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CAMPAIGNS OF 2003 ALABAMA TAX REFERENDUM: IS AL GOP TAKING CRAZY PILLS?
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CAMPAIGNS OF 2003 ALABAMA TAX REFERENDUM: IS AL GOP TAKING CRAZY PILLS?

BY The Hotline

American Political Network The Hotline Volume 10 No. 9 Copyright (c) 2003 by American Political Network, Inc. August 19, 2003 CAMPAIGNS OF 2003 ALABAMA TAX REFERENDUM: IS AL GOP TAKING CRAZY PILLS?

08/19/2003
HOUSE LEADERSHIP: A UNANIMOUS DEM VOTE FOR PELOSI? DON'T COUNT; ON IT
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HOUSE LEADERSHIP: A UNANIMOUS DEM VOTE FOR PELOSI? DON'T COUNT; ON IT

Roll Call's Wallison reports, Dem "insiders are predicting that a small group of party centrists and vulnerable incumbents will abandon" expected Min. Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) in the 1/03 Caucus election "in an effort to distance themselves from the liberal ... lawmaker." Some "knowledgeable insiders" say the vote "could amount to the largest defection from one party's candidate for Speaker since" nine GOPers deserted then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R) in '97. A "senior party strategist": "There's little doubt in my mind that there are a lot of Members who are weighing how they are going to deal with this vote for Speaker. A number of people are saying grace over this together." One "senior" Dem aide "noted": "For many people, they consider [a vote for Pelosi to be] political suicide." There is "little chance Pelosi will receive votes from ... conservatives such as" Reps. Ralph Hall (D-TX) and Ken Lucas (D-KY). Blue Dog Dem Rep. Gene Taylor (D-MS) "has indicated that he will once again back" Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) in the vote for Speaker, though Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA) spokesperson Selby McCash said the "centrist" Bishop is "as firm for Pelosi as [a moderate Democrat] can be." A "senior Pelosi aide noted that in every Congress there tends to be one or two Democrats who vote against the party's candidate," but added no one has yet "detected any evidence" of "any significant opposition" to Pelosi: "If it's a political problem for some people then it's something we'll have to discuss with them in the weeks to come. We're not here to kill people." Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Martin Frost (D-TX) and Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) all "sought to challenge Pelosi's climb through the leadership ranks by tapping" into the "anxiety ... that she would serve as a useful symbol" for GOPers "hoping to paint" Dems "as a party of intransigent liberals." Conservative group Citizens for a Sound Economy said in a recent press release: "If Nancy Pelosi wants to take radical positions, that is her own business, but she shouldn't lead other Democrats down the same path to economic and political oblivion." However, "many party strategists doubt that Pelosi will pose a problem for Democrats seeking re-election in 2004, in spite of her ideology." Consultant Bob Doyle, "who has worked with a number of party moderates": "My belief is that she will see [the next two years] as a tremendous challenge, and will go out of her way to find a leadership agenda that will be good for these people" (12/19). AT LEAST THE DCCC STAFF CAN'T VOTE AGAINST HER Roll Call's Cillizza reports, Pelosi "is expected to install her top fundraiser," '00 San Francisco ex-VP Gore fundraiser and current Pelosi DCCC liaison Brian Wolff, "as the finance director" at the 1/03 DCCC meeting "in an attempt to answer critics who charge that the delay in choosing a chairman will financially handicap" Dems in '04. Meanwhile, the DCCC "has begun using Pelosi in its fundraising efforts, sending out its first direct-mail appeal from" Pelosi 12/6, which DCCC spokesperson Mark Nevins said "brought in the largest one-day financial take ever recorded at the committee ... although he would not say how much was raised." Nevins: "People are incredibly energized by leader Pelosi. That is reflected in the overwhelming response we got." Both developments "come amid rising criticism that Pelosi's continued silence about the next" DCCC "is hamstringing efforts to remain competitive" in '04. A "senior" Dem leadership aide said the delay gives the DSCC "a head start ... in the race for hard dollars." Some "well-placed" Dems also "expressed concern that Pelosi was planning a major house-cleaning of the current" DCCC finance staff. On Pelosi's leadership problems: "It is certainly not helpful." Questions "surrounding the role the DCCC will play in House elections given these fundraising constraints have made Pelosi's job of recruiting a chairman much more difficult than in past cycles." Candidates "who have shied away" from the post, including Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Robert Matsui (D-CA) "greatly outnumbers those who have expressed an interest in it": '02 DCCC chair Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) "is not interested in a return engagement, and only Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) "has made his desire for the job publicly known." Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX) "is also mentioned, although most observers believe it is unlikely Pelosi will install a longtime nemesis in a leadership post" (12/19). ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE... Roll Call's Crabtree reports, incoming House Maj. Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) "plans to offer a change to current House rules that would eliminate the eight-year GOP term limit on the Speakership." House Speaker Dennis Hastert's (R-IL) "term limit will expire at the beginning of" '07, but "has repeatedly denied perennial, widespread speculation that he is contemplating retirement." Blunt said there is absolutely "no movement for [Hastert] to leave" and denied "that his actions are aimed at motivating Hastert to stay on as Speaker or to leave before his term limit expires": "There needs to be a strong sense of continuity -- a strong sense that the person who is making a commitment to you has every opportunity to maintain that commitment. The job benefits from consistency and continuity." Hastert spokesperson John Feehery "said his boss would keep his opinion about the rules change to himself in order to allow the Conference to work its will on the matter. It's something for the Conference to decide. Obviously he is not a disinterested observer. He is obviously going to be impacted by this decision, but he'd rather have the Conference decide." Feehery "also dismissed any speculation" that Hastert "would retire soon": "He really enjoys his job and is excited about the next term as Speaker." Even though "Blunt's name has been bandied about as a potential successor to Hastert whenever he decides to leave Congress, Blunt denied that his future plans played any role" in the proposal: "The whip job is not the popularity contest job in our Conference. I think it is a mistake for the whip to worry about what we're going to do next. ... I'm focused on doing this job the very best I can." Blunt informed Hastert, incoming House Maj. Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce (R-OH) "of his plans in a meeting earlier this week," explaining: "Leadership limits just don't make sense ... We want to make sure that Members are not immediately calculating whether the Speaker will be around." Pryce: "This is definitely a good thing regardless of when Denny Hastert is going to leave," she said. "He isn't a lame duck, but that's what term limits would do. This certainly isn't something that he's asked for. He's still free to go whenever he wants. This just gives him the ability to be in control while not becoming a lame duck" (12/19). WE'LL SIT THIS ONE OUT, THANKS In "stark contrast" to Senate GOPers' "public struggle over the fate of" Senate GOP leader Trent Lott (R-MS), "the top four members of the newly elected House GOP leadership team met privately earlier this week to lay the groundwork for a smooth transition." The Lott controversy "has consumed Washington's chattering class for nearly two weeks and has drowned out any talk of next year's legislative agenda." Pryce, on the matter: "It won't make the overall picture any easier. We still operate as a House, we still have our job to do. I don't think it will make our job that much harder, but it might make things more uncertain. We're still ready to roll. It's important to get our act together and hopefully [the Senate] will be able to do the same sooner rather than later." DeLay "declined to comment about any distraction the Lott feeding frenzy has caused to their planning process and also would not say whether he wanted Lott to stay or go": "I'm not touching that with a 6-foot pole. The Senate has to do what they have to do" (Crabtree, Roll Call, 12/19). THE DEMS WILL NOT BE TELEVISED? Washington Post's Eilperin reports the DCCC's Harriman Center, "which allows lawmakers to cut commercials, provide digital tours of the Capitol and do interviews with reporters in their districts," may "disappear altogether now that the national political parties cannot accept" soft money. Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA): "They kept me on television every week. [The staff] can give you political advice. These guys are trying to make you look good because they're Democrats." DCCC exec dir. Howard Wolfson said the cmte "is laying off the center's five unionized employees ... at least until it moves back into the party's headquarters," adding: "Campaign finance reform will mean a smaller committee. The next chair needs to weigh the services provided by the Harriman Center against the costs of running it in a post-McCain-Feingold era." Pelosi spokesperson Brendan Daley "said a final decision has not been made on the center": "We understand it's a very valuable service the Harriman Center provides, and we would like to continue offering that service to members." NRCC spokesperson Steve Schmidt "said he is confident his party will be able to provide members with television services": "Because of our ability to mine hard dollars, we will not have to close vital operations like our TV center. The committee will be a little leaner, a little smaller, but it's going to be involved in campaigns across the country in a very substantial way." Watchdog group Democracy 21 head Fred Wertheimer: "The bottom line here is, everyone's in a new world, where they have to operate with hard money" (12/19).

