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Brewer Poll Concludes She’s in Sync With California Voters

Armed with a new poll showing her potential in a special election to replace Rep. Christopher Cox (R), former state Assemblywoman Marilyn Brewer (R) arrived in Washington, D.C., Sunday night for three days of meetings with party officials and interest groups.

Brewer, one of two Republicans who have already declared for the yet-to-be-scheduled special open primary, has argued that her moderate social positions are more in the line with the majority of voters in the Orange County district and that her principal GOP opponent, state Sen. John Campbell (R), is too conservative.

Brewer has been showing interest groups a polling memo, conducted July 6 and 7 by Public Opinion Strategies, that finds her views more in line with voters’ than Campbell’s. While she concedes that Campbell beats her and all other potential candidates in an initial head-to-head matchup, she finds that she is the leader when the positions of five current or potential candidates are aired.

Assuming the Senate confirms Cox to become the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, an all-party primary will be held — possibly Nov. 8 — to elect a replacement. Because voters will be able to select a candidate regardless of party, Brewer is touting her support for abortion rights and more government funding for stem-cell research.

Many political observers believe that Campbell will need a second strong conservative in the race besides Campbell to win, but she is confident no matter what the field ultimately looks like.

“Our numbers show that I can beat Campbell in a head-to-head,” she said.

Meanwhile, Campbell on Friday released a list of 37 Republican state legislators who are supporting his candidacy.
— Josh Kurtz

Butler Warns Brandon on Late Senate Entry

The Rev. Keith Butler (R) has a message for his might-be Senate primary challenger: “Catch me if you can.”

Butler was in town meeting with National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee officials, including Chairwoman Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), and others trying to drum up support for his challenge to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) next year.

Butler, a former Detroit city councilman, is by far the frontrunner in a field that includes political neophytes and gadflies, but his nascent campaign has not yet reached its full potential as state and national Republican leaders await word from Domino’s Pizza CEO David Brandon about whether he will run.

Many Republicans would like to see Brandon, who was elected statewide to the University of Michigan Board of Regents, take on Stabenow.

But Brandon, who could bring considerable personal wealth to the race, has said he would not make a decision before September.

“We have so much momentum right now,” Butler said Monday.

“We have one-third of the [state] Republican Party apparatus behind me now in July. At the end of summer, we will have a majority of the apparatus behind me. If you wait until September with me, it’s going to be too late.”
— Nicole Duran

Perlmutter Picks Up Key Support for the Primary

Former state Sen. Ed Perlmutter (D) continues to rack up key labor endorsements in his primary race to replace Rep. Bob Beauprez (R), who is running for governor.

Perlmutter, one of two leading Democrats in the field, announced Monday that he has been endorsed by Teamsters Local 537. Last month, Perlmutter chalked up the backing of the Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers.

“I am proud and grateful for the early support and confidence that these organizations, representing thousands of Colorado’s working men and women, have invested in me,” Perlmutter said in a statement.

The former state Senate President Pro Tem is squaring off in the Democratic primary against former state Rep. Peggy Lamm, an ex-sister-in-law of former Gov. Dick Lamm (D).

The primary victor is expected to face Rick O’Donnell (R), the state’s commissioner of higher education, in what is certain to be one of the most competitive open-seat races in the country.

Through June 30, Perlmutter reported raising $215,000 in the past three months and had $211,000 in the bank. Lamm reported raising $93,000 in the period and banking $83,000. O’Donnell took in $269,000 and had $262,000 on hand.

— J.K.

Pankau Bows to Roskam In Race for Hyde’s Seat

State Sen. Carol Pankau (R) dropped out of the 6th district race to succeed retiring Rep. Henry Hyde (R) last week, leaving fellow state Sen. Peter Roskam unopposed in next year’s GOP primary and the current favorite to win the suburban Chicago seat.

“While I believe that I would have had an excellent opportunity to win in March, upon reflection, at this time in my life, I have come to the conclusion that my role in government and politics is best served by continuing to work for the citizens of my district and invigorating the Republican Party through my efforts in Springfield,” Pankau said in a statement.

Pankau’s announcement came one day after former DuPage County Recorder Rick Carney (R) said that he was ending his nascent bid for Hyde’s seat.

Roskam has secured early endorsements from GOP leaders across the district and as of June 30, he had $370,000 in his campaign account.

Banking executive Christine Cegelis (D), who challenged Hyde in 2004, is seeking the Democratic nomination again, although she faces an uphill battle in a seat that favors Republicans. At the end of last month, Cegelis had $43,000 in cash on hand.

— Lauren W. Whittington

Kathy Salvi Poised to Join Race for Bean’s Seat

Kathy Salvi (R), the wife of trial attorney and one-time Senate hopeful Al Salvi, is preparing to run in the 8th district GOP primary next year, The Chicago Tribune recently reported.

Al Salvi, who unsuccessfully ran for Senate in 1996 and Illinois secretary of state in 1998, had been viewed as a likely candidate in the 8th district last year but he recently said he would not run.

“I’m not running,” Al Salvi told the newspaper. “My wife is. … Kathy has the fire in the belly.”

He said Kathy Salvi is likely to formally enter the race against freshman Rep. Melissa Bean (D) around Labor Day.

Bean, who defeated longtime Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.) in 2004, is expected to be a top target for Republicans next year.

Businessman David McSweeney and businesswoman Teresa Bartels are already seeking the GOP nod in a primary race that is expected to become heated and expensive. McSweeney, Bartels and Salvi all have the ability to put some personal resources toward their bids.

McSweeney has raised $343,000 to this point and had $229,000 in remaining cash at the end of June.

Bartels has raised $198,000 and showed $181,000 in the bank.

Bean raised $460,000 in the second quarter of the year and showed $735,000 in her campaign coffers at the end of June.

— L.W.W.

Farrell Officially Seeks Rematch With Shays

Westport First Selectwoman Dianne Farrell (D) formally entered the race against Rep. Christopher Shays (R) late last week, setting up a rematch of one of the closest House contests in 2004.

“The issues are virtually the same today as they were in 2004 — but the problems have gotten worse,” Farrell said.

In the previous cycle, Farrell came within 15,000 votes of knocking off the nine-term incumbent, losing 52 percent to 48 percent.

Both candidates spent heavily; Shays dropped $2.3 million to $1.5 million for Farrell.

As a result of that close call and her strong fundraising, Farrell was heavily recruited by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to run again in 2006, and she will be one of the organization’s top challengers.

Given the partisan makeup of the district, it is surprising that Shays had not faced a serious opponent since 1987 when he won a special election to replace the late Rep. Stewart McKinney (R).

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D) won the 4th district, which takes in much of southwestern Connecticut, 52 percent to 46 percent over President Bush in 2004.

— Chris Cillizza

Fossella to Reap Benefits From Cheney Fundraiser

Vice President Cheney will travel to Staten Island Monday for a fundraiser for Rep. Vito Fossella (R).

The $250-a-ticket and up affair will take place at the Excelsior Grand Hotel in the borough’s New Dorp neighborhood. Those wishing a picture with the vice president will pay $2,000.

Democrats hit on the news of the fundraiser as a sign that the national GOP is worried about Fossella’s re-election prospects. But Republicans told the Staten Island Advance that Cheney’s visit amounts to GOP muscle-flexing as Democrats make noises about running an aggressive campaign against the Republican.

“The other side is full of a lot of hot air,” Fossella said in an interview with the paper. “To date, they have no campaign, no candidate against me, and no money raised.”

— J.K.

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