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Georgia: GOP Hopes Goddard Takes Flight vs. Marshall

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Rick Goddard was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday meeting with Republican leaders as he weighs a challenge to Rep. Jim Marshall (D) next year.

Goddard met privately with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) as well as National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Cole (Okla.) and addressed the GOP Conference at its Wednesday morning meeting.

Goddard retired in March 2000 after serving as commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center at Georgia’s Robins Air Force Base. The center, which is in Marshall’s 8th district, is the largest industrial complex in the state.

“He is considering running,” said NRCC spokesman Ken Spain. “He would make an incredibly strong candidate.”

National Republicans tried to recruit Goddard to run against Marshall in 2004, but he ultimately resisted their overtures and decided against a bid. That same year Marshall cruised to a comfortable victory in a rematch with Republican Calder Clay.

But since then Marshall’s south-central district has been redrawn and his near-defeat in the previous cycle’s national Democratic wave revealed the strong Republican slant of the district.

Marshall, a Vietnam veteran, won re-election in 2006 by less than 2,000 votes against former Rep. Mac Collins (R).

— Lauren W. Whittington

CALIFORNIA:
Councilwoman Enters Evolving Special Election

Long Beach City Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske (D) said Wednesday she is a candidate to replace the late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D) in the 37th district.

Schipske expects to launch a Web site and file her Federal Election Commission paperwork in the next few days. The councilwoman, who is general counsel for the Teachers Association of Long Beach, ran for Congress in the old 38th district in 2000, losing to then-Rep. Steve Horn (R) by less than 1 percent.

“It’s going to be an interesting scramble for everybody because this is [an eight-week] campaign,” Schipske said in a brief telephone interview.

Early in Schipske’s political career, she served as press secretary and legislative assistant to then-Rep. Shirley Pettis (D-Calif.). Ironically, Pettis represented the 37th district, although she did so when it comprised portions of Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Millender-McDonald died April 22 after battling cancer. A special election to replace her has been called for June 26. If the winning candidate in that race does not garner more than 50 percent of the vote, the top vote-getters from each political party will proceed to an Aug. 21 runoff.

Schipske believes her council post gives her an advantage in the race, as 80 percent of Long Beach falls within the 37th district.

Also Wednesday, state Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D) made her candidacy for the vacant seat official, saying at a campaign kickoff in Long Beach that she would be a problem-solver if elected. State Assemblywoman Laura Richardson (D) made her candidacy official Tuesday.

With the death of Millender-McDonald, who was black, the interests of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus could clash.

“I’m hoping that neither of those factions makes this about the color or race of the candidates,” Schipske said. “This is a Congressional seat that is very diverse and the person elected has to represent everyone in the district.”

— David M. Drucker

In Relatively Safe Seat, McKeon Will Run Again

Rep. Howard McKeon (R), ranking member of the Education and Labor Committee, plans to seek re-election next year, his office confirmed Wednesday.

The eight-term Congressman represents the northern Los Angeles County 25th district and easily won re-election last year with 60 percent of the vote.

— D.M.D.

HAWAII
Ex-Member Makes Case for Possible Comeback

Former Rep. Ed Case (D), who retired from Congress after unsuccessfully challenging Sen. Daniel Akaka (D) in September’s Democratic primary, is not through with politics yet.

The man whom state party officials considered disrespectful for vying against the 82-year-old Akaka e-mailed supporters a letter earlier this week titled “checking in.”

“I do hope to contribute in further elective office, although it’s still a little early for exactly what and when,” Case wrote. “In the coming months I’ll be offering further thoughts here, including how we might provide voters a much broader choice of candidates in ’08, and asking for your further support.”

Case represented the 2nd district after winning a special election to replace Rep. Patsy Mink (D), who died in 2002.

— Nicole Duran

TEXAS
Lampson, Ex-Governor Ponder ’08 Senate Race

A campaign spokesman for Rep. Nick Lampson (D) acknowledged this week that the Congressman is considering running for Senate next year.

“He’s giving it some serious thought,” Lampson campaign spokesman Keir Murray said, adding that the Congressman likely would make his decision within the next eight weeks.

Former Gov. Mark White (D), who served from 1983 to ’87, has also been mentioned as a possible 2008 challenger to Sen. John Cornyn (R). In a brief interview this week, White, who is 67, didn’t dismiss the idea of running but indicated that a bid on his part was unlikely.

“I haven’t asked my wife about it yet. Does that tell you a lot?” White said.

In 1986, White was defeated in his bid for a second term by the governor he deposed in 1982, Republican Bill Clements. An attorney, White has been out of elected office since then.

Lampson, serving his first term in the overwhelmingly Republican 22nd district, has been approached by prominent Democrats in Texas and Washington, D.C., about challenging Cornyn, who is seeking a second term.

Some observers have speculated that Lampson’s continuing recovery from a successful heart surgery he underwent in March would discourage him from running for Senate. But the Congressman’s attendance the weekend of April 14 at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser in San Antonio has fueled speculation that he will run.

