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The Week Ahead in Politics

By Robert Yoon, Tory Flowers, and John Mercurio

(CNN) -- Welcome to the Week Ahead, the CNN Political Unit's weekly look at the key developments you can expect on the political horizon. With sources across the country, we'll bring you the latest scoop on all the big political stories: the battle for Congress, the race for the White House in 2004 and much more.

The Week Ahead in Politics looks a lot like the dinner rush at an Old Country buffet: We've got healthy portions of potatoes in the Maine Senate race, buckets of fried chicken in the Georgia Senate race and the two candidates for Maryland governor engaged in a good old-fashioned seafood fight there and in Hyannisport, Massachusetts.

Why the food frenzy? Maybe because politicians nationwide have built up quite an appetite after the week they've had. Democrats spent the week hammering away at their issue du jour: corporate responsibility. With any luck, Democrats may ride the anti-corporate wave back to control of Congress and maybe win as many as 40 House seats, depending on who you ask and when.

Meanwhile, Republicans cloistered themselves away in sunny San Francisco, hitting the Democrats back as political opportunists. GOP Chairman Marc Racicot even brought his grandmother into the fray: "It seems to me that Democrats are so eager to win at virtually any cost that they aren't really interested in helping the economy grow .... As my grandmother used to say, shame on them!"

Back in Congress, the House pushes ahead on homeland security, while the Senate tackles both prescription drugs and corporate responsibility. Then it's a mad dash to the airport, as members sprint home for an entire month of blissful, uninterrupted campaigning.

Remember, it's only July.

Saturday, July 20

  • Former Vice President Al Gore plans to attend the Firestone 200, an Indy Racing League event, with a boyhood friend Steve Armistead from Carthage, Tennessee. "There were two things people point to for Gore losing Tennessee -- his position on guns and that he never visited any speedways," a Gore aide says. Gore also will campaign for state Sen. Lincoln Davis, a well-funded House candidate, earlier the same day in the Nashville area. Davis faces primary opposition, but Gore aides defend that the former veep agreed to support him before his opposition got into the primary.
  • House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Missouri, will keynote the Florida Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Fort Lauderdale. Gephardt is expected to talk about Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and winning House seats in Florida. All Florida candidates will attend, and Democratic consultant-turned-CNN "Crossfire" host James Carville will be master of ceremonies.
  • In New Hampshire, Republican Sen. Bob Smith gives the keynote address at the "Good Ole Boys" operation in Woodsville. He'll also eat barbecue with his GOP primary opponent, Rep. John Sununu at the Coos Republican Summer County Picnic. Sunday, the two candidates will meet again at the 250th anniversary of the town of Dublin and will both march in a parade. The Smith campaign says the senator has lost 15 pounds since he started campaigning. Their Democratic opponent, Gov. Jeanne Shaheen, will focus on energy this upcoming week with events on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • New York Gov. George Pataki and his daughter Emily will spend the day in the Finger Lakes region upstate. The two have a packed schedule, with events in Steuben County, Watkins Glen, Angelica and Hemlock. On Sunday, look for them in Buffalo, Cheektowaga and Endicott. The Pataki campaign is slowly putting Emily out there -- she'll do events with her father, the state's GOP incumbent, but look for her in the future to be on the campaign trail alone. The recent Yale grad is leading the campaign's grassroots organization. She's already made an ad for her dad's campaign. Can you say Karenna Gore?
  • The National Council of La Raza opens its annual convention in Miami. House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, D-Missouri, gives the keynote address on July 22. The event, considered by many to be the premiere Latino event of the year, will be held July 20-24 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami Beach. Over 2,000 persons are expected to attend the keynote luncheon Monday.
  • The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition holds its annual conference in Chicago. Former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to give the keynote address.
  • Look who's talking: While Missouri Democratic Sen. Jean Carnahan is talking about nursing shortages, her Republican opponent, Rep. Jim Talent, will be talking about agricultural issues. But what everyone else is talking about is the latest ad from the Missouri Democrats, which shows Carnahan talking to someone whose back is to the camera -- someone whose head looks a lot like Carnahan's GOP colleague, Missouri Sen. Kit Bond. Republicans have cried foul and said that's not our senator. Democrats say it could be anyone -- "Mr. Burns from "The Simpsons," for instance. To support this claim, the state Democratic Party sent CNN a press release listing several others who easily could have been the mystery man: CNN's own Lou Dobbs, Wolf Blitzer, Bob Franken and Al Hunt. A Talent campaign aide said, "I was really disappointed that Wolf Blitzer participated, it's a departure from CNN policy having a famous broadcaster participate in political commercials."
  • Sen. John Edwards will address the American Trial Lawyers Association's annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The meeting runs Saturday and Sunday.
  • Rep. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, will have a meet-and-greet at a Zaxby's fast-food chicken restaurant in Columbus. Political chicken enthusiasts may recall that state Rep. Bob Irvin, who is running against Chambliss for the GOP nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Max Cleland, employed an aide dressed in a chicken suit last month to call Chambliss "chicken" for not debating him. Sources tell CNN that the Irvin chicken will not be on the menu.
  • This spud's for you: The tater tots and french fries will abound as Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and her Democratic challenger Chellie Pingree both attend the closing weekend of the 55th Annual Maine Potato Blossom Festival in Aroostook County. Billed as "a celebration of potatoes," the event will include a potato parade, and more important, mashed potato wrestling. Neither Collins nor Pingree have any plans to wrestle in the popular side dish. Collins, who hails from nearby Caribou, was a potato picker in her youth, according to her campaign.
  • (Sea)Food Fight: Fresh from their near-debate at Baltimore's NAACP candidate forum, Maryland gubernatorial hopefuls Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Robert Ehrlich take the battle to the high seas by holding rival seafood fund-raisers. Townsend, the current Democratic lieutenant governor, heads to the Kennedy family stomping grounds of Hyannisport, Massachusetts, for an "Old-Fashioned Clambake Supper." Meanwhile, Ehrlich, a four-term Republican congressman, will host an "Old-Fashioned Maryland Crab Feast" in Arbutus. Tickets for the Townsend event are $2,000; Ehrlich's event is $20 per person.
  • A milestone in Colorado: Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colorado, holds his 599th and 600th town meetings since being elected to Congress in 1990. The campaign says that Allard has kept his pledge to hold a town meeting in each of Colorado's counties each year.
  • Sunday, July 21

