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Kentucky: Conway Confers in D.C. on Northup Challenge

Attorney Jack Conway (D) is in Washington, D.C., this week for meetings with top party officials, as he continues to mull a challenge to Rep. Anne Northup (R) in 2006.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) has been aggressively recruiting Conway, who lost to Northup by fewer than 7,400 votes in 2002.

Conway also is contemplating running for statewide office in 2007, in which case he would forgo a Congressional bid next year.

Aside from Conway, no other Democratic names have surfaced as possible 3rd district candidates next year. Kentucky has one of the earliest filing deadlines in the country, Jan. 26, 2006.

Northup, who has been a perennial target for Democrats since being elected in 1996, was re-elected with 60 percent of the vote in 2004 — her largest winning margin to date.

— Lauren W. Whittington

Rhode Island: Was Laffey Channeling Cain in Mail Appeal?

Pizza magnate Herman Cain (R), who unsuccessfully sought the open Senate seat in Georgia in the previous cycle, apparently has decided to try his luck in Rhode Island next year.

Or maybe it’s a typo.

In a recent fundraising appeal sent on behalf of Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey, who is seeking to unseat Sen. Lincoln Chafee in next year’s Republican primary, Cain’s Web address mysteriously appeared in the disclaimer.

It seems Laffey’s campaign borrowed solicitation ideas from the former Godfather’s Pizza chief but forgot to completely tweak the form that was used to craft the letter.

In the box where campaigns explain the fine print of federal election law, someone goofed and did not replace with

Laffey, or someone working for him, also cannot spell his name, as the disclaimer starts with “paid for by Lafie U.S. Senate.”

And do not blame the direct-mail firm: BMW Direct Inc., which handled Cain’s mail last year, said it has not done any work for Laffey.

The Laffey campaign, which uses a different mailing firm, said it was a “printing error” but that the campaign takes “full responsibility” for the problem and will be more watchful in the future, according to spokeswoman Robin Muksian-Schutt.

— Nicole Duran

Florida: Ex-Rep. Miller Aiding Hudson’s House Bid

Former Rep. Dan Miller (R) hosted a fundraiser Tuesday night at his Bradenton home for businessman Tramm Hudson (R), whom he has endorsed in the race to succeed Rep. Katherine Harris (R), who is running for Senate.

Hudson faces an expensive and potentially bruising primary in the Sarasota-based seat next year. Miller represented the district for 10 years before retiring in 2002.

Auto dealer Vern Buchanan and state Reps. Nancy Detert and Donna Clarke also are seeking the GOP nomination.

The contest is likely to evolve into a spending war between Hudson and Buchanan, both of whom have personal resources to devote to the race.

Buchanan raised $588,000 in the third quarter of the year, while Hudson took in $196,000.

— L.W.W.

Wyoming: Internet Entrepreneur Eyes Cubin Challenge

Internet entrepreneur Gary Trauner (D) is considering a run for the Equality State’s lone House seat, and has launched a federal political action committee so he can raise money for a potential race against Rep. Barbara Cubin (R).

Trauner would likely bring some level of personal wealth to the table if he chose to run, as the regional Internet provider he helped found, OneWest, was recently sold. Trauner has previously launched and sold other businesses as well.

“I think he’s a fantastic candidate for this race because of his service on the school board and his personal story,” Wyoming Democratic Party Executive Director Kyle DeBeer said Tuesday.

Trauner, 46, is chairman of the Teton County School District Board of Trustees, and has served as chairman of a local water and sewer district. He is married with two sons.

Despite the fact that Trauner cuts a good profile, he is sure to face an uphill battle. Wyoming voted overwhelmingly for President Bush last year, and is considered one of the nation’s most conservative states.

In an Associated Press article last week, Trauner said he has not made up his mind on running, but a statement he has published on his campaign Web site reads as though he has already made a definitive decision to enter the race.

— David M. Drucker

Nevada: Cheney Itinerary: Gated Community in Vegas …

The probe into whether the White House leaked the identity of a covert CIA agent may be nearing Vice President Cheney, but the veep is still a draw on the fundraising circuit.

