Dotty Lynch, Douglas Kiker, Steve Chaggaris and Joanna Schubert of The CBS News Political Unit have the latest from the nation's capital.
Pioneering Campaign Strategy: The New York Times reports that then-Gov. George W. Bush of Texas had more than twice the number of fundraising "Pioneers" – donors who raked in at least $100,000 in individual contributions for the campaign – than has been previously reported.
Previously, the number of Pioneers was put at 230, but documents released as a result of the ongoing court fight over McCain-Feingold show that more than 500 people volunteered to be Pioneers. Because the newly released data does not cover the final months of the 2000 campaign, there was no way to tell if the 270-plus spare Pioneers reached the $100,000 mark. A spokesman for the RNC tells the Times that officials were unaware of anyone other than the original 230 raising the $100,000.
Regardless of whether all 500 reached the Pioneer level, the documents show depth and breadth of Mr. Bush's fundraising machine – and illustrate its potential for raising massive amounts of hard money for the 2004 race, when individual donors will be allowed to give twice the amount - $2,000 – to federal campaigns. In 2000, Bush raised over $100 million. Some estimates have him raising more than twice that for his re-election.
The documents also showed that some Pioneers raised far more than $100K. The 21 top Pioneers raised $6.6 million. Overall, the group raked-in $24.9 million.
The Times' analysis of the documents shows that working as a Pioneer team, two Cincinnati businessmen, William Dewitt and Mercer Reynolds, raised $605,082 between them. Reynolds was later named ambassador to Switzerland, a post from which he has since resigned. Both Dewitt and Reynolds have known Mr. Bush for years, including through a business deal in 1984 in which their company, Spectrum 7, bought Mr. Bush's struggling oil firm.
The second-ranking Pioneer was Michigan businessman Ronald Weiser, who raised $588,309. He is now ambassador to the Slovak Republic. The team of Howard Leach and Kristen Heuter was third, with $429,610. Leach is now ambassador to France. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge was another Pioneer: He raised $251,550.
Just as some of the best 2000 campaign tidbits are becoming public, Mr. Bush's 2004 re-election team continues to take shape. Roll Call reports that super-lobbyist and former Capitol Hill aide Ed Gillespie could replace former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot as chairman of the Republican National Committee. Racicot, in turn, would take a senior position in Bush's re-election campaign, the paper reports. Roll Call, citing anonymous "GOP insiders," said the final decision on Gillespie's appointment awaits a thumbs-up from White House political adviser Karl Rove.
Gillespie tells Roll Call that he has "not been offered any position." He added, however, that he had offered to work on the campaign and "would lick envelopes" if necessary. Gillespie's firm – Quinn, Gillespie & Assoc. – is one of the most powerful and lucrative lobbying firms in the country.
The Ghost of McCarthy Lives On: In the same room where Sen. Joseph McCarthy held his famous Army-McCarthy hearings in the 1950s, Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Carl Levin, D-Mich., unveiled Monday the never-before-seen transcripts of secret hearings McCarthy held in his effort to root out Communists in America.
The 5,600 pages of the closed-door hearings held by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in 1953 were released today, 50 years after McCarthy held over 160 hearings to determine who he was going to grill in open session.
"This is the first new material we've had in literally a half century," Senate Historian Don Ritchie said this morning.
The transcripts "shed new light on a shameful chapter in American history," Collins said about the hearings which "paraded without the regard for the constitutional rights"of roughly 400 people, such as composer Aaron Copeland, New York Times journalist James Reston and many government and military workers.
McCarthy, a Wisconsin Republican, chaired the subcommittee from 1953 to 1954 and held the investigation into communists in the U.S. at the height of the Cold War. Ritchie, Levin and Collins pointed out that the transcripts give an interesting insight on how McCarthy tried to browbeat witnesses into admitting Communist ties by, in essence, saying they were guilty if they ever attempted to invoke their 5th Amendment Constitutional right to refuse to answer questions. "He outright says that anyone who invokes the 5th Amendment is guilty," Collins said.
Collins and Levin mentioned their direct personal connections they had to McCarthy's investigations, which ended up with him being censured by the Senate 1954 as people began to see on television his over-the top tactics – through his open hearings and a famous interview with Edward R. Murrow.
Collins talked about how proud she is to currently hold the seat of former Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, who in 1950 was the first to publicly criticize McCarthy, which many senators were afraid to do early on.
In 1954, Levin was a student at Pennsylvania's Swarthmore College and helped organize a petition drive to support the censure of McCarthy. On the day before the censure vote, Levin and his classmates traveled to Washington to hand-deliver their 700-signature petition to Sen. Jim Duff, R-Pa. At the same time, an armored truck under armed guard and filled with over one million signatures in support of McCarthy arrived at the Capitol.
