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Hot races in steamy South

By John Mercurio, Dana Bash and Robert Yoon
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Welcome to This Week in Politics, the CNN Political Unit's weekly look at the key developments you can expect on the political horizon. With the help of 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.

President Bush isn't the only one sleeping late these days. And, judging from the lazy pace of politics this week, he's not the only one getting to bed early. Al Gore penned a lengthy op-ed in The New York Times and met with top labor leaders just a few short weeks ago. This week, he's on vacation and won't even tell his spokesman where he and Tipper are going.

Undaunted, some persistent politicians press on. In fact, you can pretty much find the most dedicated candidates by perusing their calendars during the slowest days of the 2002 campaign season.

Take Howard Dean for example. Doesn't this man have a state to govern? The Vermonter was to spend Saturday at home before he leaves Sunday for events in neighboring New Hampshire. He then jets off, yet again, to the Left Coast, where he'll attend fund-raisers for California Gov. Gray Davis and his presidential exploratory committee. He's back in New Hampshire on Wednesday for a rotary club dinner, heads home to Vermont for his weekly press conference on Thursday, then leaves again Friday to spend the balance of the week in Oklahoma and Quebec City.

Unfortunately for Dean, however, most political ink and air will likely be spent this week on Tuesday's primaries in Georgia, where you can't shake a stick without hittin' a hot race. (Our apologies for any gratuitous southern slang).

The House race we're most sorry to see end is going down in suburban Atlanta, an incumbent vs. incumbent GOP primary between Bob Barr and John Linder. The two men couldn't be more similar ideologically and more different personally. And the race has been ugly. For two men who claim to worship Ronald Reagan, they sure are flouting the former president's 11th commandment: Thou Shalt Not Speak Ill of Another Republican. Polls are tight. Watch turnout reports.

In a nearby majority-minority district, Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney is fighting off a tough challenge from former judge Denise Majette. Majette, aided by pro-Israeli groups angry with McKinney's pro-Islamic stands, has out-raised McKinney and leads in at least one credible poll. Majette also has drawn support from Democratic Sen. and former Gov. Zell Miller. But in a district with a large population of African-Americans and liberal voters, it's unclear how much Miller's support has helped Majette's cause.

Bush will leave Crawford compound at least once this week -- to headline fund-raising events in Oregon, California and New Mexico. Bush will stump Thursday for Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith and he'll spend Friday and Saturday in California trying to prop up Bill Simon's ailing gubernatorial bid. Bush will be in New Mexico for gubernatorial candidate John Sanchez and House nominee Steve Pearce.

Bush, incidentally, has visited 36 states in 2002, a tour that included 23 fund-raising trips that netted some $106 million for an array of Republican candidates.

The following is a comprehensive look at the week ahead in politics. Enjoy.

