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Washington: Mother-to-Be Hosting Fundraiser on Thursday

Most expectant mothers are running around making sure their nurseries are fully equipped.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R) is raising money.

McMorris Rodgers, who is expecting her first child next month, has a fundraiser scheduled for Thursday. That should quell speculation — or Democratic wishful thinking — that the 37-year-old Congresswoman plans to retire to become a full-time mom.

The fundraising breakfast is taking place at the Bellevue Harbor Club. Suggested contributions start at $75.

Since ousting then-Speaker Tom Foley (D) in 1994, the Spokane-based 5th district has been reliably Republican. No Democratic candidate yet has come forward to challenge McMorris Rodgers, who is in her second term.

— Josh Kurtz

County Commissioner Wants to Take on Pearce

Doña Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley (D) announced last week that he wants to challenge three-term Rep. Steve Pearce (R).

“Steve Pearce has worked hard to represent the current administration and not the people of Southern New Mexico,” McCamley said in a statement. “I will work hard to bring back the voice of the 2nd District to Capitol Hill.”

Although McCamley focused his rhetoric on Pearce, who has won three fairly convincing victories despite the fact that enrolled Democrats outnumber Republicans in the 2nd district, some political observers speculate that McCamley is running for Congress because he believes that Pearce will vacate the seat soon — either to run for Senate in 2008, if Sen. Pete Domenici (R) retires, or for a gubernatorial run in 2010.

McCamley, who received a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University, is just 29 years old. In addition to his duties as a county commissioner, McCamley is executive director of the New Mexico Rural Economic Development Response Council and teaches government classes at New Mexico State University.

Retired minister Al Kissling, the 2006 Democratic nominee against Pearce, is expected to seek the Democratic nomination next year. State Rep. Joseph Cervantes (D) also is seen as a possible candidate.

— J.K.

Fattah Lags in Poll as Foe’s TV Ads Take Hold

Rep. Chaka Fattah’s swift decline in the latest poll on the May 15 Democratic mayoral primary in Philadelphia may be directly attributable to the TV ads of one of his deep-pocketed opponents.

After leading in most polls for the better part of a year, Fattah found himself running second to businessman Tom Knox (D) in a Keystone Poll conducted March 28-April 3 by Franklin & Marshall College.

In the poll of 364 registered Democrats, Knox was ahead with 24 percent of the vote, Fattah was next with 17 percent, and Rep. Robert Brady (D) had 16 percent. Former City Councilman Michael Nutter (D) was at 12 percent, and state Rep. Dwight Evans (D) took 10 percent. The poll had a 5.1-point error margin.

Knox, who was barely known at the start of the campaign, is a wealthy self-funder who has bombarded the airwaves with TV ads produced by veteran Democratic strategist Joe Trippi. And they’ve probably made a difference: 53 percent of those surveyed said Knox’s ads were the most memorable of any of the candidates. Eighteen percent of the respondents said Brady’s ads were the most memorable.

In such a heavily Democratic city, the winner of next month’s primary is almost certain to succeed outgoing Mayor John Street (D) in January.

— J.K.

Councilman Ponders Challenging Fossella

Add New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia to the list of Democrats who are mulling over a challenge to Rep. Vito Fossella (R) in 2008.

Recchia told Crain’s Insider last week that “a combination of everything that’s going on in the country and city” is prompting him to take a look at the race. He believes transportation and education would be among his top issues.

Recchia, who is term-limited in 2009, has raised $88,000 for an undisclosed city election, according to Crain’s, but likely would be able to transfer most of that into a Congressional account.

Meanwhile, City Councilman Michael McMahon (D) told the Staten Island Advance last week that he is continuing to ponder the race.

“I encourage the interest,” said McMahon, who also is term-limited in 2009. “It’s good to have good candidates looking to take on the race. It raises the whole profile of the campaign. For anyone to say ‘it should be reserved for me’ would be a mistake.”

State Assemblyman Michael Cusick (D) and Councilman Bill de Blasio (D) are also mentioned as possible Fossella challengers.

— J.K.

Dole’s Haul Could Quell Retirement Rumors

Sen. Elizabeth Dole (N.C.), former chairwoman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, brought in $1.7 million during the first three months of 2007, according to her campaign.

Dole’s re-election committee closed out the quarter with more than $1.5 million in cash. She raised more than $1 million in March alone.

Dole had about $250,000 on hand at the end of the 2006 election cycle, according to CQ PoliticalMoneyLine.

A recent survey by Senate Democrats, which claims that only one-third of Tar Heel State voters plan on picking Dole in 2008, suggests that Dole is vulnerable going in to her first re-election bid.

— Matthew Murray

Republicans Fight for Right to Face Boyda

It appears as though a Republican primary is in the offing in the 2nd district, as state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins (R) has launched an exploratory committee to examine challenging Rep. Nancy Boyda (D) next year.

Former Rep. Jim Ryun (R), whom Boyda defeated in November, already has begun campaigning to get his old job back, and both he and Jenkins could end up duking it out for the nomination to this Republican-leaning, Eastern Kansas seat.

“I have traveled the 2nd district and listened carefully to what folks have on their minds and continue to receive strong encouragement to run for Congress,” Jenkins said in a written statement, according to a report in The Wichita Eagle.

Ryun on Monday released preliminary fundraising numbers for the first quarter. The former Congressman raised $275,000 and has $255,000 in cash on hand.

Jenkins, meanwhile, was just re-elected to her second term as state treasurer. She served two years in the Kansas House of Representatives and two years in the state Senate before assuming her current job in 2002.

The 2nd district is a majority GOP seat and is expected to be targeted heavily for a pickup by both national and local Republicans.

— David M. Drucker

Shea-Porter Release Draws GOP Complaint

Republicans are accusing Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) of improperly commingling government and campaign resources, specifically in the form of a press release that was still appearing simultaneously on her campaign and Congressional office Web sites at press time on Monday.

The National Republican Congressional Committee is claiming that a press release Shea-Porter put out on a vote she cast affecting health care for military veterans is appearing on her campaign Web site in violation of House rules.

“Carol Shea-Porter continues to either ignorantly or intentionally cross the line by using taxpayer dollars for campaign purposes,” NRCC spokesman Ken Spain said Monday.

The NRCC says that Shea-Porter is violating the rules because the exact same press release is appearing on her campaign and Congressional Web sites simultaneously — and because the press release on both Web sites offers the same Congressional aide and that aide’s cell phone number as a contact.

The NRCC cited Advisory Opinion No. 6, as expressed by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct in 1982, to make its case.

Shea-Porter’s office was unable to comment at press time.

— D.M.D.

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