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Campaigns shift into high gear

By John Mercurio, Robert Yoon and Kathy Benz
CNN Washington Bureau

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Election Day is fast approaching -- a fact not lost on candidates around the country, whose campaign schedules are reaching a feverish pitch these days.

With that in mind, we thought we'd update our calendar of political happenings each and every week day, to make sure we don't miss important events sure to shape the outcome on November 5. Look for daily postings starting Monday.

When they aren't debating their opponents, candidates are spending their time this weekend with, well, other politicians, mostly national figures who don't face ballot tests this fall and are free to travel the country on behalf of their party's top prospects.


Former President George Bush will be in Iowa, while former President Bill Clinton will travel home to Arkansas for both campaign and personal events. Al Gore goes to Connecticut, Sen. Bill Bradley travels to Iowa and Indiana and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton campaigns in Michigan and Florida. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, will be in Florida for the eighth time since January 2001.

Notably, the most aggressive fund raiser in our nation's history, President George W. Bush, will spend the weekend resting at Camp David; no fund raisers are scheduled.

There are also a few politician-meets-celebrity events planned. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, hosts "Saturday Night Live" this weekend. On Sunday, Christopher Reeve joins Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, for a two-day campaign tour of Iowa. And Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, will stump for her cousin, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, in Rhode Island.

October 19 (17 more days)

  • Bumped by actress Sarah Michelle Gellar from his originally scheduled appearance on the season opener, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, hosts NBC-TV's "Saturday Night Live" tonight. (Actually, McCain bowed out of the original SNL gig due to Senate votes, but we thought we'd try to stir a little tension between Gellar and McCain). McCain apparently is mad as hell that he won't get to appear with country singer Faith Hill, who was paired last week with Gellar.
  • Edwards

  • Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, fresh from keynoting the New Hampshire Jefferson-Jackson dinner Friday, will spend the rest of his weekend meeting the potential Granite State primary voters. But following the release of a Mason-Dixon poll last week that showed Edwards could be in trouble back home, don't be surprised to see Edwards back in North Carolina soon.
  • Harkin

  • Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, will campaign today with Superman (aka actor Christopher Reeve) in Ames. Said Reeves: "I became involved in a number of issues on Capitol Hill, from doubling the budget of the National Institutes of Health to supporting the most advanced research which will improve the quality of life of people living with diseases and disabilities. Senator Harkin and I have worked closely together on these issues." A new poll shows Harkin is leading Rep. Greg Ganske, a Republican, by high single digits.
  • Twenty-two percent of Iowa voters in 2000 were age 60 or older -- a statistic not likely to be overlooked by Gov. Tom Vilsack and challenger Doug Gross as they each stop by the Polk County Convention Center "Over 50s Lifestyle Expo." Later, Gov. Vilsack attends a Johnson County Democratic barbecue in Iowa City.
  • Former Sen. and 2000 presidential candidate Bill Bradley, D-New Jersey, will head to Iowa, headlining a barbecue for Democrat John Norris at the Stonehaven Barn in DeSoto. Norris is running against Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa. No word yet on when Bradley will campaign for his former colleague, Frank Lautenberg, in his 11th-hour race for Bradley's old seat. Bradley also will stump for ex-Rep. Jill Long Thompson, the Democratic nominee in Indiana's 2nd district. The two will attend a rally in South Bend, then the pair will campaign door-to-door.
  • Dole

