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Saturday, October 14, 2006
Frist asks political supporters to contribute to Hastert
From CNN Ticker Producer Alex Mooney

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, called on his political supporters to donate to House Speaker Dennis Hastert's, R-Illinois, re-election campaign, in an e-mail sent late Friday afternoon.

Frist's appeal comes 24 hours after Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, sent a similar appeal to his vast e-mail list asking them to contribute to Hastert's little known opponent, John Laesch. Frist reiterated his support for Hastert and sharply condemned Democrats' recent attacks on Hastert, who has come under fire for his handling of the Foley page scandal.

"These self-serving Democrats seek to take the speaker and Republicans out of the fight to keep America strong, safe, and secure, and hurt the President and the agenda we have all fought so hard for over these last six years," Frist wrote.
AP: La. Democrats snub 8-term Rep. Jefferson, endorse challenger
BATON ROUGE, La. -- An eight-term Democratic Louisiana congressman whose Capitol Hill office was raided earlier this year as part of a bribery investigation failed Saturday to win the
endorsement of the state's Democratic Party.

Rep. William Jefferson was passed over by the party's State Central Committee in favor of state Rep. Karen Carter. The committee voted 69-53 to endorse Carter in the Nov. 7 election.
"I am absolutely humbled," she said.

Jefferson, who has denied the bribery allegations and has not been charged, will still appear on the ballot as a Democrat and will not lose campaign funds because of the vote. But it marks the
first time in recent memory that an incumbent failed to win the state party's endorsement, said party member Elsie Burkhalter.
AP: FBI investigating Rep. Weldon and his daughter's contracts
WASHINGTON -- The FBI is investigating whether Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., used his influence to secure lobbying and consulting contracts for his daughter, two people familiar with the inquiry said Saturday.

The inquiry focuses on lobbying contracts worth $1 million that Weldon's daughter, Karen Weldon, obtained from foreign clients and whether they were assisted by the congressman, they said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of the criminal investigation.

Weldon, a 10-term Republican from the Philadelphia suburbs, long has denied any wrongdoing, and his top aide said Saturday no one had notified him of an investigation.
AP: Democrats up against proven Republican turnout machine
WASHINGTON -- In the battle for control of Congress, Democrats hope enthusiasm trumps Republican efficiency.

Otherwise, they concede, they will have problems on Nov. 7 as a party still struggling to catch up with the GOP's ability to turn voters out of seeming thin air.

"Makes me green with envy," says Ellen Malcolm, the president of EMILY's List, which backs female candidates who support abortion rights. She was speaking of the Republican Party program that relies on reams of polling data, publicly available information and consumer choice records to identify likely GOP voters in even the most Democratic precincts.

Republicans most recently put their prowess on display in California, where they turned out enough conservatives in June to elect Brian Bilbray to the House, and a few months later in Rhode Island, where they motivated moderates and independents to vote for Sen. Lincoln Chafee in a primary.
Countdown: 24 days 'til Election Day
Clinton has $15 million in campaign war chest
From CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton raised more than $3.8 million in the latest reporting cycle, and has $15.7 million in the bank heading into the November election.

The New York Democrat, who is all but sure to win a second term, can convert what is left of her Senate war chest to provide the seed money for a possible 2008 presidential bid if she chooses to run.
Gerry Studds, censured in '80s for sex with page while serving in Congress, dies
BOSTON (CNN) -- Former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds -- censured by the House of Representatives in the 1980s for having sex with a 17-year-old male page -- died early Saturday at Boston Medical Center.

Christian Kiriakos, the hospital's central administrator, told CNN Studds died at 1:44 a.m, but couldn't provide more information.

Studds -- the first openly gay member of Congress -- had been re-elected after his behavior with the page emerged in the public eye. He was a Massachusetts Democrat.

His name has emerged as a historical footnote recently in the scandal involving former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, who resigned from Congress because of his sexually explicit e-mail exchanges with pages.
Justice Department opens preliminary inquiry into congressman's camping trip
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. attorney in Arizona has begun a preliminary inquiry into a 1996 camping trip that included Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., and two male former congressional pages, among others, according to two federal law enforcement officials familiar with the issue.

The officials stressed the initial assessment by prosecutors in Arizona stems from a single allegation regarding Kolbe's behavior on the trip.

"This inquiry has just recently begun and it is much too early to know whether there is anything there," said one official with knowledge of the matter.

Spokesmen for the Justice Department refused any comment. Kolbe's spokeswoman, Korenna Cline, said she was not aware of the U.S. attorney's initial inquiry.

--CNN's Todd Schwarzschild, Terry Frieden, Andrea Koppel, Kevin Bohn and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.
AP: Foley ethics probe to enter its 2nd week
WASHINGTON -- With the House page scandal weighing on GOP candidates, an ethics committee investigation will enter its second full week with many important figures still to be interviewed.

The panel has already heard from key figures, including a staff aide to disgraced former Rep. Mark Foley who said he alerted top House aides years ago about inappropriate behavior by Foley toward pages. It also heard from the chairman of the board that oversees the House page program, who conceded Friday that Republicans have mishandled the matter.

Full article
AP: Dems have clear shot at DeLay's seat
PEARLAND, Texas -- Voting Republican in this conservative district was never difficult when Tom DeLay's name was on the ballot.

With DeLay out of the race and the GOP unable by law to substitute a name on the ballot, voters must write in the Republican candidate, Houston City Councilwoman Shelley Sekula-Gibbs. That could prove to be such a chore that Democrats might walk away with a seat that has long been in the GOP's hands.

Full story
AP: Ohio GOP's Financial Support Wavering
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- As the GOP scrambles nationwide to retain its majority, scandal-ridden Ohio appears to be falling off the financial radar screen.

Television time is being forsaken for House candidates. And national promotions of the state's gubernatorial candidate by the Republican Governors Association popped up, then disappeared.

Full story
Snow to attend Hastert fundraiser
From CNN White House Producer Becky Brittain

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Further evidence that the White House is standing firmly behind embattled House Speaker Dennis Hastert, press secretary Tony Snow will attend a fundraiser for the Illinois Republican this weekend.

Snow will deliver remarks Saturday at Hastert's "Annual Mega Dinner" where tickets will cost $175 per person. The event is only open to residents of Hastert's district, but the speaker is allowing the media to cover it. Snow, a media personality before joining the White House, has started to appear on behalf of GOP candidates this cycle.

President Bush has repeatedly expressed support for Hastert despite criticism the speaker mishandled the Foley page scandal.

For more of CNN's coverage on key races, check out America Votes 2006
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