Cheney stopped by a swanky suburban Las Vegas community Monday to help Rep. Jon Porter (R) raise money, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

The function, held at the home of Cindy and Bill Brady, who own a local hotel cleaning supply company, cost donors $250 to attend or $1,000 to have a picture taken with Cheney.

It raised an estimated $200,000 for Porter.

About 160 people attended the gated-community event. The Bradys’ home overlooks the Bears Best Golf Club, the paper reported.

While a visit from Air Force 2 is nothing to slough off, it seems Porter does not really need Cheney’s help.

He banked $741,000 by Sept. 30 and though Porter’s swing district should make him a primary Democratic target, the only 2006 challenger he has attracted so far is chiropractor and convicted felon Barry Michaels.

District Judge Nancy Saitta (D) is still mulling a bid. She is expected to decide within the week.

— N.D.

Colorado: … To Mile High Stadium for O’Donnell Event

Rick O’Donnell (R), vying to replace Rep. Bob Beauprez (R) in the competitive 7th district, was practically giddy when asked how it felt to have Vice President Cheney in Denver on Monday supporting his candidacy.

“To have the vice president of the United States come out here, it’s amazing,” O’Donnell told the Denver Post following the Monday fundraiser. “I’ve been pinching myself.”

O’Donnell, chairman of Colorado’s Higher Education Commission, has no opponents in the Republican primary, but he will face fierce competition from the Democratic nominee in the general election.

The district handily re-elected Beauprez last year but preferred Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) over President Bush by 3 points. The seat was only narrowly won by Beauprez in 2002.

The Post reported Tuesday that 120 people attended the O’Donnell fundraiser at Invesco Field at Mile High, with the gathering expected to garner $100,000.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that Rick O’Donnell is the man for the job,” Cheney said in a speech at the event. “President Bush and I are behind him 100 percent of the way.”

— D.M.D.

Michigan: Stabenow Job Approval Middling, But She Wins

In a new Republican poll, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) remains below the critical 50 percent mark in both job approval and electability.

The Strategic Vision poll distributed Tuesday shows that 42 percent of 1,200 likely Michigan voters think the first-term Senator is doing a good job, while 38 percent disapprove and 20 percent gave no opinion.

In matchups with current Republican candidates Keith Butler and Jerry Zandstra, Stabenow fared about the same.

She would win 49 percent of the vote against Zandstra, who would take 22 percent with 29 percent undecided. Butler would hold her to 47 percent and win 28 percent of the vote, leaving 25 percent undecided.

Butler bested Zandstra 28 percent to 21 percent with the majority of the 504 self-identified Republicans — 51 percent — saying they were uncommitted. When Republicans were asked if they would like another option, 58 percent said they would prefer a candidate other than Butler or Zandstra.

The poll did not test Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard (R), who is reconsidering the race. Bouchard ran briefly in February before pulling out for health reasons.

The three-day poll had a 3 percent margin of error.

— N.D.

Wisconsin: Poll Has Mixed Results for Members’ Ambitions

A Republican poll released last week showed Rep. Mark Green (R) leading his GOP gubernatorial opponent but not Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D).

The Strategic Vision poll of 800 likely Badger State voters showed Green leading Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker (R) among the 272 self-identified Republicans surveyed for the right to challenge Doyle next year. Green led 42 percent to 37 percent with 21 percent undecided.

Green also fared better against Doyle than Walker, though he trailed the governor 47 percent to 43 percent with 10 percent undecided.

In next year’s Senate race, Sen. Herb Kohl (D) is in good shape, though he trailed his colleague, Sen. Russ Feingold (D), a tad in job approval.

Fifty-five percent of those polled approve of Kohl’s handling of his job, while 28 percent disapproved and 17 percent offered no opinion. A little more, 57 percent, approved of Feingold’s job performance, but slightly more disapproved — 30 percent — as well.

No serious Republican challenger to Kohl has emerged, but pollsters tested him against the popular former governor and former secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson (R). Kohl and Thompson tied with 42 percent each.

On the presidential front, respondents were asked if they would like to see native sons Feingold and Thompson run in 2008. Forty-nine percent of Badgers would like Feingold to run, compared to 48 percent for Thompson.

The three-day poll had a 3 percent error margin.

— N.D.

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