  • In North Carolina, Senate nominees Erskine Bowles, a Democrat, and Elizabeth Dole, a Republican, debate this evening at East Carolina University. The forum will be broadcast live and is expected to include about 200 audience members. The town-hall format will include questions from two television anchor moderators and from about half a dozen audience members. The audience members who ask the questions will be from a poll of undecided voters. A new independent poll released last week showed Bowles has cut into Dole's lead, narrowing the race to 10 points.
  • Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating joins his old law school buddy, Mike Fisher, Pennsylvania's Republican gubernatorial nominee, for a day of campaigning. They kickoff the day with a rally at a mall where they will be joined by GOP Sen. Arlen Specter.
  • California Gov. Gray Davis, who is seeking a second term this November, heads to Gardena for a "Labor Elects the 2002 Candidates" rally with a number of other state Democrats. Meanwhile, California First Lady Sharon Davis tours the bay area to stump for her husband's reelection bid. Mrs. Davis will attend a get-out-the-vote rally in Pittsburgh, and participate in a labor-oriented precinct walk in Antioch.
  • In Texas, Linda Chavez-Thompson, the executive vice president of the AFL-CIO, will appear at a vote rally and precinct walk with former WorldCom workers to demand that candidates take a stand against corporate greed and for working families. Former Texas Secretary of State Henry Cuellar, the Democratic challenger to Rep. Henry Bonilla, a Republican, will attend the event.
  • House Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost, D-Texas, will campaign in Colorado for state Sen. Stan Matsunaka, who is running against state Sen. Marilyn Musgrave, a Republican, in the state's eastern 4th district. Frost's visit comes just days after Matsunaka said he is being forced to cut back on his campaign because he's getting little support from the DCCC.
  • Al Gore will be a special guest at a fundraiser for Rep. Jim Maloney, D-Connecticut, in Southbury. In a statement, Maloney said the former vice president is "well regarded in Connecticut and we are delighted" he'll attend the event. Maloney faces GOP Rep. Nancy Johnson this November.
  • Sen. Tim Hutchinson, R-Arkansas, spends the day in central Arkansas and works the crowds at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. Hutchinson then attends the Razorback Birthday Banquet, giving certificates to WWII veterans in Russellville. Hutchinson and his Democratic challenger, state Attorney General Mark Pryor, are locked in a dead heat.
  • Former President Bill Clinton begins a busy weekend in Arkansas by being inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame as an "honorary member." Clinton will be the first non-African American recognized in the hall's 10-year history. Officials said the honor is designed to recognize the former president's appointment of African Americans to high levels in state and federal government, and his post-White House "efforts to fight AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean."
  • Clinton

  • Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, will travel to Michigan to headline a money event for the Democratic Party's coordinated campaign. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, and state Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, the Michigan Democratic gubernatorial nominee, will be the main beneficiaries of that event. She is also doing an event for House nominee Kevin Kelley, who is running against state Sen. Thaddeus McCotter in the state's new 11th district. Later today, Clinton will travel to Florida to deliver a speech at the Dade Human Rights Campaign dinner. Clinton is also doing a fundraiser for Nan Rich, who's running for state Senate in South Florida. Clinton and Rich are old friends who served on the board of HIPPY (Home Instruction Program for Pre-School Youngsters) together.
  • Clemson University holds its homecoming weekend. Expect to see swarms of candidates at the game, including South Carolina Senate nominee Alex Sanders, a Democrat.
  • Rep. Bob Clement, the Democratic Senate nominee in Tennesee, will attend an early vote rally in Brownsville, the home of singer Tina Turner. He then goes to Jackson to meet with the Communication Workers of America. Also today, Clement attends a six-county rally and fish-fry for local Democratic candidates and a barbecue dinner with county chairs in the 4th congressional district. The latest GOP poll showed Alexander continues to lead Clement by double digits.
  • House GOP Conference Chairman J.C. Watts is tentatively scheduled to campaign in Connecticut for Republican Reps. Christopher Shays and Nancy Johnson. Watts, who is retiring, will also stump today for Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois.
  • Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, will give a briefing on the hurricane damage in Kenner. Afterwards, she will join Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-New Mexico, over Port Fourchon. Later, Landrieu will travel to Crowley for their local rice festival. The Crowley festival is a major political event in Louisiana, so watch for lots of other political candidates to attend.
  • "Sportsmen for Saxby" hold a rally for GOP Rep. Saxby Chambliss's Senate race in Albany, Georgia.
  • James Carville, better known in some circles as the Ragin' Cajun and in others as the co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," heads to Kentucky to raise money for Democratic Senate nominee Lois Combs Weinberg and for the local party. Weinberg has an uphill battle to unseat Republican Mitch McConnell.
  • Early voting begins in Texas. Democratic Senate nominee Ron Kirk will drive his mother to the polls in Austin.
  • Democrat Tom Strickland, who's in a tight race in Colorado to unseat GOP Sen. Wayne Allard, will join Rep. Martin Frost, chair of the House Democratic caucus, and congressional candidate Mike Feeley at the "National Day of Action for Corporate Accountability," hosted by the state AFL-CIO in Denver. Strickland has tried to make political hay out of Allard's connections with the telecom company Qwest, while Allard has returned the favor and trumpeted Strickland's connections with Global Crossing. Allard will kick off a three-day, 16-county bus tour of the state on Tuesday.
  • In New Hamphire, Rep. John Sununu, the Republican Senate nominee, hits the campaign trail hard with a stop by the New England Wood Pellett Company's 10th anniversary open house. From there he travels down the street to speak at the New Hampshire Federation of Republican Women, and just when he thought he had a break, he makes an appearance at the Hillsborough Republican Committee Oktoberfest, before ending the day at a youth rally.
  • Ed Rendell, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Pennsylvania, reaches out to both the African American and Latino voters. First he speaks at the Pennyslvania Legislative Black Caucus annual symposium, and then participates in a Latino media roundtable. He'll end the day at a Latino campaign rally.
  • Carl McCall, the Democrat who hopes to knock off New York's Republican Gov. George Pataki, hosts a get-out-the-vote rally in Harlem. McCall will also hold a press conference in conjunction with a tenants' group, the largest in New York. He is expected to discuss options for affordable housing and rent stabilization. Meanwhile, Gov. Pataki attends a benefit telethon for families of victims of Flight 587, which crashed in Belle Harber last November, and an anniversary celebration noting the 225th Anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga.
  • Minnesota's Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Roger Moe, spends a second day reaching out to union members in an effort to get out the vote this November. In the morning, he attends a state SEIU "Door Knock" kickoff at the state capital in St. Paul.
  • Rep. Greg Ganske, the GOP Senate nominee in Iowa and a former wrestler, attends the Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Convention in West Des Moines.
  • October 20 (16 more days)
  • Ganske

