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Nation: DCCC Launches New Round of SCHIP Ads

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is taking aim at eight Republicans in battleground districts in a new campaign that will highlight the GOPers’ recent votes against the State Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization bill.

The campaign, which will feature radio ad buys, robocalls and e-mails, follows similar targeted efforts that took place in August and also focused on the SCHIP vote as well as the Iraq War.

DCCC-sponsored ads are appearing this week in the districts of Republican Reps. Steve Chabot (Ohio), Thelma Drake (Va.), Tom Feeney (Fla.), Sam Graves (Mo.), Joe Knollenberg (Mich.), Randy Kuhl (N.Y.), Jim Saxton (N.J.) and Tim Walberg (Mich.). All are potentially vulnerable this cycle.

In a release from the committee on Monday, DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) said the committee is “going district-by-district to tell Republicans and President Bush to stop obstructing progress and start putting children first. Republicans who continue to vote in lockstep with President Bush and against children will be held accountable.”

On the heels of the DCCC effort, a coalition of left-of-center groups is scheduled to announce a new national campaign today at the Capitol that seeks to override Bush’s expected veto of SCHIP. The effort by Americans United for Change, USAction and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees also seeks to include a number of investments in upcoming spending bills that Bush has vowed to veto.

A spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee said the latest DCCC campaign is an example of Democrats “playing games” with policy initiatives that originally were created by the GOP.

“This bill has no chance of getting signed into law,” spokeswoman Julie Shutley said. “SCHIP was a Republican initiative and if they really wanted to extend SCHIP they would be willing to work across the aisle to develop legislation that would be able to get signed by President Bush.”

— John McArdle

Two-Way Contest Seen in Race for Gillmor Seat

As the filing deadline for the 5th district special election passed Friday, nine candidates filed to get on the ballot in the special election to fill the late Rep. Paul Gillmor’s (R) seat.

State Sen. Steve Buehrer and state Rep. Bob Latta filed their paperwork for the Republican primary. The two elected officials are joined by Mark Hollenbaugh, Fred Pieper, Michael Reynolds and Michael Smitley in the race for the GOP nomination, which is widely perceived to be a contest between Buehrer and Latta.

The Democratic nominee in the last two cycles, Robin Weirauch, filed again for the primary. She will compete against Earl Campbell and George Mays in the primary on Nov. 6. The general election — in which the GOP nominee is likely to be the heavy favorite — is scheduled for Dec. 11.

In related news, Latta’s campaign announced that he had raised more than $120,000 since he entered the race last month and started television advertising Monday. The Federal Election Commission does not require campaigns to file their financial reports until Oct. 25.

The district has voted reliably Republican in the past few election cycles, re-electing Gillmor with at least 57 percent of the vote in every general election since his first race in 1988. Latta’s father held the seat prior to Gillmor and Latta lost to the late Member in his first primary in 1988.

Though Latta has greater name identification in the district, Buehrer’s state Senate district makes up a larger portion of Congressional district than Latta’s. Some political experts consider Buehrer to be the more conservative candidate, which could help him in a low- turn-out special primary.

— Shira Toeplitz

County Treasurer Eyes Race Against Mitchell

Maricopa County Treasurer David Schweikert (R) is exploring a bid for the 5th district, joining a growing list of Republicans interested in taking on Rep. Harry Mitchell (D).

Mitchell, who ousted then-Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R) in November in the GOP-leaning Phoenix-area district, is girding for a tough re-election battle, and had stockpiled $531,000 in his campaign account at the end of the second quarter.

Also running, or considering running, on the Republican side are state Rep. Mark Anderson, Tempe Mayor Hugh Hallman, state Corporation Commissioner Jeff Hatch-Miller, former state Rep. Laura Knaperek, Sean Noble, who is chief of staff to Rep. John Shadegg (R), lobbyist Jim Ogsbury, state Rep. Michele Reagan and former Rep. Matt Salmon.

— David M. Drucker

Lampson Dubs His Race Most Competitive in U.S.

Rep. Nick Lampson (D) has declared his 2008 22nd district re-election bid the most competitive House race in America — and he wants your money to fend off attacks from Republican leaders who have launched “dishonest attacks against me and lie about my record.”

Lampson, who represents the solid Republican, suburban Houston district formerly held by Rep. Tom DeLay (R), is girding for a tough re-election battle in a district Republicans are open about targeting.

The Democrat had reported $441,000 in cash on hand at the close of the second quarter. In a e-mail appeal Lampson recently sent to supporters just before the close of the Sept. 30 reporting period, he asked them to help him raise the money he’ll need hold his seat for another term.

“As we move forward, our campaign will once again be printing yard signs and brochures, renting office space, and buying TV and radio ads,” Lampson wrote. “These resources to share our message are very costly, and that’s why I hope you’ll be a part of this effort.”

Already gunning for Lampson, or considering a run at the Republican nomination, are 2006 GOP primary candidate Tom Campbell, former Sugar Land Mayor Dean Hrbacek, Pasadena Mayor John Manlove, Pete Olson, who recently resigned as Sen. John Cornyn’s (R) chief of staff and also worked for former Sen. Phil Gramm (R), former Rep. Shelley Sekula Gibbs, district Judge James Squier, defense policy researcher Alan Steinberg and state Rep. Robert Talton.

— D.M.D.

Edwards: Environmental Hearing ‘Rings Hollow’

Donna Edwards (D), the lawyer and community activist who is again battling Rep. Albert Wynn (D) in Maryland’s increasingly bitter 4th district primary, said on Monday that the Congressman’s plans to hold what his office described as the “first hearing ever” on the issue of environmental justice was both an exaggeration and an example of the Congressman turning increasingly liberal because of his 2006 election scare.

Wynn’s office sent out a news release on Monday announcing a “landmark legislative hearing” before his Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment and Hazardous Materials entitled “environmental justice and the Toxics Release Inventory Reporting Program: Communities have a right to know.” The hearing will take place on Capitol Hill Thursday morning.

“I think clearly he’s trying to demonstrate that he is showing some environmental leadership but it rings really hollow and it’s greatly exaggerated,” Edwards said. “I have been working on environmental justice for years and I know that there have been other hearings on issues of environmental justice. … Again I think the Congressman is trying to prove, and in this case prove by exaggeration, that he has a record on environmental leadership and it just isn’t true.”

Edwards, who made her name in the community in part by fighting the proposed National Harbor development in Oxon Hill, was endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters both this year and in 2006, when she finished just 2,700 votes behind Wynn in the Democratic primary.

— J.M.

Poll Shows Democrats’ Choices to Take on Dole

An Elon University poll out last week suggested that about one-third of North Carolina adults are certain to pick Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) for re-election next year. But only 26 percent said they would definitely vote against her.

The automated poll, conducted Sept. 24-27, surveyed 664 adults and had a margin of error of 3.88 points. Earlier this year, a Democratic poll showed that only 35 percent of voters would re-elect Dole, though Republican polls of shown her in much better shape.

The Democrats have not yet recruited a challenger into the race with Dole. Asked who “the best candidate” to oppose Dole would be, 8.2 percent of Democrats surveyed answered state Attorney General Roy Cooper, 7.5 percent answered Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and 5.6 percent answered state Treasurer Richard Moore.

Asked whether they would prefer Moore or Perdue — who are competing in the 2008 Democratic primary for governor — to run against Dole, 31 percent of Democrats answered Moore, and 27 percent said Perdue. In a matchup of the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Perdue led Moore 35 percent to 27 percent.

The error margin for the Democrats-only portion of the survey was 7.7 points.

— Matthew Murray

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