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Louisiana: Political Tipsheet — Breaux May Run for Governor

Former Sen. John Breaux (D) is thinking about running for governor this year if incumbent Gov. Kathleen Blanco (D) takes a pass.

Blanco, battered by the Hurricane Katrina fiasco, has yet to say she wants a second term.

Breaux told a friend he is “very interested” in the race, Fax Weekly, a Louisiana political tipsheet, reported on Friday. The report also suggested that Blanco might be willing to defer to Breaux if he wanted to run.

Rep. Bobby Jindal (R), who lost narrowly to Blanco in 2003, already is running, as are some lesser-known candidates.

Breaux, now a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., contemplated a gubernatorial bid in 2003 but ultimately retired from Congress at the beginning of 2005.
— Nicole Duran

Weiner Touts Legislator as Fossella Challenger

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D), speaking last week to a Democratic political club on Staten Island, said he believes state Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D) ought to challenge Rep. Vito Fossella (R) in 2008.

“It would be great to have Mike fighting for us in Congress instead of Vito Fossella,” Weiner told the gathering, according to the Staten Island Advance.

Finding a strong candidate to run against Fossella has been a priority for Democrats since the Congressman won a special election in 1997. But they have been unable to recruit any highly regarded challengers.

Cusick was one of a quartet of elected officials who took a look at challenging Fossella in 2006 but decided against it. The lawmaker — who, like Weiner, is a former aide to Sen. Charles Schumer (D) — would have to sacrifice his seat in the Legislature to run for Congress. He told the newspaper that he is not ready to focus on 2008 yet.

“It’s nice to know my good friend thinks so highly of me,” Cusick said. “It’s nice to hear people, especially in those positions, think you’re qualified for that job.”

Other potential Democratic challengers to Fossella include New York City Councilman Michael McMahon and City Councilman Bill de Blasio, who does not live in the Congressional district. Both are term-limited in 2009.
— Josh Kurtz

Dingell to Give $1,000 to Each DCCC Frontliner

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the senior Member of the House and chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, announced Friday that he had pledged to contribute $1,000 to each of his 29 colleagues on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s new Frontline list.

The DCCC unveiled the list of its 29 most vulnerable House incumbents earlier in the week. Most were freshmen who had defeated Republicans in GOP-leaning districts last fall. Frontline status entitles Members to extra money and attention from the DCCC, provided they are willing to launch an aggressive fundraising program of their own.

“This is just the beginning of my endeavor to ensure that the Members who got us to the majority help us maintain our majority,” Dingell said in a statement. “The American people put Democrats in charge and now we have to work to maintain our majority.”
— J.K.

CREW Raises Objections Over Three FEC Reports

A government watchdog group has asked the Federal Election Commission to look into whether Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) violated campaign finance laws by failing to properly identify their political donors.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, the organization that last year helped publicize the improper relationships between then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and male House pages, claims Coburn failed to file roughly $350,000 in disclosures on time in 2004, which the FEC itself discovered during a recent audit. The group also alleges that Musgrave did not file on time disclosures for nearly $20,000 in donations and suggested Diaz-Balart deliberately did not disclose the contributions of 32 individuals.

“Campaigns are not entitled to hide the identities of their top donors until elections are over,” said Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director. “Voters have a right to this information and the FEC should come down hard on campaigns that refuse to provide it. One has to wonder what these candidates were trying to hide from their constituents.”
— Matthew Murray

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