- - Sunday, August 2, 2009

Race pauses as Dodd faces illness

HARTFORD, Conn. — The steady criticism Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Dodd has faced for months has been replaced by get-well wishes from rivals after he announced he has an early stage of prostate cancer.

But political experts don’t expect the disease or voter sympathy to play a role in the Democrat’s re-election campaign.

Quinnipiac University poll director Douglas Schwartz says Mr. Dodd’s announcement and planned surgery this month will create only a temporary pause in the 2010 campaign.

Mr. Dodd expects to have surgery at New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center before resting at home. He said he expects to be back in Washington when Congress reconvenes in September.

The 65-year-old senator has been dogged by questions about discount mortgages he received. He trailed former Republican Rep. Rob Simmons 48 percent to 39 percent in a recent statewide poll.

Minor quake rattles South

DUCKTOWN, Tenn. — A minor earthquake rattled the mountainous area of southeastern Tennessee, western North Carolina and northern Georgia on Saturday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The 3.2-magnitude temblor hit about 11 a.m. Its epicenter was located about 55 miles east of Chattanooga, near the town of Ducktown.

Becky Cearley, a dispatcher with the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, described the incident as “pretty intense.”

“It shook the whole entire building for what seemed like forever, but it was just a matter of seconds,” she said, adding that there were no reports of damage or injuries.

A dispatcher with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina, just east of the epicenter, also said there were no reports of damage or injuries, but a couple of people did call wondering what had happened.

The USGS received reports of light shaking as far away as Gainesville, Ga., about 60 miles to the south.

Former eBay CEO leading race in cash

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has a big cash advantage over her Silicon Valley rival to become California’s next governor.

Mrs. Whitman has $19 million banked 10 months before the June 2010 Republican primary. That’s after spending $6 million in the past six months.

Most of the money came from Mrs. Whitman herself. About $7 million came from other contributors.

Mrs. Whitman’s Republican rival and fellow technology billionaire, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, said in campaign reports filed Friday that he ended the June 30 filing period with $3.7 million in cash after raising $4.5 million.

Mr. Poizner has given $4.2 million to his campaign.

Sailor commits suicide in brig

SAN DIEGO — The Navy says a sailor charged with the murder of a seaman has committed suicide in the brig at Camp Pendleton.

A Navy news release said Petty Officer Jonathan Campos, of Lancaster, was found unresponsive in his cell Friday afternoon. He was rushed to the base hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Officials said the apparent cause of death was asphyxiation.

The release said Petty Officer Campos had last been checked early Friday afternoon.

Petty Officer Campos was charged with murder and other offenses in the June 30 fatal shooting of August Provost, a 29-year-old seaman from Houston who was shot several times in the sentry station at Camp Pendleton.

Officials said the two enlisted men were assigned to Assault Craft Unit 5.

From wire dispatches and staff reports