- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 17, 2006

‘Quite telling’

“Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner’s decision not to run for president is a telling statement about the Democratic Party, the strength of its liberal wing, and the inevitability of Hillary Clinton’s presidential nomination in 2008,” Peter Brown writes at www.realclearpolitics.com.

“Warner, who has been touring the country engaging in the ritualistic work for party candidates during this congressional election in preparation for a presidential run, was thought the best hope for party moderates,” said Mr. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“The ‘smart money’ had identified Warner as the most likely candidate around whom the forces wanting to deny Sen. Clinton the nomination would coalesce. Think of Warner as a candidate akin to Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, the Democrats’ 2000 vice presidential nominee, who ran afoul of party activists earlier this year because he did not toe the party line. …

“Of course, politics abhors a vacuum, and someone will become the anti-Hillary candidate in the primaries. But given a lack of other Southern Democrats of Warner’s stature, it is unlikely that candidate will have his potential to change the electoral map. It is early in the 2008 campaign, but Warner’s decision is both an important development and quite telling about what is likely to happen.”

Radio debate

Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and his Democratic opponent took jabs at each other in a morning radio debate yesterday, each accusing the other of not focusing enough on the real work of politics.

Mr. Santorum said Democrat Bob Casey Jr. skips too many days in his job as state treasurer, while Mr. Casey said Mr. Santorum spends too much time writing political talking points for Republican candidates.

The debate on KYW-AM during the morning commute followed themes similar to the candidates’ first two debates, with Mr. Casey saying Mr. Santorum, the Senate’s No. 3 Republican, shares responsibility for creating a “toxic” culture in Washington and with Mr. Santorum accusing Mr. Casey of not understanding the issues.

Mr. Santorum, who is seeking a third term, has trailed Mr. Casey in the polls in one of the nation’s most competitive Senate races. The two campaigns reported yesterday that they have nearly the same amount of cash to spend in the final weeks leading up to Election Day — Mr. Santorum’s campaign announced that he had finished the quarter that ended Sept. 30 with $3.6 million on hand, while Mr. Casey’s said it ended the period with $3.7 million.

Overall, the Republican incumbent has raised $23.2 million for the campaign — a record for a Senate candidate in Pennsylvania. Mr. Casey has raised $14.7 million, the Associated Press reports.

Low on dollars

Connecticut Democrat Ned Lamont has just $329,560 cash on hand for the final weeks of the campaign, far less than rival Sen. Joe Lieberman, whose account totals $4.7 million.

In reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Sunday, the Lamont campaign said the multimillionaire businessman provided most of the money raised in the July 20 to Sept. 30 reporting period. Mr. Lamont contributed $3,751,378 in the reporting period. Contributions from individuals totaled $1,091,766.

On Friday, Mr. Lieberman’s campaign reported it had about $4.7 million on hand heading into the final 3½ weeks of the campaign. Mr. Lieberman’s report showed that he raised $6.1 million and spent $4.9 million from July 20 to Sept. 30.

Mr. Lieberman is running as an independent after losing the August Democratic primary. His campaign did not release a detailed breakdown of the donations, but he received nearly $5.5 million from individual donors and just over $632,000 from political action committees, according to the report.

The Lamont campaign said the candidate has contributed $6,252,878 himself to date, the Associated Press reports. His campaign also said Mr. Lamont has received $2,758,174 from about 30,000 people through Sept. 30.

Incumbents’ cash

In the race for campaign cash, Connecticut’s three incumbent Republican representatives are outpacing their Democratic challengers, the Associated Press reports.

Rep. Christopher Shays raised $840,000 in the third quarter, outperforming Democrat Diane Farrell, who raised $580,309.

With three weeks remaining before Election Day, Mr. Shays’ campaign has more than $1.6 million in cash on hand, about double the $812,117 reported by Mrs. Farrell. In total, Mr. Shays has raised between $3.2 million and $3.4 million, his campaign said. Mrs. Farrell has raised $2.5 million.

The 4th Congressional District is one of three Republican-held Connecticut seats that Democrats have targeted in an effort to end the party’s 12-year control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats must net 15 seats to win the House.

In eastern Connecticut’s 2nd District, Republican Rep. Rob Simmons, who is seeking a fourth term, raised nearly $575,738 in the quarter, which ended Sept. 30. He said he has raised $2.4 million and had $955,527 in cash on hand. Democrat Joe Courtney’s campaign said it raised more than $518,000, leaving it with a little more than $209,000 on hand because of a large media buy shortly before the deadline.

Republican Rep. Nancy L. Johnson, Connecticut’s senior House member, who is seeking a 13th term, raised $887,589 in the quarter, for a total of nearly $3.5 million. She reported cash on hand of about $1 million. Democratic state Sen. Christopher Murphy, Mrs. Johnson’s challenger for the 5th District seat, reported raising $708,005 in the third quarter for a total of $1.9 million.

No debate

There will be no debate in the heated U.S. House race between North Carolina Rep. Charles H. Taylor and Democratic challenger Heath Shuler because Mr. Shuler said he could not find time in his campaign schedule for the event.

In a letter sent Friday to the Asheville Citizen-Times newspaper, which had hoped to sponsor a debate along with WLOS-TV, Mr. Taylor blamed Mr. Shuler for the collapse of a debate the two sides tentatively agreed on last week, the Associated Press reports.

“I was skeptical from the beginning that my opponent’s handlers would allow him to appear in a public forum to debate the issues, because they are aware of his inexperience,” wrote Mr. Taylor, the Republican incumbent. “This serves as further proof that the outsiders who are financing his campaign don’t want to expose him to talking about the issues in a public forum with me.”

Mr. Shuler’s spokesman, Andrew Whalen, said the Citizen-Times waited until too late to try to arrange a debate.

Mr. Shuler, a conservative Democrat, is a native of the district who starred as a quarterback at the University of Tennessee and later as a pro with the Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints. He has high name recognition, and many outside observers have rated the race a tossup.

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

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