Some Democrats have suggested that Lampson might be inclined to run for Senate because he likely will face a tough re-election battle against an ethically clean Republican. But Murray dismissed that notion, saying Lampson is confident of his re-election chances in the Houston-area 22nd.

Lampson was aided in his 2006 victory by the fact that the GOP was left without a candidate on the ballot when former Rep. Tom DeLay (R), under indictment for possible state election law violations, withdrew his name from the ballot after winning the GOP primary.

Lampson previously served four terms in a more Democratic-friendly Congressional district, before losing to now-Rep. Ted Poe (R) when his seat was eliminated in the 2003 redistricting of Texas House seats.

— D.M.D.

ARIZONA
Simon Says: ’06 Nominee Wants a Second Chance

Attorney Ellen Simon (D), who lost to Rep. Rick Renzi (R) in last year’s race for the 1st district, has filed papers with the Federal Election Commission and is now an official candidate for 2008.

Renzi defeated Simon by 8 points while garnering 52 percent of the vote in one of the worst cycles in years for the GOP. But with the Republican now facing two federal investigations, speculation is mounting that he will not run for re-election and may possibly resign before the conclusion of his current term.

“Ellen has a clear advantage because she has a network of supporters both on the ground and in fundraising,” said Thomas Mills, a Democratic consultant advising Simon.

The 1st district has around 14,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans but has elected Renzi in three successive cycles while voting for the GOP presidential nominee in 2000 and 2004.

Renzi’s troubles have prompted several potential candidates on both sides of the aisle to examine running for Congress in the rural, Northeastern Arizona district. Potential Democratic candidates include state Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick; attorney Jim Ledbetter; and state Department of Environmental Quality Director Jim Owens, among others.

The field of possible GOP candidates includes at least six individuals, with former state Senate President Ken Bennett and businessman Lewis Tenney among them.

— D.M.D.

New York

Bausch & Lomb Exec Sees Path to Congress

Eric Massa (D), the retired Navy commander who fell just 2 points short of upsetting Rep. Randy Kuhl (R) in November and is full speed ahead on a rematch, will not be the only Democratic fish in the 29th district sea this election cycle.

David Nachbar, an executive at the Bausch & Lomb eye care company in Rochester, announced this week that he is also seeking the Democratic nomination.

“Our communities deserve better representation than they’re getting now, and that’s why I’m filing papers to run for Congress,” Nachbar said in a statement, according to Wednesday’s Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Nachbar entered the 29th district race for about 24 hours in 2006 but dropped out because he was not then a registered Democrat. While Nachbar could have become the Democratic nominee despite being an unaffiliated voter, the hoops he would have needed to jump through to get on the Democratic ballot appeared too formidable, so he endorsed Massa.

Some Democratic leaders then believed that Nachbar, Bausch & Lomb’s senior vice president for human resources, would have been a stronger candidate than Massa because Nachbar had the ability to self-fund part of his campaign. Where party leaders will shake out on the coming fight for the Democratic nomination remains to be seen.

Massa told the newspaper that his supporters will be energized by Nachbar’s entry into the race and also said that the desire of multiple Democrats to run is a sign of Kuhl’s vulnerability.

“Randy Kuhl is seen as one of the weakest candidates in Congress,” Massa said.

— Josh Kurtz

MONTANA
Student Group Wants Administrator to Run

A group of Democratic students at the University of Montana is trying to draft one of its administrators into running for Congress.

Jim Foley (D), executive vice president at the Missoula campus, is considering a run against Rep. Denny Rehberg (R).

Draft Foley ’08 was recently launched on Facebook, a social networking Web site favored by high school and college students. The effort is being led by Bryce Bennett, president of the Montana College Democrats.

“Rep. Rehberg votes to exploit our natural resources, sell our public lands, and send our young Montana soldiers to war without proper body armor or training,” the students charged on the site.

Foley, a former aide to Baucus, has not given a timeline for when he will make a decision on the race.

— N.D.

KENTUCKY
A Run for the Roses at Capitol Hill Fundraiser

The Kentucky Derby isn’t until Saturday, but GOP Reps. Geoff Davis and Ron Lewis are getting a head start on the celebration — some 600 miles from Churchill Downs.

The two lawmakers are hosting a joint fundraiser this evening with a Kentucky Derby theme at the Associated General Contractors legislative headquarters on Capitol Hill. Mint juleps and Kentucky Derby Pie — a concoction with chocolate chips and pecans — will be served.

Neither Lewis nor Davis represents Louisville (freshman Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth currently holds that distinction), but they did have competitive re-election battles in 2006 and are being watched by the political pros. Neither has an announced challenger yet.

Tickets for the fundraiser begin at $500.

— J.K.

ILLINOIS
Weller to Contributors: Let’s Go to Disney World

Rep. Jerry Weller (R) has told his donors: “I’m going to Disney World!” And then asked them to join him.

The seven-term Congressman, who serves the 11th district, is hosting a “retreat” at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in Orlando. Individuals who contributed $2,500 and political action committee representatives who kicked in $5,000 will join Weller on the trip that begins tomorrow and ends Sunday.

— N.D.

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