August 17

  • Edwards in Iowa. Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, has yet another packed schedule in Iowa. First, he'll stand in again for Sen. Tom Harkin at a Harkin re-election campaign at an event in Iowa City. From there, Edwards drives to Johnston, Iowa, where he'll visit the Iowa Technology Center at "Camp Dodge." He'll also meet up with Democratic congressman Leonard Boswell and tour his new House district. Later that day, he'll head to state Sen. Bill Fink's farm outside Des Moines for a fund-raiser. While in Des Moines, he'll stop by the Iowa State Fair and work the crowd with state Rep. David Schrader. Edwards and his New American Optimists PAC is one of the sponsors of Schrader's race car, which he owns and drives in competitions. Finally, he'll end the day at a reception hosted by the Iowa Cubs, a minor league feeder to for the Chicago Cubs. The event at Tumeas, an Italian restaurant in Des Moines is fund-raiser for a local state legislator.
  • Gore-dom. The former veep is still cooling his heels at an "undisclosed location." Gore's vacation spot is so secret even his press secretary says he doesn't know where he's going.
  • Gopher-It. Minnesota's Senate candidates, Sen. Paul Wellstone and former St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman, work the outdoorsmen vote at the Anoka Game Fair where they'll participate in a "roundtable" on KFAN sports radio to talk about hunting, forestry and conservation.
  • Elizabeth Dole, R-North Carolina, hosts two low-dollar barbecue fund-raisers for her Senate bid. The first event is a lunch in Caldwell County; the second is a dinner in Catawba. At least 200 supporters are expected at each event, at $10 per person.
  • Texas Senate nominee Ron Kirk, Democrat, will roast American Airlines CEO Don Carty in Dallas. The event is a fund-raiser for the Dallas Press Club. No official word on what Kirk will say, but both parties agree that Kirk's barbs, while funny, can sting.
  • Montana Sen. Max Baucus is doing his part to help the Democrats keep control of the Senate by sponsoring an ice cream social at the Crow Indian Reservation's Crow Fair, the largest American Indian event in the state. Baucus is favored to win a fifth term over Republican Mike Taylor.
  • Just days away from an expected victory in a Senate primary, Rep. Saxby Chambliss, Republican, finishes up a three-day bus tour and campaigns at the University of Georgia in Athens.
  • Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Republican, and his wife, Columba, will travel to Key West-based Monroe County. The governor and his wife will ride in an old town trolley, visit a local business and attend the Monroe County Republican Party grassroots meet-and-greet in Key West. (This is the kind of boring campaign event you can afford to hold when you're running 16 points ahead in the latest independent poll.)
  • Gov. Parris Glendening, Maryland's term-limited Democratic chief executive, addresses the Maryland Association of Counties conference in Ocean City, Maryland. Among those eagerly listening to his remarks are the two people vying to replace him: Democratic Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and GOP Rep. Robert Ehrlich. After the speech, both candidates will return to the campaign trail. Townsend heads to Baltimore for the "Stone Soul Picnic," a soul music festival sponsored by a local radio station. She ends the day in at the Montgomery County Fair in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Montgomery County, the state's most populous and wealthiest locality, will be a key battleground in the campaign. Ehrlich stops by the International Association of Police Officers Picnic at White Horse Park in Ocean City.
  • Mount Rushmore turns 70. Interior Secretary Gale Norton and Rep. John Thune, the GOP Senate nominee in South Dakota, will be on hand to celebrate the state's most recognizable attraction (other than Tom Daschle, of course).
  • Louis Farrakhan, the controversial Nation of Islam leader has scheduled an evening rally in DeKalb County to urge support for Rep. Cynthia McKinney, the second African-American targeted by pro-Israeli groups to face a serious primary challenge in the post-September 11 era. According to the online version of Final Call, the Nation of Islam's newspaper, Farrakhan told McKinney in July that he would "fight like hell" for her. McKinney, however, is distancing herself from the minister. Just a day before the scheduled event, a McKinney spokesman said the congresswoman did not plan to attend and noted that Farrakhan was holding the event outside the district.
  • Gearing up for his primary showdown Tuesday with Rep. John Linder, Rep. Bob Barr's campaign offices will stay open around-the-clock as they gear up for the campaign's final 100 hours. Barr's latest jab at Linder accuses him of using out-of-state phone banks for get-out-the-vote calls. Though it's clear Rep. John Linder's campaign "has a similar phone bank operation, it is not known where they are calling from" in the 7th congressional district, "sparking rumors among many that Linder is using an out-of-state calling firm to make campaign pitches" to local voters.
  • Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, travels to California to raise money for GOP House nominee Devin Nunes, a twenty-something farmer and former Bush administration official whose bid for a first term seems like smooth sailing. Hastert also is hosting a luncheon reception with state Sen. Dick Monteith, who's running in a nearby district to succeed vanquished Rep. Gary Condit, Democrat.
  • August 18

  • Behind the Wheel. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Democrat, gets out onto the open South Dakota road for three days of "unscheduled driving." His driving tours are a signature for "Tom" as South Dakotans like to call him. He likes to hit all 66 counties in the state each year. No longer is driving his 1971 Pontiac Ventura -- that car's been retired to the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, South Dakota. Now the senior senator tools around in a rent-a-car.
  • Edwards in Iowa. Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, concludes his Iowa odyssey by attending an Iowa Cubs game at Taylor Stadium in Des Moines.
  • Lieberman, Dean in New Hampshire. Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, attends the Hillsborough County Democratic Picnic in Manchester and a Greek-Orthodox festival and a Jewish Federation brunch in Manchester. He's also attending a Democratic picnic in Hampton Falls. Lieberman is also attending a fund-raising event for the state House Democratic caucus. Meanwhile, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, Democrat, pays another visit to neighboring New Hampshire, this time to address the New Hampshire Democratic Network in Concord. He will also attend a closed fund-raiser for a local Democrat running for county attorney.
  • Kerry and McCarthy. Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, headlines a Hamptons fund-raiser for Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-New York.
  • Empire State Debate. Democratic rivals for New York governor, state Comptroller Carl McCall and former Housing and Urban Development secretary Andrew Cuomo, take their street fight inside as they face off in their first televised debate. The WCBS-sponsored debate, which airs live at 11 a.m. today, will be hosted by reporter Marcia Kramer and broadcast by CBS statewide.
  • Maryland's GOP gubernatorial nominee Robert Ehrlich attends a German festival at Carroll Park in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, continues his California campaign swing, stumping for Beth Rogers, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Lois Capps. Hastert also plans to drop in on House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas, Republican.
  • August 19

  • Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, continues his fund-raising scramble in Maine. Lieberman travels to Maine to headline two fund-raising events (breakfast in Falmouth and lunch in Camden) for Senate nominee Chellie Pingree. He's also holding a small business event with Pingree in Portland, where he'll visit a veterans' home with gubernatorial nominee John Baldacci. Lieberman and Baldacci will then hold a fund-raising reception with Baldacci in Portland.
  • Rep. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, meets with Rep. Jack Kingston and campaign supporters in Moultrie. Kingston, along with all seven other House Republicans, have endorsed Chambliss over his primary foe, state Rep. Bob Irvin. Chambliss will hold a barbecue that night in Moultrie.
  • Tennessee Republicans Unite? Lamar Alexander will attend the Hamilton County (Chattanooga) Unity Lunch with Reps. Van Hilleary and Zach Wamp at noon. Notably absent from the event will be Rep. Ed Bryant, who lost a bitter GOP Senate primary to Alexander earlier this month. Bryant is "pretty sure" he'll attend a separate, low-profile meeting with Alexander that afternoon at Alexander's campaign headquarters in Memphis.
  • Marshall Mainstreet Marathon. Democrat Elaine Marshall, an underdog candidate in the North Carolina Senate primary, is launching a statewide tour across the Tar Heel to contrast herself with front-runner Erskine Bowles. Marshall faces long odds to defeat Bowles. "But she can win if she can label Bowles the candidate of Wall Street while she's the candidate of Main Street," a Marshall aide said. The North Carolina primary is September 10. Former state House Speaker Dan Blue, an African-American, is also running. The winner is likely to face former Red Cross president and 2000 White House candidate Elizabeth Dole.
  • Senate candidate Suzanne Haik Terrell holds a "rally by the river" along the great Mississippi in New Orleans. Terrell, the Louisiana elections commissioner, is holding a series of small events like this to boost excitement within the Democratic bastion that she and Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu share -- a base from which she must draw heavily if she hopes to oust Landrieu. While Karl Rove and Senate Republicans haven't formally endorsed her, Terrell is clearly viewed as the favorite candidate in this newly interesting race. As a show of strength, she held a fund-raiser last month headlined by Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, NRSC Chairman Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, and Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-Louisiana. The move apparently worked; she leads her GOP rivals in the money race.
  • Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, holds his 11th "Baucus Burger Bonanza," this one in Miles City, Montana. The burger events, which have averaged 250 per bonanza, are designed to reach out to undecided voters, not necessarily to hard-core Democrats. "These are persuadable, independent voters," says a Baucus aide. Baucus recently unveiled his campaign's new theme song, "Hard Working Man" by country music duo Brooks and Dunn. Brooks and Dunn, you may recall, performed at the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.
  • While Max Baucus flips burgers in Miles City, Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist heads to Missoula, Great Falls and Billings to raise money for Montana's GOP Senate Mike Taylor. Frist, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee and is the only physician in the Senate, will also attend meetings and discuss health care issues. Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, who hopes Taylor can help him win back the majority leader's job, will stump for the GOP nominee in mid-September.
  • Pataki and the Dems. It's all very hush-hush, but GOP Gov. George Pataki kicks off a week of crossover endorsements. Who will the Democrats be? Stay tuned...
  • California Gov. Gray Davis, Democrat, who just released another round of ads slamming his GOP opponent Bill Simon for his family business dealings, will hold a fund-raiser in Beverly Hills for his re-election bid.
  • Petition on Wheels. Minnesota's Independent candidate for governor, former Democratic congressman, Tim Penny, rolls through the Minneapolis suburbs in his "Common Sense Express." It's no Straight Talk Express, but it does have a gimmick. Supporters can actually put their John Hancock on a "Petition For Common Sense" posted on the outside of the bus. Minnesotans who sign on will be endorsing "Partnership not Partisanship," "Public Interest not Special Interest," and "Substance not Soundbites." Anyone got a pen?
  • Speaker Dennis Hastert delivers a major speech on high-tech issues, then headlines a fund-raising luncheon for Tim Escobar, who's running against attorney Linda Sanchez, the sister of Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez. Later, he attends a dinner for Republican attorney Stuart Johnson, who's running against Rep. Jane Harman, Democrat.
  • House Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost, D-Texas, will spend two days in the Midwest stumping for Rep. Julia Carson and ex-Rep. Jill Long Thompson. Frost will campaign today with Carson, the state's only African-American member and the only woman, and will attend a seniors' forum at the North United Methodist Church in downtown Indianapolis focusing on prescription drug costs and their support for a Medicare prescription benefit. Frost also plans to join Carson on a live local television program and will headline a Carson fund-raiser.
  • Congressman Bob Ney, R-Ohio, holds his annual "Bob Ney Open Golf Outing" in Nashport, Ohio.
  • Bill Clinton turns 56. Tipper Gore turns 54.
  • August 20

