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Georgia: Qualifying Period Ends Today for House Special

Qualifying ends today at noon for the special election to fill the vacancy brought on by the death of Rep. Charlie Norwood (R).

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, 10 candidates had filed for the all-party June 19 election — six Republicans, three Democrats and one Libertarian.

State Sen. Jim Whitehead (R) is the odds-on favorite to succeed Norwood, who died from cancer complications on Feb. 13. Whitehead’s main GOP opponent appears to be Athens physician Paul Broun, the son and namesake of a former Democratic state Senator.

Among Democrats, businessman James Marlow is viewed as the leading contender.

If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a July 17 runoff will be held. However, the strong conservative bend of the district leaves little question that the seat will remain in GOP hands.

National Democrats have not targeted the race as a pickup opportunity.

— Lauren W. Whittington

Emanuel Joining Kissell at Raleigh Fundraiser

Teacher Larry Kissell (D), whose scrappy, underfunded campaign fell just 330 votes short of upsetting Rep. Robin Hayes (R) last year, continues to line up more establishment support for their 2008 rematch.

Kissell will be appearing at a fundraiser with House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) on Saturday at the North Carolina Democratic Party headquarters in Raleigh, just hours before the state party’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner.

Last month, Kissell was joined by Rep. Artur Davis (Ala.), a leading recruiter for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, at a fundraiser.

Kissell is using his 330-vote loss as a motivating factor. His campaign has set up a special e-mail address for voters who couldn’t or didn’t vote for him on Election Day, Tickets for the Emanuel fundraiser cost $200 for individuals and $330 for couples.

And the fundraiser’s starting time? 3:30 p.m.

— Josh Kurtz

Cannon Fundraiser Set for Today on Capitol Hill

Rep. Chris Cannon (R) is holding a fundraising luncheon this afternoon at the Capitol Hill Club, sponsored by four plugged-in lobbyists.

The hosts are: Todd Thorpe, a former Cannon staffer now at the firm Bockorny Petrizzo; Rick Lane, vice president of government affairs at News Corp.; and two lobbyists from Greenberg Traurig, Dan Walsh, a director of government affairs, and Laura Reiff, a co-chairwoman of the firm’s business immigration group.

Cannon has been a frequent target of criticism from anti-immigration groups because he takes a moderate stance on illegal immigration, so his association with Reiff could be controversial in his home district. And Walsh, when he worked on Capitol Hill, was a leading operative for House Republican moderates.

Although he cruises to re-election every other November, Cannon has been challenged from the right in each of the past two election cycles. Jason Chaffetz, a former chief of staff to Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. (R), is contemplating a Republican primary challenge this time around.

Ticket prices for Cannon’s fundraiser are $1,000 for political action committees and $500 for individuals.

— J.K.

Report: Assemblyman Prepares for Open Seat

Freshman state Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (D) is hosting a high-dollar fundraiser in the lower Manhattan financial district next month, prompting speculation that he is building a war chest to run for Congress whenever Rep. Edolphus Towns (D) decides to retire.

Jeffries did not do much to tamp down the speculation, which was first reported in the New York Daily News last week. He told the newspaper that he wouldn’t rule out a run for Congress, though he does not appear to be in a hurry to replace Towns, who is in his 13th term.

“I think we should allow the Congressman some time to capitalize on his seniority and the fact that he’s now in the majority,” Jeffries said.

Although whatever Jeffries raises for his state campaign fund cannot automatically be transferred into a Congressional account, any show of financial strength would not be insignificant, because there is likely to be a multicandidate Democratic primary for Towns’ Brooklyn-based seat whenever it becomes vacant. Jeffries is asking donors to contribute up to $2,500 at the fundraiser, which is being headlined by City Comptroller William Thompson (D), a likely contender for mayor in 2009.

Towns won a hard-fought three-way primary in 2006.

— J.K.

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