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Colorado: Chair — Five Democrats Consider Musgrave Race

State Democratic Chairwoman Pat Waak told The Coloradoan newspaper on Friday that she has spoken to five potential challengers to three-term Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R), who Democrats see as one of the most vulnerable House incumbents in the country.

Already former Reagan administration official Eric Eidsness is seeking the Democratic nomination. He was the Reform Party nominee for the seat in 2006, taking 11 percent of the vote. (Musgrave took 46 percent, and Democratic state Rep. Angie Paccione, whom Waak identified as another potential 2008 candidate, took 43 percent.)

Waak said the other potential Democratic candidates were Bent County Commissioner Bill Long, state Sen. Brandon Shaffer and Betsy Markey, an aide to Sen. Ken Salazar (D).

“Obviously this is a race that’s going to cost a lot of money,” Waak told the newspaper. “The ability to learn how to fund raise is going to be a very important piece for a candidate.”
— Josh Kurtz

Did the Nixon Plumbers Migrate to Twin Cities?

It probably will not lead to a president’s resignation, but the headquarters of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, as Democrats are known in the Gopher State, have been broken into — twice.

In less than two weeks, someone has illegally entered the Democrats’ offices and stolen a laptop each time, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“Donor information was not compromised,” a party spokesman told the paper, but officials are considering beefing up security.
— Nicole Duran

Franken Itemizes Costs in Fundraising Letter

Al Franken (D), who used to solicit donations from the Saturday Night Live news desk, is now itemizing for donors what their contributions for his Senate campaign will be used for.

In a recent solicitation, Franken told supporters that $25 covers a month’s phone bill for one phone, $50 buys pizzas for a shift of volunteers, and $1,000 covers the purchase of a computer, plus software.

The maximum donation allowed by law per election, $2,300, pays the month’s rent (“Or, I suppose, buys us a whole lot of phones and pizza,” The Associated Press quoted Franken as writing).

Franken and wealthy attorney Mike Ciresi are the first two Democrats to formalize their plans to challenge Sen. Norm Coleman (R) in 2008, although others could get into the race.
— N.D.

DSCC Crows About Sununu Poll Deficit

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is bragging about a new poll showing Sen. John Sununu (R) losing to a potential Democratic challenger.

The only problem is that former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D), who lost to Sununu by 4 points in 2002, has not agreed to a rematch.

In an independent survey conducted by the American Research Group, Shaheen held a 44 percent to 34 percent lead over Sununu. ARG queried 551 registered voters March 25-28, and the poll had a margin of error of 4.2 points.

Shaheen has not definitively said no, but other Democrats are not waiting around for the Harvard Institute of Politics’ director to make up her mind.

Jay Buckey (D), a former astronaut who is now a doctor, became the latest potential Senate candidate to form an exploratory committee.

“I love this country, and I believe in our future — but right now we are on the wrong track,” Buckey wrote on his campaign Web site last week. “The country I was born in could send people to the moon. Today … I’m deeply concerned that we can’t respond adequately to a disaster in one of our own cities.”

Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand (D) and Katrina Swett (D), who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2002 and is the daughter of Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), also have established exploratory committees.

In a statement, the DCCC last week said Sununu is paying at the polls because he “rubber-stamped [President] George Bush’s agenda for too long [and is] already in deep trouble over 18 months before the 2008 elections.”

— N.D.

Court: State Must Pay Redistricting Plaintiffs

The 2003 re-redistricting of the Lone Star State’s Congressional boundaries continues to reverberate in political and legal circles.

Last week, a federal court in Texas ordered the state government to repay more than $750,000 to plaintiffs who were partly successful in their efforts to overturn the Congressional map that the GOP-controlled Legislature enacted at the behest of then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R).

While the Supreme Court last year rejected the most pointed challenges to the redraw, the justices did find that one of the districts in the DeLay plan violated provisions of the U.S. Voting Rights Act. As a result, a federal court redrew five of the state’s 32 Congressional districts.

Although several sets of plaintiffs were seeking relief from the state for the court costs and attorneys fees associated with suing to overturn the Texas Congressional map, the federal court ruled that three could collect a total of $762,769.
— J.K.

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