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A new Mason-Dixon poll conducted for the Richmond Times-Dispatch and other media outlets showed Gov. Mark Warner (D) leading Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) by a 47 percent to 42 percent margin in a hypothetical 2006 Senate matchup.

The survey was taken July 19-21 and polled 625 likely voters. It had a 4 percent margin of error.

Among independent voters, the poll also showed Warner with a significant lead among independent voters tested, 53 percent to 34 percent.

Warner had a 56 percent to 14 percent favorable/unfavorable rating, while Allen had 51 percent to 23 percent. Warner is in his final year as governor and appears more interested in exploring a presidential bid than in taking on Allen, who served as governor from 1993 to 1997.

Former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer is the only other Democrat that has been mentioned as potential challenger to Allen.
— Lauren W. Whittington

Carcieri Reverses Stance, Gets Behind Chafee

Gov. Donald Carcieri (R) recanted the promise of neutrality he made to a local television station and issued a statement strongly endorsing the re-election efforts of Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I.) Tuesday.

Carcieri had told the station that he would not get involved if Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey decided to challenge Chafee in next year’s GOP primary.

It almost seemed like an invitation to Laffey — who is taking the summer to mull a bid — to enter the race.

Apparently, that was not the signal the governor meant to send.

“I completely support Sen. Chafee’s re-election bid,” Carcieri stated. “I believe that it is important for our state and for our citizens that Sen. Chafee continues to represent us in Washington, D.C. I have been very supportive of Sen. Chafee to date, and I will continue to support Sen. Chafee throughout his election campaign.”

The governor added: “Steve Laffey is a great mayor, a very talented member of the Republican Party, and an important part of our team in Rhode Island. But I think we must support our sitting Republican Senator.”
— Nicole Duran

Brown Gets Backing Of 2002 Gov. Candidate

Rhode Island Secretary of State Matt Brown (D) has won the endorsement of Tony Pires, a 2002 gubernatorial candidate.

“After 10 years working in communities across Rhode Island, Matt Brown understands what people are up against,” Pires stated in a news release. “Matt Brown takes on tough problems and works to solve them.”

Pires came in third in that Democratic primary and then-Attorney General Sheldon Whitehouse, who is opposing Brown for the right to challenge Chafee next year, came in second.

“We both believe we need leaders in the Senate who take on the problems people face every day,” Brown said about Pires.

— N.D.

Romero Wants Another Shot at Rep. Melancon

State Sen. Craig Romero (R) is gearing up for another Congressional run in the 3rd district, preparing to challenge freshman Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) in 2006.

Romero came in a close third in last year’s all-party primary, barely missing a spot in the runoff.

Melancon came in second in the first round of balloting and eventually defeated Billy Tauzin III (R) in the runoff. Tauzin was aiming to succeed his father, former Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-La.), who retired last year.

Romero has raised nearly $200,000 for his campaign so far. Melancon had $524,000 in the bank as of June 30.

The swampy 3rd district, which includes about half of the state’s Cajun country, is socially conservative and favors Republicans.

President Bush won re-election with 58 percent of the vote in the district last year.

— L.W.W.

Abercrombie Foe Pleads To Campaign Violations

The 2004 Republican opponent of Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) who was considered an up-and-comer in Hawaiian politics, has pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws.

Dalton Tanonaka, a former reporter, was accused of illegally pumping $84,000 in unreported loans into his 2002 campaign for lieutenant governor and last year’s challenge of Abercrombie, several Hawaii newspapers reported last week.

He pleaded guilty to three felonies and a misdemeanor and faces up to 66 years in prison. He will be sentenced in November.

He admitted to making false statements on loan applications and on campaign disclosure reports to the Federal Election Commission.

Tanonaka previously worked for CNN International and CNBC Asia.
— N.D.

EMILY’s List Survey Has Tight Race in 8th

A new poll commissioned by EMILY’s List showed that the open 8th district seat in Wisconsin could be a good pickup opportunity for Democrats next year.

The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll of 598 8th district voters conducted May 17-24 with a 4 percent margin of error had Democrat Nancy Nusbaum running almost even with state Assembly Speaker John Gard (R).

In the poll, Gard garnered 46 percent of the general election vote in a hypothetical matchup with Nusbaum, who only recently entered the race, while she took 45 percent.

According to the poll, Nusbaum’s name was known by 61 percent of voters surveyed.

Nusbaum is a former De Pere mayor and Brown County executive.

Rep. Mark Green (R-Wis.) is giving up the seat to run for governor next year.

Nusbaum faces business consultant Jamie Wall in the Democratic primary, while Gard is the only official Republican candidate in the Republican-leaning district.

State Assemblywoman Terri McCormick (R) has formed an exploratory committee for a possible bid.
— N.D.

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