R) in 2004 by about 1,500 votes, Hill made clear that he was interested in a 2006 rematch.

Hill has registered a campaign committee with the Federal Election Commission, the Committee to Bring Back Baron, and he said he’s telling his former colleagues, “I’m in it.”

Republicans, meanwhile, were quick to point out that Hill’s fundraiser has the appearance of corporate sponsorship — which could raise red flags since corporate contributions to federal campaigns are strictly prohibited.

The name of Hill’s firm, mCapitol Management, appears at the top of the invitation welcoming the VIPs to the fundraiser. The firm is listed as a corporation in disclosure documents filed with the House and in documents on file with the state of Illinois.

“I find it interesting that with [Minority Leader] Nancy Pelosi’s emphasis on maintaining a higher standard, that Baron Hill would kick off his campaign with an event hosted by a corporation,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Carl Forti.

A spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said the firm’s PAC is the event sponsor.
— Lauren W. Whittington

THE NATION
ROMP II Aims to Boost Frosh, Other Vulnerables

House Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Chief Deputy Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), co-chairmen of the Retain Our Majority II program, announced this week that 10 House Republicans will be the beneficiaries of a fundraiser next month.

The proceeds from a June 23 reception at the Capitol Hill Club will be divided between the 10 Members, half of whom are freshmen representing potentially competitive districts.

The ROMP II recipients are: Reps. Charles Boustany (La.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Chris Chocola (Ind.), Charlie Dent (Pa.), Jeff Fortenberry (Neb.), Robin Hayes (N.C.), Randy Kuhl (N.Y.), Mike Rogers (Ala.), Joe Schwarz (Mich.) and Heather Wilson (N.M.).

ROMP was first established in 1999 as a way of encouraging Republicans to provide early financial assistance to vulnerable colleagues. Since its launch, the program has assisted about 75 GOP Members in competitive districts.
— L.W.W.

OHIO
Nineteen Will Compete for Portman Vacancy

The filing period for the special election to fill the vacancy created by Rep. Rob Portman’s (R) recent ascension to U.S. trade representative has closed, with 19 candidates filing nominating petitions before the deadline Tuesday.

A total of 12 Republicans and seven Democrats qualified to run in the June 14 primary. Each party’s nominees will face off in an Aug. 2 special election.

Hamilton County Commissioner Pat DeWine (R) is considered the early frontrunner in the race. DeWine, the son of Sen. Mike DeWine (R), has led the field by double digits in early polls. He will be in Washington, D.C., next Thursday for a campaign kickoff fundraiser featuring his father and three members of the Buckeye State’s Congressional delegation.

Former Rep. Bob McEwen, state Rep. Tom Brinkman and former state Rep. Jean Schmidt are among the other Republicans seeking the GOP nod. The district heavily favors Republicans, and Democrats are not expected to seriously contest the seat.
— L.W.W.

NEW YORK
Cox Launches Senate Exploratory Committee

Ed Cox, a New York attorney and son-in-law of the late President Richard Nixon, appears likely to challenge Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D) in 2006.

A Republican who has not previously run for elected office, Cox has opened an exploratory committee with the Federal Election Commission that allows him to raise money for a Senate bid.

He begins in a massive financial hole, however, as Clinton carried $8.7 million in her bank account at the end of March — the largest war chest of the 33 Senators up for re-election in 2006. Cox is married to Nixon’s daughter, Tricia, and currently heads up the corporate law practice at Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler in New York City.

Clinton won an open-seat race to replace retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D) in 2000.

Since then she has emerged as one of the top fundraisers in the party and is seen as a heavy favorite should she seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Cox could well have a clear shot at Clinton as GOP heavyweights like former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York Gov. George Pataki are not interested in a run.
— Chris Cillizza

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