Lautenberg’s Hidden Asset

Posted April 21, 2008 at 6:51pm

If Sen. Frank Lautenberg is worried that fellow Democrat Rep. Robert Andrews’ bid for his Senate seat could detract some supporters, he may have an unusual weapon: Republicans.

[IMGCAP(1)]So far, the New Jersey Senator counts at least one GOPer among his supporters — Medford, N.J., Mayor Chris Myers. Myers, who is waging his own campaign for retiring Rep. Jim Saxton’s (R-N.J.) seat, contributed $500 to Lautenberg in December. The move stirred up requests last week from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) and Rep. Steven Rothman (D-N.J.) for more donations.

“We thank you for your support of Democrats and hope that the DCCC can count on your financial contribution,” Van Hollen wrote.

So far, Myers doesn’t seem to be taking the bait. Spokesman Chris Russell told HOH that Myers’ contribution was based on Lautenberg’s pro-Israel stance and that it was made before he decided to run for office.

“He won’t be making any more donations like that,” Russell said.

Still, the DCCC couldn’t hide its glee in goading Myers.

“You know things are really bad for the NRCC when their recruits are contributing to Democrats,” DCCC spokeswoman Carrie James said. “As the old adage goes, ‘If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.’”

Case of Mistaken Identity. Change is never easy. Just ask the Heritage Foundation. It’s been two years since the Democratic takeover, but it seems the bastion of conservative thought hasn’t quite gotten used to its counterparts being in the majority.

The group committed the ultimate faux pas earlier this month, sending a letter elevating Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) to chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, this Congress has presented you with many opportunities and challenges to advance an aggressive legislative agenda,” Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese wrote to Cornyn requesting a meeting on legislative issues.

The only problem: The letter was mailed to the office of the actual Judiciary chairman, Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy.

While surely the Heritage Foundation would love to see a red-state Republican head up the committee, the gaffe was a simple administrative mix-up, not a Freudian slip, said Brian Darling, the group’s director of Senate relations.

“There were multiple requests for similar meetings, which is why that happened,” Darling told HOH. He added that he hopes the airing of the mix-up means the Heritage Foundation’s request for a meeting with Leahy will be granted.

But Leahy’s staff didn’t make any promises.

“Either their list-serve got the hiccups, or maybe it’s just that even now they can’t quite bring themselves to admit that the Senate has changed hands,” joked Leahy spokesman David Carle.

Bowlers for Barack. Sen. Barack Obama may be more familiar with gutter balls than strikes, but that doesn’t mean he’s lost the vote of Keystone State bowlers. The Illinois Democrat, whose infamous campaign stop in March at a Pennsylvania bowling alley led to an embarrassing score of 37, won a statewide “Bowl Your Vote” challenge Monday.

Put on by the Pennsylvania Bowling Proprietors’ Association and Strike Ten Entertainment, the three-day challenge gave voters the option to allocate their scores from three games to either Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) or Obama. Obama came out on top with 62 percent of the “bowling vote” compared with Clinton’s 38 percent.

The results were almost the exact opposite of a Mason-Dixon Polling & Research poll that came out over the weekend.

Still, Jim Sturm, president-elect of the Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America, said he feels good about the accuracy of “Bowl Your Vote’s.” This isn’t the first time the group has drawn on its players to predict a political outcome, Sturm told HOH. In 1994, bowlers in New York predicted the upset of Republican George Pataki over Democrat Mario Cuomo in the gubernatorial race within 3 points, Sturm said.

“I know that if [the Pennsylvania primary] went 62 percent in favor of Sen. Obama, on a national scale it definitely would be a feather in his cap,” Sturm said.

Carlson’s Hill Comeback. Tucker Carlson’s show “Tucker” on MSNBC may have been canned, but that hasn’t stopped the newly installed cable network’s “senior campaign correspondent” from showing his face on Capitol Hill.

Tucker will be back for the first time in two years to talk to the Senate Press Secretaries Association at 9:30 a.m. Friday. He’s expected to talk about working in the media and the 2008 races, and he will also take questions, according to Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) spokesman Gregory Keeley.

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