By The Hill Staff - 03/11/08 07:02 PM EDT
Gov. Jodi Rell (R) is supporting state Sen. David Cappiello in the GOP primary to face freshman Rep. Chris Murphy (D).
Rell held a fundraiser with Cappiello on Monday, cementing his establishment support in the race.
— Aaron Blake
A chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s (DCCC) Red to Blue program wants to recuse herself from efforts to unseat three south Florida Republicans.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) has told the DCCC that she isn’t the right person to go after GOP Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, because her personal bonds with them are too close.
“It needs to be somebody who can roll up their sleeves,” Wasserman Schultz said. “I’m just not that person; it’s just too sensitive for me.”
While it’s not unusual for a member to avoid campaigning against a friend from the other side of the aisle, the decision could complicate things if the DCCC wants to add the seats to its Red to Blue program, which focuses resources on seats the committee thinks it can take from Republicans.
The seats appear to be strong candidates for the program, as the party has hyped its recruits against the incumbents.
An aide to Wasserman Schultz noted that the other two chairmen of Red to Blue — Reps. Artur Davis (D-Ala.) and Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) — could handle the races if they make the cut.
“It’s just easier for other members to be able to take the lead on that, and if they make Red to Blue, then they’ll have a Red to Blue co-chair that will be working on that particular race,” the aide said.
Lincoln Diaz-Balart faces former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez in the marquee match-up of the three. His brother, Mario, faces strategist Joe Garcia, while Ros-Lehtinen faces businesswoman Annette Taddeo.
DCCC spokesman Doug Thornell said: “We are extremely high on our candidates in these seats and they have the full support of the DCCC. We are confident voters have grown tired of the business as usual approach of Florida Republicans.”
Democrats have a new nominee in the race for retiring Rep. Ray LaHood’s (R) seat, enabling them to go after the seat should the circumstances be right in November.
Broadcaster Colleen Callahan was voted the Democratic standard-bearer by county chairmen in the district and subsequently announced her candidacy on Monday.
She takes over for former basketball coach Dick Versace, who withdrew from the race for personal reasons after the filing deadline, leaving Democrats without a candidate in the February primary.
The prospect of a Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) presidential nomination and the upset win by scientist Bill Foster in Saturday’s special election have given state Democrats cause for optimism. But the 26-year-old GOP nominee, state Rep. Aaron Schock, is a proven fundraiser and vote-getter.
Foster was sworn in Tuesday.
Former Rep. Jim Slattery (D) is rethinking his decision not to challenge Sen. Pat Roberts (R) this year, according to the Kansas City Star.
Slattery, who held down a conservative district for six terms in the 1980s and 1990s, is looking at the race now that wealthy businessman Greg Orman (D) abruptly left the contest and apparently with an eye toward a Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) presidential candidacy.
Obama was born to a Kansan mother.
“It’s not going to take long,” Slattery said of his decision.
He added that he would like the presidential race to shake out a little bit: “That’s not the sole consideration, but it’s certainly a factor, as you can imagine.”
The Democratic primary to face Rep. Tom Reynolds (R) could soon get a little bit more crowded, with millionaire Jack Davis prepping a bid. And it looks like it could get nasty, too.
Davis was quoted by The Associated Press on Saturday stating that Jon Powers, an Iraq veteran and the establishment favorite in the primary, “is a kid.”
“He’s 29 years old, and he’s never had a real job,” said Davis. “If we do get into a primary, he won’t have any money left.”
Powers responded firmly in an interview Tuesday.
“I would challenge him to go tell the soldiers in uniform today that are fighting and dying for this country that they do not have a real job,” Powers said. “I challenge him to tell the teachers of this country that they do not have real jobs.”
Powers is also a teacher and the founder of a nonprofit organization that attempts to help young people in Iraq.
Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll has decided against running for the open House seat in the 25th district, leaving former congressional aide Dan Maffei as the only Democrat in the race.
Driscoll had indicated interest in a House bid since Rep. James Walsh (R) announced his retirement in January. Driscoll told the radio station WSYR in Syracuse that serving in the House would have taken a toll on his family. “Essentially, you get on a plane Monday, you get back on a Friday, and you’d better be ready to be out in the district on the weekend, so that was a big concern of mine,” he said.
Maffei, a former staffer for Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), came within 2 percent of beating Walsh in 2006. Republicans Peter Cappuccilli, former New York State Fair director, and businessman Randy Wolken are running in the July 17 primary for the right to face Maffei.
— Walter Alarkon
Attorney Nick Carter (D) will run for appointed Sen. John Barrasso’s (R) seat this year, creating a Democratic primary in the race.
Carter, who can self-fund at least part of his run, will face former state Sen. Keith Goodenough in the primary. The winner will face Barrasso, who was appointed in June of last year following the death of Sen. Craig Thomas (R).
Barrasso is favored to win and has been raising money at a feverish pace. He had $875,000 cash on hand at the end of the year.
Carter has never served in office, but his father was mayor of Gillette, Wyo.