State By State
Rep. Leonard Boswell routinely shows up on Republican hit lists as an incumbent vulnerable to a challenge from the right. So far, no one has been able to knock off the centrist Democrat, who has served 11 years in Congress.
Now Boswell is facing a new challenge, from his left. Ed Fallon, a former state legislator from Des Moines, announced Wednesday that he would run against Boswell in a primary.
Fallon ran for governor in 2006, finishing third in the Democratic primary.
The challenger, though, immediately received some news that could make a bid more difficult. Sen. Tom Harkin (D), a liberal icon in the Midwest, said he was sticking by Boswell.
“As a tried and true fighter, Boswell has fought off tough Republican opponents in the past and will win again this November,” Harkin said in a statement that was reported by The Des Moines Register.
— Jim Snyder
With St. Tammany Parish President Kevin Davis (R) opting out of the special election to replace former Rep. Bobby Jindal (R), a new poll shows state Sen. Steve Scalise (R) and Slidell Mayor Ben Morris (R) leading the pack in the Republican primary.
The poll was conducted by Market Research Insight last week for Morris’s campaign. It shows Scalise with 27 percent, Morris with 22 percent, Jefferson Parish Councilman John Young with 12 percent and state Rep. Tim Burns with 6 percent.
Davis’s pass could help make Morris the candidate of the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, while Scalise comes from the South Shore. Those two areas are expected to face off over the seat in a runoff.
The poll, however, did not include former Gov. Dave Treen, who hails from the North Shore and has said he will be a candidate.
Treen nearly won the seat in a 1999 special election runoff with David Vitter (R), who is now a senator. But it’s not clear how serious his campaign is at this point.
Jindal was sworn in as governor on Monday. The special election primary is set for March 8, with a likely runoff on April 5 and a special election on May 3.
If no party has a winner below 50 percent in March, the runoff would be skipped and the final contest would be held on April 5.
The district is heavily Republican.
— Aaron Blake
MoveOn.org has been bundling for Rep. Albert Wynn’s (D) primary challenger, raising more than $110,000 for Democrat Donna Edwards after deciding to support her candidacy last week.
MoveOn’s political action committee (PAC) polled its members in Wynn’s district, and 87 percent of those who responded said they were backing Edwards.
The liberal group contributed to Edwards during her 2006 campaign against Wynn but did not solicit donations from its membership. It sent an e-mail to supporters last week calling Wynn a “right-wing Democrat.”
It has also participated in a fundraiser to keep a Service Employees International Union ad against Wynn on the air. A coalition of groups, including EMILY’s List and the Sierra Club, is currently working against Wynn.
Wynn is the first Democrat against whom MoveOn has bundled this cycle, but more could be on the way.
“There’s a big showing of enthusiasm for progressives who are willing to run on the issues that matter the most to our members, and that showed in the contributions,” PAC spokeswoman Ilyse Hogue said. “We’ve got to have accountability from the Democrats in Congress — particularly ones that are potentially creating a logjam on progressive issues.”
The primary is Feb. 12.
— Aaron Blake
Radio talk show host Jennifer Horn will challenge freshman Rep. Paul Hodes (D) in the 2nd district. Horn, a Republican, said in a release Wednesday that Washington has changed Hodes, who was elected president of the class of 2006 freshman Democrats.
“Paul Hodes is a do-nothing representative in a do-nothing Congress,” she said.
Horn hosts a Nashua radio show and writes a Sunday column for a local paper, The Telegraph, which will be suspended during her campaign. Horn joins attorney James Steiner as the only Republicans to announce their bids in the 2nd district.
Steiner has yet to capture the imagination of national Republicans, and the seat was one of the few top targets without a top recruit.
“Promising change is one thing, but Jennifer Horn is intent on delivering it,” said the statement.
— Walter Alarkon
Congressional candidate Larry Kissell (D) leads Rep. Robin Hayes (R) 49-47 in a poll released by the Service Employees International Union and the Center for American Progress.
Without leaners, the margin is four points, 46-42. The poll was conducted in November.
The generic ballot favored Democrats 52-39, and President Bush’s approval rating is at 37 percent.
Hayes defeated Kissell by just 329 votes in 2006 and faces a rematch with the schoolteacher, who has since garnered a lot more support from national Democrats.
— Aaron Blake
One Iraq veteran has decided to run for retiring Rep. John Peterson’s (R) seat, while another has opted not to.
Bill Cahir, who joined the Marine Corps Reserves following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and served two tours in Iraq, has decided to seek the Democratic nomination for the seat, according to the Harrisburg Patriot-News. Cahir left his job as a Washington correspondent for the Easton Express-Times to run.
Meanwhile, Republican Iraq veteran John Krohn folded his exploratory committee on Wednesday.
“Reaching this decision was difficult, but the field is already crowded and there is no need for another candidate to split the vote even further,” Krohn said.
Former Centre County Commissioner Chris Exarchos, businessman Matt Shaner and College Township Councilman Daniel Klees have said they will run on the GOP side. Lock Haven Mayor Richard Vilello is also running on the Democratic side.
— Aaron Blake
Republican Jim Ogonowski is inching closer to announcing his candidacy for the Republican Senate nomination and the right to face off against Sen. John Kerry (D) in November.
Ogonowski lost a closer-than-expected special election race in October against now-Rep. Niki Tsongas (D), 51 percent to 45 percent. Since losing, he has remained active in politics, frequently attending local Republican events.
The day after saying he was “strongly considering” a Senate run, Ogonowski attacked Kerry, telling The Boston Globe, “Washington’s broken, and there’s no one in Washington who more represents the status quo than John Kerry.”
Ogonowski, a retired Air Force colonel whose airline pilot brother was killed during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, ran a competitive race against Tsongas despite being outspent by almost $2 million. Ogonowski has already filed his year-end financial report, which showed $40,000 cash on hand.
He will first have to defeat military veteran Jeff Beatty, a minor candidate who has been in the race for months.
— Andy Barr
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