LEWIS TO RETIRE - Novak; LEWIS AIDES SAY NO DECISION HAS BEEN MADE
Let's Convince the Congressman It's Time to Go
Last week, conservative columnist Robert Novak reported that sixteen-term Republican Congressman Jerry Lewis is likely to retire at the end of the current term. In recent years, Lewis has been no stranger to controversy and has been one of the most ethically-challenged members of the GOP caucus. What is it with GOP members of the House Appropriations Committee (Lewis is currently the ranking member)? It seems you can't let them too close to the taxpayers' money, as they apparently can't control themselves. Before you know it, they're pigging out on pork. For a thorough and very lengthy listing of Lewis' questionable ethics, CREW has gathered this information (pdf).
In an April strategy memo, DCCC Chair Chris van Hollen (D-MD) listed Lewis as one of three CA GOP incumbents the committee would be targeting in the 2008 cycle. The DCCC might want to add newly-appointed Appropriations Committee member Ken Calvert (CA-44) to their list of California targets.
Staff and advisers to the San Bernadino Congressman denied the veracity of Novak's reporting- saying Lewis had not made any decisions regarding his future.
This is a GOP-leaning district, to be sure (Cook PVI = R+9) and will be a tough challenge, but CQ Politics believes the ethical questions bring this seat into play, and presents a "Pombo-like" opportunity for a Democratic steal. Currently, there is one declared candidate, lawyer Tim Prince. CQ's analysis of Prince (and Democratic Party) chances in 2008 concludes with:
"Prince described the district as “a bit of a challenge under ordinary circumstances,” but argues that these circumstances are not ordinary. “The news of Mr. Lewis’ ethical quandaries has caused Democrats to become quite serious about the seat,” Prince said.
-- snip --
But Prince or any other Democrat would have to really wow campaign donors to be able to compete financially with Lewis, whose fundraising clout is abetted by his senior position on Appropriations. Lewis, according to his most recent FEC report, began April with $937,000 on hand — after spending nearly $2 million during the 2005-06 campaign cycle, $520,000 of that total in donations aimed at assisting other Republican candidates, according to CQ’s Political MoneyLine"
Let's continue "draining the swamp" by evicting Lewis from the House. Now is the time to help convince Lewis to leave - by investing in our currently declared candidate (Prince) and making sure we have a strong candidate to run in November 2008.
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Race Tracker Wiki: CA-41
Cross-posted at Enduring Democratic Majority