    * Georgia on Our Minds. We'll be watching several key primaries in the Peach State today, including a spitball fight between two GOP incumbents, Bob Barr and John Linder, and a Democratic battle between Rep. Cynthia McKinney and her challenger, former judge Denise Majette. The Linder-Barr race is very tight, so watch for turnout reports (low is good for Barr; high is good for Linder). Analysts are predicting that McKinney, stung by a series of stumbles and weak fund-raising, will become the second African-American House member targeted by pro-Israeli groups to lose their seat in the first post-September 11 election cycle. Also, Rep. Saxby Chambliss should prevail over conservative state Rep. Bob Irvin in the GOP race to challenge Sen. Max Cleland, Democrat, and former state Sen. Sonny Perdue is favored in the Republican race to challenge Gov. Roy Barnes, Democrat. Former Cobb County GOP Chairman Bill Byrne and state school superintendent Linda Schrenko are also running for their party's gubernatorial nod. And lest we forget, cattleman Robert Brown Jr., Republican, is also running for Senate. Regardless of who wins any of those statewide primaries, Cleland and Barnes are favored (Barnes more than Cleland) this fall.

    * Oh yeah. The, um, Wyoming primary is also today.

    * The three Republican Senate candidates in Louisiana -- state elections commissioner Suzanne Haik Terrell, Rep. John Cookey and state Rep. Tony Perkins -- will address a GOP women's group in New Iberia. No major fireworks expected as the format doesn't allow for in-your-face discussions.

    * Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the GOP Senate nominee John Cornyn are teaming up on a two-day bus tour that will take them through Dallas and Houston. The Republicans are going to be talking about health care and education. They're going to be attacking their Democratic rivals for failing to release tax returns. Perry has released 10 years of returns, Cornyn eight. Democrat Tony Sanchez, who is challenging Perry, has only released summaries, while Senate nominee Ron Kirk has refused to release any tax information.

    * DGA Summer Conference. The Democratic Governors Association holds its summer conference in San Francisco. Among the gubernatorial attendees: DGA Vice Chair Gary Locke of Washington; host state governor Gray Davis; Tom Vilsack of Iowa; Bob Holden of Missouri, Howard Dean of Vermont, and Mark Warner of Virginia. While in San Francisco, Dean, of course, will also meet with activists and hold a fund-raiser for his presidential bid.

    House Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost, D-Texas, will attend a fund-raising breakfast in Chicago with ex-Rep. Jill Long Thompson, a Democrat who's running against GOP attorney Chris Chocola in Indiana.

    Embattled Rep. Connie Morella, R-Maryland, holds a fund-raiser with second lady Lynne Cheney.

    *Delay on Iraq. House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, is in Houston to deliver what his office describes as a "major policy address" concerning U.S. policy toward Iraq. His office says he will encourage the White House to take a more "aggressive" approach toward Iraq. The event, sponsored by the Houston Forum, will take place at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