  • Al Gore holds a get-out-the-vote rally for the upcoming August 1 primary in Tennessee. "He's mending fences," says spokesman Jano Cabrera. "That's the impression that he's looking to create." The rally will feature local entertainment and will be held at the Overton Park Shell in Memphis. Rep. Bob Clement, a Democratic candidate for the Tennessee Senate seat that Republican Sen. Fred Thompson is giving up, will also be there.
  • Lamar!: Lamar Alexander, the former Tennessee governor, education secretary and GOP presidential hopeful, is having an ice cream social with country music legend Hank Williams Jr. today at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris. Alexander is seeking the GOP nomination to replace Sen. Fred Thompson. Meanwhile, his opponent has lined up his own star for a 60-second radio spot: NASCAR great Darrell Waltrip, known to racing fans as "D.W." Waltrip urges Tennesseeans to "Help me put Ed Bryant in the winner's circle on August 1." The commercial began airing Friday, July 19 in the Nashville and Tri-Cities media markets.
  • The Baltimore County Physicians' PAC holds an ice cream social for Rep. Bob Ehrlich, R-Maryland, who's running for governor against Democratic Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. The event will be held at the Family YMCA Pavillion in Towson.
  • Iowa Rep. Greg Ganske logs 54 miles on a bike -- and we're not talking Harley, we're talking Schwinn. Ganske, a Republican, will join with his daughters to form "Team Ganske" in the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa -- which organizers say is the longest, largest and oldest bicycle tour in the world. The race goes on for two days, but Ganske will be with them on Sunday from Sioux Center to Cherokee. A Ganske aide said this is part of the ongoing effort to get rid of the "Two Toms" in Iowa -- Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin and Gov. Tom Vilsack.
  • Former attorney general-turned-Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Janet Reno turns 64.
  • Monday, July 22

  • AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minnesota, will kick off Labor 2002, the union's drive to elect "worker-friendly" candidates. The event starts at noon at Machinists Lodge 77 in St. Paul. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roger Moe also plans to attend.
  • Reno files: Janet Reno heads to Tallahassee to file her paperwork to formally become a Democratic candidate for the governorship of Florida. She'll pay and file the documents herself, accompanied by members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
  • Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Florida, is on a trade mission until Thursday, July 27.
  • Together again? New York gubernatorial hopefuls Andrew Cuomo and Carl McCall will come together for one night of rallying Democratic Party faithful. We emphasize the "one" part, because this race has been typical New York politics -- nothing but brutal. But Democrats are determined to bring the party together after their September 10 primary. Forget the fact that Republican incumbent George Pataki has over $20 million cash on hand and the two Democrats don't have half of that with their money combined. The event is at the ritzy New York City's Central Park restaurant Tavern on the Green: Tickets range from $500 - $2500.
  • Time to make the donuts: Massachusetts Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitt Romney wakes up early and starts one of his "work days" at Dunkin' Donuts in downtown Boston.
  • Democrats are looking at the city of Detroit for their convention in 2004. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will be showing off the city. As other cities have done in the past, they too will have committees on transportation, security and communications ready to answer questions from the site selection committee. Former DNC Chair Joe Andrew and Executive Director of the California NAACP Alice Huffman lead the site selection committee. Republicans decided this past week that they will visit New Orleans (our favorite), New York and Tampa, potential convention hosts for 2004, the week of August 5. Still in contention for the GOP: Boston and Miami.
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, comes in to help former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell's campaign for governor today. The two will campaign with Lieberman's wife, Hadassah, at a Philadelphia senior center in the morning. Afterwards, Lieberman will raise some bucks for Rendell's war chest at a lunchtime fund-raiser. The Gore-Lieberman ticket won Pennsylvania by over 200,000 votes in 2000, when Rendell was the Democratic chairman.
  • In Michigan, Democratic governor hopefuls Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, ex-Gov. James Blanchard and Rep. David Bonior all have agreed to debate tonight in the Upper Peninsula. The debate will be broadcast live.
  • California emissions: Gov. Gray Davis, D-California, signs a bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on all new cars and trucks in California. Events are planned in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • Kerry in New Hampshire: Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, heads to New Hampshire and stumps for two Democratic women running for Congress. He attends a veterans event with Martha Fuller Clark in Manchester, in New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District, and later heads to a prescription drug event with Katrina Swett in Nashua, in the 2nd District.
  • Dean in California: Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vermont, heads to San Francisco to raise money for a presidential campaign.
  • Bassmaster Siegelman: Gov. Don Siegelman, D-Alabama, addresses and hands out awards at ESPN's Bassmasters, a fishing tournament in Birmingham.
  • Rep. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, attends an appreciation ceremony for the Snapper lawnmower company in McDonough, Georgia.
  • Colorado Senate hopeful Tom Strickland talks renewable energy at the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins. Later, the Democratic contender nabs the endorsement of the Colorado Professional Firefighters Association in Greeley.
  • Tuesday, July 23

  • Six Arkansas governors: Six former Arkansas governors will join Gov. Mike Huckabee at a fund-raiser for the renovation of the Arkansas governor's mansion. Governors Sid McMath (he's 90 years old and the first governor to live in the mansion in 1950), Dale Bumpers, David Pryor, Bill Clinton, Frank White, Jim Guy Tucker will all attend the event at the State House Convention Center in Little Rock at 7 p.m. According to Skip Rutherford, who is on the renovation committee, they are expecting between 1,200 and 1,500 people. Tickets for the event are $125 a piece and they are expecting to surpass their goal of $250,000. All seven governors will speak.
  • Democratic Summer Academy, aka Al Gore's Campaign School, kicks off today. Gore will make opening remarks at 3 p.m. Gore held a similar training seminar last year with Republican Lamar Alexander. The seminar is designed to teach young people the skills necessary to work and serve on political campaigns. Donna Brazile and Carter Eskew will show. Gore's camp is quick to point out that Gore's the only 2004 candidate to hold one of these seminars for young politicos. He'll be back on Saturday, July 27 to make concluding remarks. The event is held at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennesee.
  • Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) addresses the state AFL-CIO convention in San Francisco.
  • Cornyn on defense: U.S. Senate hopeful John Cornyn (R-Texas) kicks off a week of events on defense issues with visits to Fort Worth and Waco. He will hold events on the issue every day this week.
  • NCSL Conference: The National Conference of State Legislatures annual meeting in Denver, Colorado. Through July 27.
  • Hawaii's candidate filing deadline
  • Washington's candidate filing deadline
  • Wednesday, July 24