  • The Mortgage Bankers Association of America begins its annual meeting in Chicago. This year's speakers include former President George H.W. Bush and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. Bush will also be the honored guest in Des Moines at an event for Rep. Greg Ganske, a Republican, who is challenging Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. A new independent poll shows Ganske trailing Harkin by nine points.
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, will travel to South Florida and Orlando over the next two days for fundraisers. Details were still coming together last week.
  • Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, continues to lay some groundwork for a possible 2004 presidential bid with a full day of stumping and flesh-pressing in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state. Kerry starts off with a lunch-time fundraising reception in Nashua for the state party. Also in Nashua, he'll lend his Vietnam credentials at a veteran's event on behalf of Democratic congressional candidate Katrina Swett. He'll then hop on a trolley in Manchester with state Sen. Lou D'Allesandro. Kerry will squeeze in a Democratic chili party in Exeter, before headlining a fund raiser for another Democratic House candidate, state Rep. Martha Fuller Clark. Kerry is running unopposed for a fourth term in the Senate this November.
  • House Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi, D-California, will also campaign for Democratic congressional nominee Katrina Swett in Concorde. Swett is the wife of ex-Rep. Dick Swett and the daughter of Rep. Tom Lantos, D-California. Pelosi and Katrina Swett will host a discussion of issues important to women.
  • Former Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, who hopes to succeed his arch-nemesis Sen. Robert Torricelli, will help kickoff the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure in Princeton. Lautenberg will be joined by Democratic Gov. Jim McGreevey, who played a key role in lining up a replacement candidate in the confusing hours after the Torch aborted his reelection bid. Later in the day, Lautenberg will attend the dedication of the Daniel Pearl Education Center at the Temple B'Nai Shalom in East Brunswick. Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan, was born in Princeton, New Jersey.
  • Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy, will attend a fundraiser for her cousin, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Rhode Island.
  • While the Kennedys cavort for campaign cash, Rep. Robert Ehrlich, the Republican who hopes to deliver another stinging defeat this year for the family in Maryland, will court the Jewish and Italian votes at a pair of events in Baltimore. Ehrlich's opponent, Democratic nominee Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, earned the unfortunate family distinction of being the only Kennedy to lose a general election in a failed congressional bid in the mid-1980s. Townsend's cousin, Mark Shriver, lost the Democratic primary for the race to unseat GOP Rep. Connie Morella.
  • Prominent Maryland Democrats meet in Bethesda to denounce ads being run by embattled GOP Rep. Connie Morella in the race for the state's eighth congressional district. Morella, who is trying to beat back a strong challenge from Democrat Chris Van Hollen, recently launched an ad using a quote from Van Hollen's primary opponent Mark Shriver, in which Shriver says that Van Hollen distorted his record. Van Hollen and Shriver will be joined by Sens. Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski as well as Shriver's cousin Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the Democratic nominee for governor.
  • Still in Arkansas, former President and ex-Gov.Bill Clinton campaigns for Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Jimmie Lou Fisher, a Democrat. Fisher trails Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, but has made slight gains in recent weeks.
  • Tennessee's Senate nominees, Republican Lamar Alexander and Democrat Bob Clement, meet for their fifth and final debate this afternoon at the WREG-TV studio in Memphis. The debate is being co-sponsored by the WREG and the Memphis Commercial-Appeal newspaper.
  • Gov. Gray Davis holds campaign rallies in Coachella and Oxnard with United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta and current UFW president Arturo Rodriguez. The California Democrat will face Republican nominee Bill Simon in November.
  • Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat, and Rep. Bob Riley, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, face off in their second debate at 8 p.m. CDT. This debate will be held at the Alabama Public Television station in Montgomery. Siegelman is holding a pre-debate barbecue and "supply-raiser" at his campaign headquarters in Montgomery. What's a supply-raiser, you ask? It's Siegelman's attempt to ridicule Riley and President Bush, who visited Alabama this summer and charged GOP donors $50,000 each for a picture with him. Siegelman's folksy take is to ask donors to bring in school supplies in exchange for a picture with the governor.
  • Daschle

