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The Grassley Is Greener

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said last week that he will pitch in if need be to help the Iowa Republican Party recoup the money it stands to lose following the announcement that two of the 2008 presidential frontrunners are going to skip the party’s straw poll in Ames. [IMGCAP(1)]

“The Republican Party is going to have to work harder to raise money elsewhere and that means that Chuck Grassley’s going to have to work harder to help them raise money,” Grassley said in his weekly Capitol Hill Report, a teleconference with Iowa reporters.

The straw poll is a major fundraiser for Iowa Republicans, and a smaller crowd this year most likely will mean less money for their coffers.

Grassley, who is neutral in the presidential race, said he thinks it’s wrong for Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to pull out of the August event.

“I feel sorry for McCain and Giuliani because I think they’re making a mistake by not participating in the straw poll,” he said.

In the interview, Grassley also lamented how cost-prohibitive presidential campaigns have become.

“Iowa’s always been a state where a low-budget person might be able to become president just because he starts out well in Iowa,” he said.

More Endorsements. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) last week announced his support for Giuliani in the 2008 presidential race.

Reichert will serve as national co-chairman of the Law Enforcement for Rudy group and also will head the former mayor’s campaign in Washington state.

The sophomore lawmaker is a former King County sheriff and he touted his experience and background in law enforcement in making the endorsement.

“He transformed a crime-ridden New York City into the safest large city in the country and has always shown courage in the face of challenges,” Reichert said in a statement released by Giuliani’s campaign. “He’ll be a true leader for our country.”

Meanwhile, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) announced a couple of additions to his Capitol Hill team last week.

Democratic Reps. Mike Doyle (Pa.) and Solomon Ortiz (Texas) are throwing their support behind the New Mexican. Both Doyle and Ortiz served with Richardson when he was in Congress.

Also last week, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) threw his support to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

— Lauren W. Whittington

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