POLIITCAL INSIDER: Ex-football coach Holtz seeks campaign cash for GOP

By Philip Elliott, AP
Wednesday, October 6, 2010


WASHINGTON — Former football coach Lou Holtz is urging support — with votes and with money — for Republicans running for Congress.

In a fundraising e-mail sent Tuesday on behalf of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Holtz said GOP leaders in the House are well positioned to “fire Nancy Pelosi” in November but “they can’t find the end zone without your support.” The message, filled with football references, asked supporters to give cash to help Republicans capture the majority on Nov. 2.

“We are late into the fourth quarter of the midterm elections and the NRCC needs your immediate help to drive our Republican Party to victory,” the former Notre Dame coach said.

EDITOR’S NOTE — An insider’s view of this year’s elections based on reports from around the nation.

“I’m writing to tell you — quarterbacked by John Boehner and Pete Sessions — our Republican Party has an excellent team of limited-government, pro-freedom individuals ready to take the field in Washington and defeat the other team’s liberal agenda.”

As the minority leader in the House, Boehner, R-Ohio, is thought to be the front-runner to become speaker if Republicans win a majority of seats. Sessions, R-Texas, is chairman of the NRCC.

The White House says President Barack Obama will campaign for Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick as Patrick faces a tough re-election campaign.

A Patrick adviser said the visit is planned for Oct. 16.

Patrick is in a tough race for re-election against Republican Charles Baker, independent Timothy Cahill and Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein.

Patrick and Obama share Chicago roots and a Harvard University pedigree and have employed some of the same consultants, including Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. Obama appeared at a fundraiser for Patrick in April.

A new poll in the Ohio governor’s race shows Republican challenger John Kasich leading Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.

The Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday shows that Strickland has cut into Kasich’s lead since the its last poll was released just over two weeks ago. The new poll found Kasich with a 50 percent to 41 percent lead; a poll released Sept. 16 showed Kasich with a 54-37 margin.

Other polls released in the last few weeks have shown the race tightening.

The survey of 1,025 likely Ohio voters was taken Sept. 29 to Oct. 3. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Republican Gov. Rick Perry says he has $10 million in available campaign cash — almost four times as much as Democrat Bill White heading into the final month of the costly Texas governor’s race.

White, a former Houston mayor, announced he has $2.75 million cash on hand.

Perry outraised White in the latest reporting period, having collected $8.26 million between July 1 and Sept. 23. White reported he had raised $4.68 million in that span.

The gubernatorial campaigns had to file new reports on their fundraising to the Texas Ethics Commission by Monday night.

White’s campaign explained the large difference in available cash between the two candidates by saying White had spent more than $11 million in the period, some of it on television ads that will air in the weeks to come. White’s campaign finance chair, Scott Atlas, said Texans “are voting with their pocketbooks for new leadership.”

White, who emphasizes his leadership experience in Houston and his business background, is considered the Texas Democrats’ best hope in years to recapture the governorship. Right now all statewide elected offices are held by Republicans, a trend that began in the 1990s as George W. Bush swept into power.

Perry has held elected office for 25 years and is seeking an unprecedented third full four-year term as governor.

There are no limits on campaign contributions in the state’s governor’s race. The candidates spend millions of dollars buying television advertising, crucial to reaching voters in this state of more than 24 million people. Both already have been airing positive and negative TV ads.

California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown has $22.5 million in campaign cash as he heads into the final month of the race against Republican Meg Whitman.

Campaign spokesman Sterling Clifford says Brown has spent $10.3 million so far this year, almost all of it since Labor Day.

The campaign released the figures Tuesday ahead of a more detailed campaign finance report to be filed with the secretary of state’s office.

Whitman, whose spending to date has dwarfed Brown’s, had not yet released her spending or fundraising numbers. The former eBay CEO has given her campaign $119 million from her personal fortune, a record for a U.S. candidate.

Clifford says Brown, the state’s attorney general, raised $28.6 million in the three-month period ending Sept. 30.

Quick hits:

— Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold is trying to increase voter turnout by encouraging voters to cast their ballots early. His campaign on Tuesday launched a website, VoteNowWisconsin.com, that helps residents find their early-voting locations or request absentee ballots. The Democratic incumbent is trailing his Republican challenger, newcomer Ron Johnson of Oshkosh, slightly in the polls.

— Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal plans to travel to New Hampshire this month to campaign on behalf of a Republican gubernatorial candidate there. Jindal will attend two events in the Granite State on Oct. 14 on behalf of John Stephen, who is challenging Democratic incumbent John Lynch. Several potential GOP presidential candidates have already campaigned with Stephen, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

— Nebraska Republican Gov. Dave Heineman has more than 100 times cash on hand as Democratic challenger Mike Meister, according to campaign finance reports that were due late Monday. The reports showed Heineman had nearly $1.8 million cash on hand, while Meister had little more than $16,000. The reporting period spans June 16 to Sept. 28. Meister’s entry into the race came after the Democrats’ first candidate, Mark Lakers, abruptly announced his departure in early July amid questions about his campaign finance.

Associated Press writers Steve LeBlanc in Boston, Kelly Shannon in Austin, Texas, and Juliet Williams in Sacramento, Calif., contributed to this report.

will not be displayed