  • Third-quarter FEC reports due for monthly filers. Democratic 2004 presidential hopefuls Richard Gephardt, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Tom Daschle will each file reports today for their leadership PACs.
  • House GOP Conference Chairman J.C. Watts will campaign in New Hampshire for Rep. Charlie Bass, as well as state Rep. Jeb Bradley (R), who's running to succeed Rep. John Sununu, who is running for Senate. Watts is also stumping for Kevin Raye, a House GOP nominee in Maine.
  • South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges, a Democrat, and his GOP challenger, ex-Rep. Mark Sanford, debate again, this time in Charleston. This televised face-off (their eighth since late August; they have one more) is being hosted and sponsored by WCSC-TV.
  • Louisiana Rep. John Cooksey, a GOP Senate candidate, will attend the Morgan City Gun and Knife Show in the city's Municipal Auditorium.
  • Also in South Carolina, Senate nominees Alex Sanders, a Democrat, and Rep. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, are debating at the South Carolina Educational Television station (SCETV) in Columbia. The debate is being sponsored by the League of Women Voters.
  • Republicans running for statewide office in Arkansas take a train tour of northwest Arkansas, from Van Buren north to Rogers. Attending will be Gov. Mike Huckabee, Lt. Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller and Sen. Tim Hutchinson, among others.
  • In the New Mexico gubernatorial race, Democrat Bill Richardson and Republican John Sanchez debate for the third time, this time at the KRQE-TV station in Albuquerque.
  • Spielberg

  • Former President George Bush and NBC's Tom Brokaw are scheduled to be among the luminaries speaking at a memorial service in New Orleans for historian Stephen Ambrose, who died of lung cancer on October 13. The service, on the steps of the National D-Day Museum, is open to the public. It follows a private service and burial last Thursday in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg were among those who attended that service.
  • Democrat Ed Rendell and Republican Mike Fisher debate in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race.
  • Actor/activist Christopher Reeve speaks in Iowa City on behalf of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa.
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, makes his eighth trip to Florida this weekend. Today, Lieberman will attend a fundraiser with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Bill McBride and tour of condo communities in Broward County. Later, the Senator will hosts a fundraising dinner for his political action committee, ROCPAC, at a private home in Miami Beach.
  • Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania's Democratic gubernatorial nominee, puts on a jogging suit and speaks this morning before the AIDS Walk in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Rendell joins his Republican opponent, Mike Fischer, at the Easton Express Times for debate #3 at the State Theater. Rendell leads Fisher by wide margins in most recent polls.
  • The Concord New Hampshire Jewish Men's Club holds a forum for New Hampshire Senate nominees, Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Rep. John Sununu.
  • New York gubernatorial nominees, Republican incumbent George Pataki, and Democratic challenger Carl McCall, duke it out in their second debate at 11 a.m. in Syracuse.
  • Who in the world is voting? Ecuador holds its first round of presidential and legislative elections.
  • October 21 (15 more days)

  • Vice President Dick Cheney delivers remarks at a reception for the Maine Republican Party in Portland.
  • Still in Arkansas, Bill Clinton travels to Fayetteville, Arkansas, for an event honoring the his former political mentor, late Senator James William Fulbright. He is expected to speak about German-American relations. Also in Arkansas, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, travels to Bentonville and Springdale to campaign with Sen. Tim Hutchinson.
  • Cheney

  • Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani will campaign in Tennessee for GOP gubernatorial nominee Van Hilleary. Giuliani and Hilleary will attend a lunch in Nashville in support of Hilleary's gubernatorial campaign, followed by a press availability at the Hilton Suites. Hilleary also gets a hand from Lynne Cheney, who will campaign in the Tri-Cities region. Cheney and Hilleary will attend a breakfast in Kingsport in support for Hilleary's gubernatorial campaign.
  • Rep. John Cooksey, a Republican who is challenging Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, attends the West Monroe Ouachita Chamber of Commerce Senate candidates' Forum.
  • Rep. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, will hold a series of receptions in Laurens. His opponent in the Senate race, Democrat Alex Sanders, is laying low. South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges, a Democrat, will travel to Wofford College in Upstate to talk to students about scholarships, the economy, and what sort of job market they can expect when they graduate. Hodges will then attend a campaign rally at a library in Greenville County.
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, will headline a breakfast in Orlando for attorney Harry Jacobs, the Democratic House nominee in the state's new 24th district. Later, Lieberman will campaign with state Sen. Buddy Dyer, the Democratic nominee for state attorney general, also in Orlando.
  • Gov. Gray Davis, D-California, attends campaign rallies in Chico and Eureka. Davis is running for a second term against Republican Bill Simon.
  • The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce in St. Cloud hosts a luncheon for the Senate candidates Paul Wellstone, the Democratic incumbent, and Republican challenger Norm Coleman. For dessert, the candidates turn up the heat and duke it out in yet another debate.
  • Sen. John Kerry begins a two-day campaign swing in Michigan, where Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jennifer Granholm leads Republican Dick Posthumus in the race to succeed outgoing GOP Gov. John Engler. Before wading into the governor's race, Kerry will attend a flag lowering event at a VA Hospital with Rep. John Dingell, dean of Michigan's congressional delegation, and another vet's event for congressional candidate Kevin Kelley. Kerry will then attend a law enforcement-themed fundraiser for Granholm, and ride a Granholm campaign bus to an early childhood event. All events are in the Detroit area. On Tuesday, Kerry and Granholm will meet with veterans in Warren, Michigan, and then hold a press event on homeland security.
  • Maryland's Democratic gubernatorial nominee Kathleen Kennedy Townsend gets the nod from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The endorsement is notable because Townsend's father, the late Robert Kennedy, had a famously less-than-friendly relationship with the powerful union and with its then-president, Jimmy Hoffa, the father of current Teamsters president, James Hoffa, Jr. Apparently, the kids play better than the dads. Don't expect a big hoopla, though. There's no big event planned, just a paper statement. Townsend instead will attend the Prince George's County Ploughman and Fisherman Breakfast and hold an environmental event with the Audubon Naturalist Society in Chevy Chase.
  • Rep. Robert Ehrlich literally brings in some heavy-hitters in his bid for the Maryland governorship. Ehrlich will hold an "Athletes for Bob" fundraiser in Baltimore County, which boasts several famed members of the Baltimore Orioles, including Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, and Boog Powell. Also attending the fundraiser will be Olympic figure skating champion Dorothy Hamill, who raised money for Ehrlich earlier this summer. The event includes as $500-per-person VIP reception as well as a non-VIP reception for $125 per person. One wildcard: the invitation for the event lists University of Maryland basketball coach Gary Williams as one of the phalanx of "Athletes for Bob." However, Williams told CNN that he had not planned on attending the event and is discouraged by the University from supporting political candidates. The Ehrlich campaign said their understanding is that Williams will attend, but only as "a friend of Bob," not in a political capacity.
  • The South Dakota Senate candidates, Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson and GOP Rep. John Thune, are scheduled to duke it out in their third televised debate. This latest face-off is sponsored by the local League of Women Voters and will air on the ABC affilliate KFSY. The host station got some unfavorable coverage recently when it was discovered that KFSY News anchor Mitch Krebs, who was supposed to moderate today's debate, had emceed a Thune campaign fundraiser last month. Krebs has since been axed from the forum. Another notable note: Thune campaign press secretary Christine Iverson is a former KFSY reporter.
  • New Hampshire's Senate nominees, Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, and Republican Rep. John Sununu meet for a second debate sponsored by New Hampshire's Public TV
  • Sen. Jean Carnahan, D-Missouri, and former Rep. Jim Talent face off for a televised debate.

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