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MoveOn Raises, and Spends, Big in 2005’s political action committee recently filed its six-month fundraising report, showing that the PAC raised nearly $4.6 million and spent almost $5.6 million between Jan. 1 and June 30, according to

During that period, the PAC sent out several fundraising pleas on behalf of Democratic incumbents, candidates and challengers.

The report showed that the PAC’s efforts netted $834,000 in contributions earmarked for Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), $161,000 for Pennsylvania Treasurer and Senate challenger Bob Casey Jr. (D), $157,000 for the campaign of former Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas) and $151,000 for Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

Byrd could face his first-ever competitive Senate race if Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) decides to run. Casey is challenging Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Lampson is running against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). Nelson is expected to face Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.).

— Lauren W. Whittington

Melancon Tops Romero For House In Early Poll

A recent Anzalone-Liszt poll conducted for freshman Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) found the freshman lawmaker with a sizable lead over state Sen. Craig Romero (R) in a test of the likely 2006 matchup in the 3rd district.

Melancon led Romero 51 percent to 27 percent, while 52 percent of voters said they favored Melancon’s re-election.

The poll surveyed 450 likely voters and was taken July 18-21. It had a 5 percent margin of error.

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

— L.W.W.

Cheney Visit Nets Big Haul for Fossella

Rep. Vito Fossella (R) raked in $340,000 at a Staten Island fundraiser featuring Vice President Cheney last week.

Republican campaign strategists estimate that the take from the Monday night reception makes it one of the most successful events hosted by the vice president for a Member of the House.

More than 800 people attended the sold-out event at the Excelsior Grand on Staten Island.

Fossella raised $267,000 in the second quarter of 2005 and had $358,000 in his campaign account as of June 30.

Although President Bush won re-election with 55 percent in Fossella’s 13th district, Democrats have been actively trying to recruit a challenger in the Staten Island-based seat, believing that the four-term Congressman is vulnerable.

— L.W.W.

Hafer Takes Step Toward Murphy Challenge

Former Pennsylvania state Treasurer Barbara Hafer (D) has taken the first official step toward challenging Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), filing papers with the Federal Election Commission on July 28 to establish a Congressional campaign account.

Hafer, who was a Republican for most of her public career, is expected to get strong financial backing from EMILY’s List in her possible run against the former child psychologist.

Hafer’s move follows Vice President Cheney’s appearance in the Keystone State last week to raise money for the two-term Republican.

Other Democrats considering a run in the Pittsburgh-area district include George Matta, Allegheny County clerk of courts, and Tom Kovach, a former state legislative candidate from Peters, Pa.

— Teddy Davis

Butler Wins Key Endorsement for Senate

The Rev. Keith Butler (R) continues to pick up endorsements in his bid to challenge Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) next year.

Dick Posthumus (R), a former lieutenant governor and the unsuccessful gubernatorial nominee in 2002, is the latest to support the former Detroit City councilman.

“Keith is truly a compassionate conservative,” Posthumus said in a news release. “He is a tireless campaigner with a philosophy that is in tune with the majority of voters in Michigan.”

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox was the first major Republican figure to support Butler.

His campaign’s national finance efforts are being led by former Reps. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) and J.C. Watts (R-Okla.).

The Rev. Jerry Zandstra, American-Arab community activist Nasser Beydoun and engineer Bart Baron are also seeking the GOP nomination. But the biggest threat to a Butler candidacy could come from Domino’s Pizza CEO Dave Brandon, who is considering a run.

— Nicole Duran

Langevin Primary Foe Has Cake, Eats It Too

Brown University professor Jennifer Lawless (D) opened her campaign headquarters over the weekend with a “cake and coffee with Jen!” event.

Lawless is challenging Rep. James Langevin (D) in the 1st district Democratic primary next year.

Lawless promised to launch a series of “coffee hours” at coffeehouses throughout the district.

“I am going to be the most accessible candidate in Rhode Island,” she promised in a news release.

— N.D.

Matheson Is Without An Opponent, So Far

No 2nd district Republican seems very enthused about the prospect of challenging Rep. Jim Matheson (D) next year, the Deseret News reported last week.

Though Matheson has been a top National Republican Congressional Committee target in years past, no one has launched a campaign against him yet.

John Swallow has lost twice to Matheson and said he would not run again. The same goes for Swallow’s twice-unsuccessful primary opponent Tim Bridgewater.

State Rep. LaVar Christensen (R) is reportedly mulling a bid.

— N.D.