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Gov. Bush's war chest dwarfs Florida Democrats'

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Campaign news from around the country, compiled by CNN Political Unit staff and written by Rob Harber

  • Janet Reno has the name recognition, but Bill McBride has the cash in the Democratic primary for Florida governor. New campaign finance reports show that with the primary less than nine weeks away, the former attorney general has about $224,000 dollars in the bank. McBride, her leading opponent, has $1.2 million. Incumbent Republican Gov. Jeb Bush's war chest dwarfs those of both Democrats at almost $5 million.

  • California Gov. Gray Davis is holding his lead over Republican Bill Simon despite budget problems and a state contracting scandal. Davis leads Simon by seven points in a new poll, with 25 percent either undecided or supporting a third-party candidate. Davis is running a new television ad, his first since Simon debuted offbeat TV ads criticizing the incumbent. The new Davis ads promote the governor as a public servant and criticize Simon on several issues, including his refusal to release his tax returns.

  • Using a race in his home state as an example, Michigan Rep. John Conyers has come up with an unusual plan to help fellow Democrats forced to run against each other in party primaries. Under Conyers' plan, longtime incumbent Rep. John Dingell would step aside in favor of fellow Democrat Lynn Rivers. Then, assuming Democrats win control of the House, Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Missouri, would become speaker.
  • Then, according to the plan, Gephardt might run for president and Dingell would be rewarded by his former colleagues by being elected House speaker, even though he would no longer be a member of the chamber. After all, the Constitution says the House chooses its speaker -- that person is not required to be a member of Congress.


    Mitt Romney, Republican gubanatorial candiate in Massachusetts
    Mitt Romney, Republican gubernatorial candiate in Massachusetts  

  • Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Mitt Romney is threatening to sue fellow Republican James Rappaport. Romney says Rappaport is boosting his own campaign for lieutenant governor illegally by using their names together on signs and bumper stickers. Romney has chosen a different candidate, Kerry Healey, to be his running mate, but a Rappaport spokesman says the signs and stickers are here to stay.

  • Texas Democrat Ron Kirk once said that Bill Clinton would have to "rehabilitate himself" before his support would be welcomed by fellow Democrats there. Now Kirk has announced plans to hold a Manhattan fund-raiser with the former president. A spokesman tells The Dallas Morning News that Kirk stands by his original comments, and says Texans shouldn't expect to see Clinton campaigning in Texas "anytime soon."

  • Sen. Max Cleland, D-Georgia  

  • Georgia Democratic Sen. Max Cleland has unveiled the first television ad in his re-election campaign. The ad highlights Cleland's service in Vietnam and links him to President Bush and fellow Sen. Zell Miller, two popular figures among Georgia voters.

  • A new poll in Missouri finds Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan leading her Republican challenger, Jim Talent. Carnahan now has an eight-point edge over Talent, a former Republican congressman; 12 percent of the likely voters who were surveyed say they are undecided.

  • In Michigan, state Rep. William Callahan said his congressional primary opponent, incumbent Rep. Sander Levin, should not represent the newly redrawn 12th District. Callahan noted that Levin is Jewish and the district is now more conservative and more Catholic than before. "That man has never owned a Christmas tree. He's not a Christian. And I'm thinking, how can he represent me, then?" Callahan said. Callahan has since apologized, and he told the Detroit Free Press his published comments were "grossly out of context."

  • In Tennessee, a new poll finds former education secretary and state governor Lamar Alexander leading U.S. Rep. Ed Bryant in the GOP Senate primary. Alexander has a 17-point advantage over Bryant in this survey. The poll also gives Alexander the edge in a head-to-head matchup with the leading Democratic candidate, Bob Clement. The poll results come just as Alexander released new TV ads featuring his plaid shirt, made famous in two campaigns for the White House.

  • A poll of Tennessee voters also asked whether native son Al Gore should make another run for president. The results: 47 percent said they were against another Gore campaign; 38 percent said they were in favor; and 15 percent said they were not sure.


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