  • Gore in Tennessee: Al Gore will help the Tennessee Democrats raise funds for Democrat Rep. Bob Gore will attend an event as special guest hosted by Tennessee Congressional Delegates for Bob Clement's Senatorial campaign in Tennessee.
  • Kerry and the freshmen: Sen. John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) addresses Democratic House freshmen at their monthly breakfast meeting. Kerry will give a basic stump speech on the direction of the party. He will be introduced by Rep. Steve Lynch (D-Massachusetts), who won last year's special election to replace the late Rep. Joe Moakley.
  • Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) heads to South Carolina to hold a fund-raiser for his presidential campaign.
  • Women for Dole luncheon: "Come join Elizabeth Dole as she speaks on the issues that are important to the women of North Carolina." Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 pm; Location: Marriott City Center; 100 West Trade Street, Charlotte, North Carolina. (35 - Attend; $100 - Sponsor; $200 - Host (Those who contribute $200 or more may attend a private reception with Dole prior to the luncheon)
  • Parenting, Alabama-style: Gov. Don Siegelman (D-Alabama) unveils a new video on parenting produced by the state Health Department. The video will be given to new parents.
  • Rep. Bob Ehrlich (R-Maryland) holds a Washington fund-raiser. Tickets are $2,000 per PAC.
  • Thursday, July 25

  • Gore and the Rocky Mountains: Al Gore has a packed schedule in Denver, Colorado -- he attends the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee's annual luncheon, a reception for the Colorado Coordinated Campaign, a thank-you dinner hosted by Norm Brownstein.
  • Beach blanket Boehner: Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) hosts the 11th Annual John Boehner Beach Party, a fund-raiser for his House campaign. Despite the name, the event takes place on Capitol Hill.
  • Pingree in the land of Lincoln: U.S. Senate hopeful Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), spends the day in Lincoln County, Maine, for a pair of fund-raisers and visits with local merchants and shipyard workers.
  • Ehrlich fund-raiser: Rep. Robert Ehrlich (R-Maryland) holds a fund-raiser at the Potomac, Maryland, home of a supporter. The invitation-only event is $1,000 per person.
  • Friday, July 26

  • National Association of Secretaries of States annual meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, through July 30.
  • Maybe they'll add him to the Christmas card photo: In what has become a new Gore family tradition, former Democrat Vice President Al Gore will head to Colorado to stump for U.S. Senate hopeful Tom Strickland (D). Gore will be at the Denver Athletic Club to raise cash for a number of Colorado candidates, including Strickland, who has a rematch against Sen. Wayne Allard (R). Earlier this week, Karenna Gore Schiff headlined a low-donor "Strickland Unplugged" fund-raiser in Denver. Tipper Gore started the family trend back in February when she marqueed a $50-a-head "Women for Strickland." No word on when Gore grandchild Wyatt Gore Schiff, age 3, will hit the Colorado campaign trail.
  • Sax and the city: Rep. Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) is in Macon, Georgia, for the second in a series of fund-raisers targeted to young Republicans. The first "Sax and the city" fund-raiser was in Atlanta. At a separate event, he will address the Police Benevolent Association of Georgia statewide dinner.
  • Georgia on Dean's mind: Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) is in Georgia for fund-raisers for his presidential campaign.
  • National Association of Secretaries of States annual meeting continues in Providence, Rhode Island, through July 30.
  • Delaware candidate filing deadline
  • Louisiana candidate filing deadline
  • CNN's Bert Kaufman contributed to this report.




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