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Ex-Specter Aide Fundraising for Carney

A former chief of staff to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) is hosting a fundraiser for vulnerable freshman Rep. Christopher Carney (D-Pa.).

David Urban served as the Republican Senator’s top aide for five years before joining the American Continental Group in 2002. The $1,000-a-head fundraising breakfast for Carney is scheduled for July 16 at the lobbying firm’s offices in downtown Washington, D.C.

“While I’m a Republican, I like to think I support solid candidates,” Urban said in an interview. “[Carney] is a conservative Democrat … who deserves to be given another shot.”

Urban has contributed to a long list of Republican candidates over the years, including Sens. Gordon Smith (Ore.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Mel Martinez (Fla.), Susan Collins (Maine) and John Cornyn (Texas), as well as ex-Sen. Rich Santorum (Pa.) and, of course, his former boss. He has also contributed to numerous GOP House Members.

Urban has contributed to a few Democrats as well, including a multiple contributions to Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) from 2002 to 2005. He also gave $2,000 in 2003 to Pennsylvania 13th district candidate Joe Torsella, a personal friend, who lost the Democratic primary to now-Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

This cycle, Urban contributed to 4th district Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), even though he gave to his opponent, now-former Rep. Melissa Hart (R) in their race against each other last cycle.

Urban has also contributed to Republican Tom Manion, who is running against Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) in Pennsylvania’s 8th district. “I try to help the team when I can,” Urban said.

Carney is one of the most vulnerable Democratic Members of Congress. His northeast Pennsylvania 10th district went for President Bush by 20 points in 2004, and GOP Rep. Don Sherwood’s personal scandal was a major factor in Carney’s victory.

It’s also a district where Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) ran very well in the Pennsylvania presidential primary and where presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) may not be quite the asset that he is elsewhere. The Congressman faces wealthy businessman Chris Hackett (R) this fall.

Shira Toeplitz contributed to this report.

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