- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 9, 2003

Alaska candidate

Former Democratic Gov. Tony Knowles of Alaska announced yesterday he will run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Lisa Murkowski, the daughter of his successor, Gov. Frank H. Murkowski.

“With my family’s blessing, I have decided to be a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2004,” Mr. Knowles wrote in a letter to backers, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters news service.

Democratic Party leaders have long urged Mr. Knowles to run for Miss Murkowski’s seat, which they believe they have a solid chance of picking up in next year’s congressional elections as they try to win back control of the U.S. Senate from Republicans.

Mr. Knowles wrote that he would formally kick off his campaign later this year.

Gov. Murkowski, who served in the U.S. Senate for 22 years, appointed his daughter to serve out the two remaining years of his senatorial term last December after he replaced Mr. Knowles as Alaska’s governor.

Mr. Knowles described himself as “pro-family, pro-business and pro-defense,” as well as “a husband and a father, a business owner and a Vietnam veteran.”

Pennsylvania candidate

Democratic Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel said yesterday he will seek the Senate seat held by four-term Republican incumbent Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who must first get past a Republican challenger before seeking another term in November 2004.

“I believe passionately that Washington can be a powerful and positive force to improve the quality of life for the people of Pennsylvania,” the three-term congressman from the Philadelphia area said in a statement.

Although Mr. Hoeffel’s announcement had been expected for weeks, Democrats in Washington and Harrisburg, Pa., had a chance to utter a collective sigh of relief after scrambling to find a candidate. The Democratic nominee will face the winner of the April 27 Republican primary between the liberal Mr. Specter and conservative Rep. Patrick J. Toomey.

Gov. Edward G. Rendell, a Democrat who is a longtime Specter friend and political ally, immediately endorsed Mr. Hoeffel.

“Joe has been an excellent congressman, a good friend and he will do a great job for Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate,” Mr. Rendell said in the statement released by Hoeffel’s campaign.

Florida candidate

Florida Rep. Mark Foley formally opened his campaign for a U.S. Senate seat yesterday, filing papers to seek the seat now held by Democratic presidential hopeful Bob Graham.

Mr. Foley, a five-term Republican, filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission and paperwork establishing a fund-raising committee for his Senate campaign.

Mr. Graham has said he does not “anticipate” running for re-election, but has not ruled out another Senate race next year. Five Democrats have announced plans to run if Mr. Graham declines another term, but Mr. Foley was quick to focus on the three-term senator, the Associated Press reports.

“Floridians deserve a senator who will work with President Bush combating terrorism, supporting his economic-growth plan and providing a prescription-drug benefit for our seniors,” Mr. Foley said in a statement. “Every step of the way, Bob Graham has abandoned his reputation as a bipartisan lawmaker and has established himself as an enthusiastic cheerleader for the liberal obstructionist wing of the Democratic Party.”

In the Republican primary, Mr. Foley will face former Rep. Bill McCollum, who was defeated by Democrat Bill Nelson in the 2000 Senate race. Rep. Dave Weldon and state Sen. Daniel Webster are also exploring candidacies.

The money chase

Despite a recent fund-raising surge, Howard Dean lags behind his top Democratic presidential rivals in a key category: Money in the bank.

The former Vermont governor cemented his standing as a top-tier candidate by raising $7.5 million between April and June, first among the nine Democratic candidates for the quarter. That gave him a total of $10.1 million raised since the beginning of the year.

Mr. Dean is the only candidate airing TV ads — $300,000 worth in Iowa — and he invested thousands of dollars to build an Internet-driven grass-roots operation. Those expenses and others, including a growing campaign staff in Burlington, Vt., leave Mr. Dean with more than $6 million on hand and fourth overall, aides said Monday.

Officials with the other top Democratic campaigns, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press:

cSen. John Kerry of Massachusetts has about $11 million in the bank, including $2.6 million he transferred from his Senate campaign account. Mr. Kerry raised about $6 million in the second fund-raising quarter, second to Mr. Dean.

cSen. John Edwards of North Carolina has about $8.5 million on hand, none of it from his Senate account. He raised about $5 million this quarter, tied for third with Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

• Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri has close to $7 million in ready money, including $2.4 million from his congressional campaign account. Mr. Gephardt raised just $4.5 million in the second quarter, at least $500,000 below his goal and a disappointing fifth-place finish.

• Mr. Lieberman has about $4 million in the bank.

• Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, who got a late start in the campaign, has more than $1.5 million on hand.

Forbes and Bush

Magazine publisher and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes says that his unflattering portrayal of George W. Bush during the 2000 primary season turned out to be inaccurate, the Austin American-Statesman reports.

“He’s done extremely well,” Mr. Forbes said. “We got a good tax cut through. The Federal Reserve is behaving. I think the foreign-policy situation will clear up by year-end as we root out those terrorists in Iraq. And the economy is starting to show signs of a new life.”

And Mr. Bush, whom he blasted in 2000 as a tool of lobbyists, gets the credit, according to Mr. Forbes.

“He inherited a bad situation and is turning it around,” Mr. Forbes said. “I will be backing him enthusiastically” for re-election.

Mr. Forbes, in Austin to promote a Forbes magazine advertising section about Texas planned for November, praised the Bush economic package, which has included reductions in income-tax rates, as well as cuts in taxes on dividends and capital gains.

Jackson’s march

The Rev. Jesse Jackson led about 80 people on a march to City Hall in Benton Harbor, Mich., hoping to spotlight the city’s decades-old problems that led to rioting last month.

Mr. Jackson, who led the two-mile march Monday with Rep. John Conyers Jr., Michigan Democrat, also said he plans to open a major chapter of his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition in the city, the Associated Press reports.

The rioting was sparked by the death of a black motorcyclist who crashed while being chased by white police officers.

Rainbow/PUSH spokesman Keiana Peyton-Barrett said the civil rights group hopes to open its Benton Harbor chapter by the end of the summer.

Back-splash

A man attending a parade in Dixon, Ill., faces charges for tossing a water balloon at U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican.

John Allen, 33, is accused of throwing the balloon during the Dixon Petunia Festival parade Sunday. The balloon broke on an antique firetruck driven by Mr. Hastert, who got wet but was not injured, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Allen was arrested Sunday and was later charged with felony aggravated battery. He posted $25,000 bail on Monday and said in court he didn’t know Mr. Hastert was driving the truck.

“He is third in line to the presidency of the United States. You won’t forget it next time, will you?” asked Judge Tomas Magdich.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected].

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