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New York: Maffei Returns to Hill for Happy Hour Fundraiser

Correction Appended

Dan Maffei (D), the former Capitol Hill staffer who is seeking a rematch with Rep. Jim Walsh (R), is returning to his former stomping grounds Tuesday evening for a happy hour fundraiser.

The event is being hosted at the Top of the Hill tavern on Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast by Howard Wolfson, the New York Democratic consultant extraordinaire; Francis Creighton, who heads the government affairs shop at the Mortgage Bankers Association; Bill Frymoyer, director of government relations at Stewart and Stewart, a Washington, D.C., law firm; and Jason Lumia, a former Budget panel staffer and current aide to Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.). The minimum ticket price is $25.

Maffei, a former TV newscaster in his hometown of Syracuse who also worked for the House Ways and Means Committee and then-Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), gave Walsh the biggest scare of his 10-term Congressional career, finishing just 3,400 votes out of the money in 2006.

Maffei, who was outspent almost 2-1 by Walsh in the previous cycle, raised $218,000 from April 1 to June 30 and finished the period with $234,000 in the bank. Walsh raised $301,000 and banked $345,000.

— Josh Kurtz

Awaiting Shaheen, Marchand Makes a Case

Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand is willing to exit the Senate race if former Gov. Jeanne Shaheen seeks the Democratic nomination. But in the meantime, he is doing his best to convince primary voters that he, too, would make a formidable challenger to Sen. John Sununu (R).

Marchand hammered Sununu for revealing that he would not campaign with President Bush right now.

“Neither of us plan on campaigning with George Bush in 2008,” Marchand said in a news release. “But only I can campaign without George Bush’s record in 2008.”

Last week the University of New Hampshire’s Granite State Poll heaped more bad news on Sununu, who has trailed Shaheen badly in previous hypothetical contests.

He shadowed Shaheen 54 percent to 38 percent in the poll of 524 adults surveyed July 9 to 17.

The poll had an error margin of 4.5 points.

At 43 percent to 39 percent, Katrina Swett, wife of former Rep. Dick Swett (D-N.H.), is not far behind Sununu in the head-to-head matchup. Swett has not said whether she would step aside for Shaheen.

Marchand polled almost as well — 42 percent to 38 percent against Sununu — while former astronaut Jay Buckey pulled up the rear.

“No Senate challenger in America polls closer to the incumbent than Steve Marchand,” his campaign manager, David Mason, noted in a news release. “This poll clearly shows that New Hampshire voters are ready for a change and that Steve Marchand’s campaign is gaining real momentum.”

Shaheen is supposed to announce this fall whether she wants a rematch after her narrow 2002 loss to Sununu.

— Nicole Duran

Seals Seeks ‘Anti-War’ Label in 10th District

Dan Seals recently staked his claim to the “anti-war” label now that he faces a credible challenge for the Democratic nod in the Prairie State’s 10th district.

Seals, whose long-shot bid to unseat Rep. Mark Kirk (R) almost was successful last year, technically bashed Kirk for his vote against immediately redeploying troops from Iraq earlier this month. But clearly his shot was intended to also strike Jay Footlik (D), the business consultant who only recently decamped Washington, D.C., to compete with Seals.

“I am the only candidate who has opposed the war from the start and the only one who unequivocally supports a responsible timeline for withdraw,” Seals boasted in a news release.

Kirk beat Seals 53 percent to 47 percent, which won him the right to try again, according to many local Democratic activists. But Footlik impressed even skeptics by raising nearly $290,000 during his first quarter in the race.

— N.D.

Lamont Makes Web Pitch for Candidates is still in business.

The multimillionaire garnered a national following last year by snatching the Democratic Senatorial nomination from incumbent Joe Lieberman, prompting Lieberman to seek re-election as an Independent.

Lamont is making his latest pitch to the blogosphere, which propelled him from political obscurity into the national spotlight, on behalf of ActBlue. The two-year-old organization collects small donations via its Web site and disperses the money to Democratic candidates.

“Our campaign would not have been possible without your support last year,” Lamont wrote in a missive distributed last week. “And future underdog campaigns will not be possible without the opportunities for engagement ActBlue provides.”

— N.D.

Correction: July 24, 2007
An item identified Jason Lumia as “a longtime House Budget Committee staffer.” Though Lumia previously worked for the Budget panel, he is currently an aide to Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.).