State by state

National

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) launched a website Monday that highlights the voting records of 11 centrist Republicans and dubs them “rubber stamps” on the issue of the Iraq war.

“The website serves a reminder to all Republicans who try to have it both ways on Iraq that they will face intense pressure to quit rubberstamping Bush’s failed policy and back their rhetoric up with votes,” DCCC spokesman Doug Thornell said.

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The Republican centrists targeted are Reps. Phil English (Pa.), Mike Ferguson (N.J.), Heather Wilson (N.M.), Jon Porter (Nev.), Jim Gerlach (Pa.), Dave Reichert (Wash.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Christopher Shays (Conn.), Joe Knollenberg (Mich.), James Walsh (N.Y.) and Tim Murphy (Pa.).

“Democrats are so predictable,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said. “When they aren’t busy slandering the names of distinguished military officers with impeccable credentials, they go back to distorting the records of members of Congress who have responsibly voted to fund America’s troops in harm’s way.”

— Jackie Kucinich



Florida

Former Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez (D), who has been weighing a bid against Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R), apologized this week for his vulgar diatribe in an interview with The Miami Herald.

According to the newspaper, Martinez called the chairman of the state Republican Party a crude term for a female body part.
“I would debate any f—-ing Republican about my past,” Martinez is quoted as saying, adding later, “I will beat the s—- out of them.”

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The state GOP was criticizing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) for attending a fundraiser held by Martinez, who has successfully fought off corruption charges during his career.

Martinez told the Herald he is still unsure about running against Diaz-Balart.

— Aaron Blake



Massachusetts

A new poll suggests a Republican congressman from Massachusetts is a real possibility.

Republican Jim Ogonowski is within 10 points of Democrat Niki Tsongas in the special election to replace Rep. Marty Meehan (D), according to a SurveyUSA poll of 411 likely voters in Massachusetts’s 5th district.

Tsongas, the widow of former Sen. Paul Tsongas (D-Mass.), leads Ogonowski, the brother of a victim of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, 51-41 in the poll.

Ogonowski draws support from 17 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of independents, while Tsongas gets 11 percent of Republicans and 39 percent of independents.

A spokesman for Ogonowski, Barney Keller, called the poll “huge.”

In a statement, Tsongas said: “I am very pleased to have the most support of any candidate in the WBZ-TV poll, but I am not taking anything for granted.”

The two won their respective primaries last week. The special election will be held Oct. 16.
— A.B.



Nevada

Clark County prosecutor Robert Daskas officially has entered the Democratic primary to take on Rep. Jon Porter (R) in 2008, according to local reports.

Daskas, a chief deputy district attorney, will not campaign until he is finished with his work on a high-profile murder trial.
Porter defeated Democrat Tessa Hafen 48-47 last year and is a top Democratic target this cycle. Hafen, a young former staffer for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), will not seek a rematch.

— A.B.



Oregon

Former National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Director John Frohnmayer threw a wrench in this state’s 2008 Senate race on Wednesday, announcing an independent bid for the seat.

Frohnmayer took 7 percent in a poll conducted last month by local pollster Mike Riley, suggesting he could have a significant third-party impact.

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It’s not clear, though, whether he will take more votes from Sen. Gordon Smith (R) or either of his potential Democratic challengers, state Rep. Jeff Merkley or former Justice Department attorney Steve Novick.

Frohnmayer is running on ending the Iraq war and fighting corruption in government, as well as impeaching President Bush.

He served as NEA director under the first President Bush, who fired him when conservatives objected to some federally subsidized art.

— A.B.