    August 21

  • Out to Africa. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, begins a two-week Codel to Africa. (It's not a junket...this is a fact-finding mission!) with stops in South Africa, Kenya, Botswana and Nigeria. Daschle will take along three of his colleagues: Senate Majority Whip Harry Reid, D-Nevada; Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-New Mexico, and Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colorado. Perhaps now that the Dems have Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vermont, they're no longer bitter about Campbell bolting their party in 1997?
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, holds a press conference in Danbury, Connecticut, with religious groups to highlight his support for the bill that would encourage charitable giving and remove barriers to religious groups offering social services.
  • Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vermont, makes his second trip to New Hampshire this week, this time to give his standard stump speech to the North Conway Rotary Club.
  • Granite State Debate - Sort Of. GOP gubernatorial candidates Sen. Bob Smith, R-New Hampshire, and challenger Rep. John Sununu, will appear at a "forum" sponsored by the New Hampshire Chamber of Commerce. Candidates will likely be able to query one another after being questioned by journalists and other audience members. Camp Smith says it's only the second time the rivals will have a chance to engage.
  • Landrieu, Take Tieu. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat, travels to Baton Rouge to officially kick off a re-election bid that could be a tad dicey. Republicans have succeeded in drawing enough credible candidates into the race (Rep. John Cooksey, state Rep. Tony Perkins and Suzanne Haik Terrell) that they could force Landrieu into a post-November 5 runoff. The Republican could benefit from the low voter turnout in that runoff, or so the theory goes. Sen. John Breaux won't be at the Landrieu event, but Breaux, a staunch Landrieu ally, has cut a videospeech that aides will play during her event. Also not attending is ex-Rep. Cleo Fields, an African-American who has had tense relations with Landrieu since she refused to endorse him in the 1995 gubernatorial race. But state Rep. Arthur Morrell, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus will be a co-emcee and an honorary co-chair of Landrieu's committee.
  • One day after he learns who his opponent will be, Sen. Max Cleland, D-Georgia, formally kicks off a two-day, six-city campaign, starting in Atlanta.
  • Assuming he wins the GOP Senate nod, Georgia Rep. Saxby Chambliss begins a statewide media flyaround that continues through the weekend, hitting eight cities in seven different media markets. How confident is the Chambliss campaign that they'll win Tuesday? "Let's just say the plane is already booked for the flyaround," a spokeswoman said.
  • On the Road Again. Massachusetts Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert Reich gets back on his bus, "The Reform Express" to hit Taunton, Brockton and Sharon. Then, as he does once a week, the former Labor Sec holds a town hall in Milton.
  • Ag Talk At Penn State. A little known fact: Pennsylvania is the country's third largest agriculture state. With that in mind, the men who want to be governor, former Democratic Philly Mayor Ed Rendell and his GOP opponent Mike Fisher head up to State College to talk farm policy at Penn State's annual "agriculture progress day."
  • Everyone who's anyone in Alabama politics will be in Perdido Beach today for the Association of County Commissioners of Alabama. Gov. Don Siegelman and his GOP challenger, Rep. Bob Riley, and Sen. Jeff Sessions and his Democratic rival, state Auditor Susan Parker will attend.
  • Wisconsin gubernatorial candidates, Gov. Scott McCallum and Democrat Tom Barrett, debate.
  • A Hastert Trifecta. Speaker Dennis Hastert headlines a three-way fund-raiser, hauling in cash for California GOP Reps. Mary Bono and Ken Calvert as well as the National Republican Congressional Committee.
  • August 22

  • President Bush takes a break from the rigors of his Crawford, Texas, vacation and heads to attend official government events by day, and raise funds for Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith by night. Bush is the main draw at a $5,000 per person "Senatorial Roundtable," which will feature Smith and Rep. Greg Walden, the only other GOP member of the state's congressional delegation. (CNN checked with Walden's office -- he's still a U.S. representative, but apparently he has friends in high places). Later that night, Bush headlines a $1,000-a-head gala. A photo with the president will cost $25,000 per couple. Both events will be held at the Portland Hilton. Bush recently did a Midwestern fund-raising swing in Wisconsin and Iowa, and now has a 2002 fund-raising total of $106 million. He'll inch closer to the $110 million mark with today's Oregon events and events this weekend for California's Bill Simon. Smith, a Republican, is running for a second term against Democrat Bill Bradbury.
  • Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vermont, holds his weekly free-for-all press conference for local reporters.
  • Texas GOP Senate nominee John Cornyn will get an endorsement from the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a major group of Hispanic business leaders. Sonny Flores, a member of the executive committee and board of directors for the group of at least 1,000 businesses, touted Cornyn's support for tax cuts, tort reform, and oil exploration at ANWR and his opposition to an Internet sales tax. Still, Cornyn faces an uphill battle to win over Hispanic voters. His rival, Ron Kirk, an African-American, is likely to benefit from the gubernatorial candidacy of Tony Sanchez, a Hispanic.
  • Fair Game. The Minnesota State Fair starts today, and all the state's politicos and wannabes will be there with bells on. Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minnesota, and his GOP opponent Norm Coleman, former mayor of St. Paul, will make the rounds. So will gubernatorial candidates like Independent Tim Penny and Republican Tim Pawlenty.
  • I'll Take You Down to Chinatown. New York Democratic gubernatorial candidate Carl McCall strolls through the streets of Chinatown for a little retail politicking with the Big Apple's only Asian city councilman, John Liu.
  • Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, travels to Salt Lake City to stump for two GOP congressional candidates in Utah. Next, to New Mexico, where he headlines events for Rep. Heather Wilson and John Sanchez, the GOP gubernatorial nominee.
  • Black Farmers Rally. Hundreds of black farmers will hold a major rally this morning in Washington to call for a moratorium in minority farm foreclosures and a settlement to their long-running dispute with the USDA. The farmers will meet between Jefferson Drive between 12th and 14th Streets, NW (along the National Mall -- in view of the U.S. Capitol) and will speak at the corner of Jefferson and 14th Streets outside the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The rally occurs as the National Black Farmers Association (NBFA) --a 60,000-member organization -- holds its national meeting in Washington. Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, the longest serving African-American congressman, will attend as will NBFA President John Boyd and his mule, Struggle.
  • August 23