12/19/2002
NORTH CAROLINA: GOP FIELD TO FEATURE A GRAY AREA?
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NORTH CAROLINA: GOP FIELD TO FEATURE A GRAY AREA?

C. Boyden Gray (R), a DC "superlawyer" and ex-Bush 41 WH Counsel, is mulling a bid for the GOP nod to replace retiring Sen. Jesse Helms (R), according to well-informed Hotline GOP sources. His proponents believe Gray would be a "more formidable general election" foe against ex-WH CoS Erskine Bowles (D). As one Gray proponent puts it: "Boyden matches Bowles in money, skills and temperament." Gray is independently wealthy and could "easily self-fund" the race, according to these sources. As for making a final decision to run, friends say they are not sure, but that Gray "has not said 'no'" and seems "undaunted" by Elizabeth Dole's "high place in the polls." Gray, who once clerked for ex-SCOTUS Chief Justice Earl Warren, is a favorite of TV bookers when the issues of the day legal in nature. Search The Hotlinedatabase for "Boyden" during the times of impeachemnt and the FL recount and you'll find numerous hits.

10/24/2001
CAREER TRACK: THE LIFE OF BRIAN
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CAREER TRACK: THE LIFE OF BRIAN

Woodbury, MN, insurance exec Brian LeClair was elected 5/12 as the new GOP Chair of MN 06. MN 06 covers Washington, Dakota, and Anoka Cos. in the Twin Cities metro area. LeClair is VP-Gen. Counsel of LeClair Insurance Services, Inc. He is also an elected leader of the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce. Upon the announcement of his election, LeClair released a statement about Rep. Bill Luther (DFL-MN 06), noting that "if Bill Luther tries to break out of this box by running in the Sixth District again, we will defeat him. In a walk" (release, 5/13). SWINGING CHAD

05/15/2001