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Oregon: Polls Bring Mixed News for Smith’s 3rd-Term Bid

A Democratic poll taken in February shows potential trouble on the horizon for the re-election hopes of Sen. Gordon Smith (R) — though an independent survey conducted in March shows him reasonably positioned to make a strong run at a third term.

A Grove Insight poll taken last month showed a prospective Smith challenger, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D), with a slightly higher personal favorability rating than the Senator and with a 4-point lead over him in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, 42 percent to 38 percent.

DeFazio said in January that he has ruled out a 2008 Senate bid, though some Democrats believe he could change his mind.

However, a Riley Research and Associates poll found Smith to have a job approval rating of 54 percent, with 21 percent saying they were neutral or undecided as to how well of a job he is doing in Congress. Ironically, 55 percent of Democrats gave Smith high job approval marks, compared with 44 percent of independents.

The nonpartisan Riley survey of 478 likely voters had a 4.5 percent error margin. The Democratic Grove Insight poll, of 600 likely voters, had a 4.1 percent error margin.
— David M. Drucker

KANSAS
Boyda Rejects DCCC Aid but Seeks Kerry’s

Rep. Nancy Boyda (D), who rejected extra financial assistance from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee earlier this year, has asked supporters in an e-mail to help her win a fundraising contest being held by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

Boyda, who represents the conservative 2nd district, turned down an invitation to join the DCCC’s Frontline program for potentially vulnerable incumbents. Her spokeswoman explained that the freshman Member chose not to be included in the program because she wanted to maintain her political independence.

Republicans charge that Boyda’s participation in Kerry’s March Madness fundraising contest proves otherwise.

In Kerry’s contest, posted on his political action committee’s Web site, he asked his supporters to vote for two House Democrats and two Senate Democrats who should receive funding from his PAC. The voting has closed, but the results were not yet available as of press time Wednesday.

“It looks like Nancy Boyda has gone back on her word in exchange for funds from the Democrat[ic] Party’s standard-bearer in 2004,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain.

Spain was referencing previous remarks by Boyda spokeswoman Shanan Guinn explaining why the Congresswoman rejected a DCCC invitation to join the Frontline program.

Said Guinn at the time: Boyda “ran an independent campaign in 2006, and her constituents want to see her run an independent campaign again.”

Boyda’s office declined to comment this week on the NRCC’s criticism.

The freshman Democrat could face a tough fight for re-election next year in the overwhelmingly Republican east Kansas district. Former Rep. Jim Ryun (R), whom Boyda beat in November, already has announced he is running again. State Treasurer Lynn Jenkins (R) also is considering a bid.

Kerry’s contest is designed to help buck up Democrats who are up for re-election next year by increasing their early fundraising tallies. On the Senate side, Kerry supporters were asked to choose whether to send donations from Kerry’s PAC to Sens. Tom Harkin (Iowa), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Mark Pryor (Ark.) or Jack Reed (R.I.).

On the House side, two winners will be selected from among Boyda and Reps. Leonard Boswell (Iowa), Christopher Carney (Pa.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Jerry McNerney (Calif.), Patrick Murphy (Pa.), Ciro Rodriguez (Texas), and Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.).
— D.M.D.

CALIFORNIA
Miller Aide Calls DCCC Web Ad a ‘Cheap’ Stunt

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has produced an Internet ad that highlights the FBI investigation of Rep. Gary Miller (R) and questions one of the claims the Congressman has made regarding the case.

The ad shows video clips of Miller asking the Monrovia City Council why it doesn’t purchase a property he owns, juxtaposed against statements he made to The Los Angeles Times claiming that he was “forced” to sell the land in question.

Miller spokesman Scott Toussaint said the DCCC used heavy editing to mischaracterize Miller’s testimony before the city council. In the spot, Miller appears to be asking the city to satisfy a request by local residents to purchase the land, which would contradict claims that he was “forced” to sell.

But Toussaint said Miller had been trying to develop the land for 12 years and repeatedly had been thwarted by the city. The Congressman’s plea to the city council to buy the land was his way of acquiescing to residents who opposed his development plans for the property.

“This is a cheap political stunt; it was heavily edited and taken entirely out of context,” Toussaint said. The video footage was obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Although Miller’s suburban 42nd district is overwhelmingly Republican, Democrats are hoping to capitalize on his ethical problems in next year’s elections.

The DCCC has sent operatives to the district twice so far to talk with prospective candidates and Democratic activists, with more political hits on Miller already in the works.

“This is a seat in which the DCCC is actively recruiting,” said one Democrat familiar with the committee’s activities.
— D.M.D.

PENNSYLVANIA
Brady to Stay on Ballot in Mayor’s Race for Now

A judge ruled Tuesday that Rep. Robert Brady (D) can remain on the ballot in the May 15 Democratic mayoral primary in Philadelphia, despite failing to report his annual city pension, as required, on his financial disclosure form.

But Brady’s position on the ballot isn’t all that secure: One of his chief rivals for the Democratic nomination plans to appeal the judge’s decision to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Businessman Tom Knox (D) called the judge’s ruling “big-boss politics at its worst,” according to Wednesday’s Philadelphia Inquirer.

Knox was one of several Brady foes to challenge Brady’s candidacy. They argued that the omission of the pension information under the city’s disclosure form was a violation of city rules and disqualified him from running for mayor. But the judge — who was brought in from Luzerne County to preside over the case because as chairman of the Philadelphia Democratic Party, Brady is intimately involved in the election of the city’s judges — agreed with the Congressman’s contention that he was not required to disclose the pension.

Furthermore, Senior Judge Patrick Toole Jr. wrote, “We believe, whenever possible, election contests should be decided by the hand of the voter in the election booth and not by the pen of the judge in the judicial chamber.”

Brady is one of two House Members seeking to replace outgoing Mayor John Street (D); Rep. Chaka Fattah (D) is the other.

Until recently, polls have shown Fattah ahead, but the free-spending Knox, whose advisers include Joe Trippi, has shot up in the most recent surveys. The other leading Democratic candidates are state Rep. Dwight Evans and former City Councilman Michael Nutter.

In a racially divided city such as Philadelphia, Knox would benefit from Brady’s departure from the primary contest, and vice-versa. They are the two white candidates in the field.

The winner of the primary is almost certain to be elected mayor in November.
— Josh Kurtz

ALABAMA
Sessions Bringing Cheney to State for Fundraiser

Although his national poll numbers remain low, Vice President Cheney will be the headliner at a fundraiser for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) in Birmingham on April 2.

Cheney will appear with Sessions at a $1,000-a-plate luncheon at The Club, according to The Birmingham News.

Sessions is heavily favored to win a third term in 2008. No Democrat has entered the race yet, though state Sen. Vivian Davis Figures (D) has openly contemplated making the race.
— J.K.

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