  • President Bush continues his West Coast campaign swing to help out Bill Simon's beleaguered gubernatorial bid in California. The president headlines a high-dollar fund-raising lunch in Stockton, California. Later that evening, Bush will attend a reception and dinner hosted by state GOP operative Gerry Parsky at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa in Dana Point, California (south of Los Angeles). Tickets for both events are $1,000 per person; reserving a table and getting a picture with the president will cost you anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000. The White House was a not-so-behind-the-scenes backer of former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan's GOP primary bid, but has since tried to rally behind Simon's bid. Simon has been dogged in recent weeks by financial controversy surrounding his family's non-profit foundation.
  • Democrat Ron Kirk and Republican John Cornyn will hold a televised forum at the Texas Association of Broadcasters in Austin.
  • Suzanne Haik Terrell, R-Louisiana, will formally file her Senate candidacy in Baton Rouge.
  • House Majority Leader Richard Armey, R-Texas, raises cash for oil executive Ramsey Farley, who's challenging Rep. Chet Edwards, Democrat, in the home district of President Bush.
  • Florida Republicans begin their two-day state executive committee meeting in Orlando.
  • Michigan Republicans hold a two-day convention in Detroit.
  • Vermont Gov. Howard Dean heads to Oklahoma for a family wedding.
  • August 24

  • Fresh from lunch and dinner events from Friday, President Bush completes his three-square meal fund-raising swing for California gubernatorial candidate Bill Simon with a breakfast fund-raiser in Los Angeles. The event, held at L.A.'s Regency Club, is $2500 per person; for $10,000 or $25,000, you can reserve a table and get a breakfast snapshot with the leader of the free world. Talk about a power breakfast. When it comes to political campaigns, cold cash, not cold cereal, is the true breakfast of champions. The president then heads to Las Cruces, New Mexico to attend a reception for GOP gubernatorial nominee John Sanchez and House nominee Steve Pearce.
  • Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, holds the largest event of his campaign at the Seiben Ranch Hoedown and Barbecue. Although the price is a relatively low $50 per person, a Baucus aide expects to raise "big Baucus bucks."
  • Beam Me Up! (Note to readers: This is not a Traficant story): TV's Captain Kirk is beaming into Cleveland to headline a fund-raiser for Democratic gubernatorial nominee Tim Hagan. The "Star Trek"-themed event will also feature the cast of "Star Trek: Voyager," including Hagan's wife, actress Kate Mulgrew (i.e. "Captain Janeway"). The event will also feature Hagan supporters and hard-core "Trekkers" disguised as Hagan supporters.
  • Michigan Democrats begin a two-day convention. The big event -- touting their gubernatorial nominee, state Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, who's running well ahead of her GOP rival, Dick Posthumus.
  • August 25

  • Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, headlines a fund-raiser for Rep. Eliot Engel in Westchester.
  • Governors from the New England states will head to the Great White North to meet with their Canadian counterparts for the 27th Annual Conference of the New England Governors and the Eastern Canadian Premiers, held in Quebec, Canada. Among those in attendance: Howard Dean, Vermont's Democratic governor and uber-traveller. This is Dean's second trip to Canada this month.




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