Levin quipped it taught him what it was like "to be the little guy" when he saw the guards' guns that day even though, in the end, the censure passed.
All-Rove Primary: Campaigning in Texas' 19th District will continue as two candidates face a run-off election, probably on June 7, to fill retiring Republican Rep. Larry Combest's seat. According to The Dallas Morning News, Randy Neugebauer and Mike Conaway, both Republicans, plan to stick to the same campaign strategies that helped them finish first and second in a pool of 17 candidates in Saturday's special election.
Neugebauer, a former Lubbock City Councilman, won 22 percent of the vote, and Conaway, an accountant and former Midland school board member, received 21 percent. Excluding other candidate's votes, Neugebauer carried the northern counties while Conaway carried most of the southern counties.
Two former Karl Rove associates, Ted Delisi and Todd Olsen, are now on opposite sides of the close run-off election. Delisi and Olsen purchased Rove's political consulting business in 1999, but parted ways in 2002. Now, Delisi is working for Conaway and Olsen is working for Neugebauer as both candidates try to win over the voters in the 19th District.
The two Republican candidates share a conservative platform, so they will have to do something to distinguish themselves in the next month. "When you don't have distinct ideological differences, that regional affiliation is probably going to have a bigger impact," Dr. Brian Gerber, a Texas Tech political science professor told the Dallas Morning News. "It could boil down to who's more effective in campaigning in the other person's region.
If both Conaway and Neugebauer continue the same campaign strategy, they will replay their widespread television advertisements in the district. According to the National Journal, Conaway's advertisements point to his support for President Bush and his tenure as the chairman of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (which took away Arthur Andersen's license in 2002 during the Enron scandal).
Neugebauer sticks to a more traditional approach with ads that feature him walking in a field while he talks about his plan to build "a better West Texas."
But a continued campaign will take more money. The campaign finance laws allow anyone who donated to the campaign to contribute up to $2,000 more. Fundraising will be important for Conaway since Neugebauer has been able to use his large personal income to finance his efforts. According to MyWestTexas.com, he has already contributed $150,000 to his campaign, while Conaway has given about $30,000 of his own money.
Another crucial factor during the next part of the campaign will be endorsements from the other candidates. So far state Rep. Carl Isset, R-Tx, has not made a decision to support either of the remaining candidates. Isset finished third in the election and could provide valuable support, especially with the Lubbock Republican voters.
Whichever candidate wins, he will assume Rep. Combest's seats on the Agricultural and Small Business committees for the rest of his term. Combest is retiring to spend more time with his wife and family after almost 20 years on Capitol Hill.
Political Week Ahead: The Democratic candidates have left their first debate in South Carolina with some blood spilled and are fanning out to other early states this week. Florida Senator Bob Graham officially announces his candidacy. President Bush is on the road selling his tax plan and White House political advisor Karl Rove speaks at St. Anselm's Institute of Politics in New Hampshire.
Mon. 5/5 – President Bush sells his tax cut plan in Little Rock, Ark.
Mon. 5/5 – Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Ct., campaigns in Cleveland.
Mon. 5/5 – Al Sharpton and Rep. Dennis Kucinich will be in Davenport, Iowa for the Iowa State Association of Letter Carriers.
Mon. 5/5 – Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., campaigns in Illinois.
Tue. 5/6 – Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., will officially announce his White House 2004 candidacy.
Tue. 5/6 – Howard Dean campaigns in New Hampshire.
Wed. 5/7 – Lieberman unveils energy policy plan in Washington.
Wed. 5/7-5/8 – Graham campaigns in New Hampshire.
Wed. 5/7 – White House adviser Karl Rove travels to New Hampshire where he'll speak to the St. Anselm's College Institute of Politics
Thurs. 5/8 – Kerry campaigns in New Hampshire.
Thurs. 5/8 – Sharpton will speak at Washington and Lee University in
Lexington, Va., as part of the spring kickoff for the university's 2004 Democratic Mock Convention.
Thurs. 5/9 - Lieberman campaigns in Miami.
Fri. 5/9 – President Bush travels to Columbia, S.C.
Fri. 5/9-5/10 – Graham campaigns in Iowa.
Fri. 5/9 – Story County, Iowa, Big Band Swing Fling. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.,
slated to attend.
Fri. 5/9 – Hadassah Lieberman campaigns in Midlands, S.C.
Sat. 5/10 – Polk County, Iowa, Democratic Party dinner featuring Rep. Boswell
and several Democratic presidential candidates.
Sat. 5/10 – Elizabeth Edwards campaign in Des Moines, Iowa.
Sat. 5/10 – Sen. John Edwards will speak at the 16th annual HRC Atlanta dinner.
Quote of the Day: He "is never going again." - Elayne Bennett, wife of former Education Secretary William Bennett, saying that her husband, who gambled away over $8 million in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, is not addicted to gambling. (Daily News)