WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- News notes, political rumors, and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.
New Jersey gap -- Sources say that internal GOP polls show that Republican gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler has closed the gap with Democrat St. Sen. Jim McGreevey. Schundler, who started the race close to 20 points down, has cut McGreevey's lead to single digits. As the Republican's base of support outside of party regulars is highly motivated, there is ample opportunity for him to pass McGreevey in the closing days of the race. Which makes a report that one official high inside the Republican National Committee recently told several major party donors that the national party had done all they were going to do in the state all the more mysterious. Is it possible that the folks at 310 First Street have given up on the race just as it may be beginning to close?
Muzzles on? -- Democrat A. Donald McEachin, candidate for Virginia Attorney General, is going after the Law Enforcement Alliance of America for ads they are running attacking his record on law enforcement issues. Democrats, including McEachin, have threatened legal action to get television stations to stop running the commercial. They assert the ads -- which are admittedly noxious -- are illegal because the Alliance has not registered with the State Board of Elections as the Democrats charge they are required to do by state law. Virginia law requires political groups to register if they spend more than $200 to expressly advocate the election or defeat of a specific candidate, but the Alliance says their ad is informational, stating facts about McEachin's record that McEachin disputes, but as they do not advocate his defeat or the election of his Republican opponent, they are not required to register.
Straight to video? -- Hollywood's Harry and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, longtime supporters of Bill and Hillary Clinton, are reportedly hard at work on a film documenting the efforts of the so-called "vast right-wing conspiracy." The reportedly $2 million film will follow the book "The Hunting of the President," by fellow FOB's Gene Lyons and Joe Conason, well known for their editorial support of the former Arkansans. The Thomasons were frequent guests in the Clinton White House, with Harry having produced the presidential inaugural and Linda once having been photographed jumping on the bed in the Lincoln Bedroom alongside actress Markie Post.
Halt! -- As the battle over judicial nominations heats up, reports coming from Capitol Hill say that U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., wants to stop new judges from being added to the 6th Federal Circuit. He reportedly has asked Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, D-Vt., to refrain from taking up the issues of 6th Federal Circuit judicial nominees as long as the White House refuses to re-nominate two women whom Bill Clinton had picked for spots on the same bench. As of Oct. 15, President Bush has only seen 11 percent of his district and 16 percent of his circuit court nominees confirmed. By contrast, Bill Clinton has 57 percent of his district and 60 percent of his circuit nominees confirmed by the same point in his administration and the president's father, George Bush the elder, had 62 percent of his district and circuit nominees confirmed within the same time frame.
Battle of Britain -- The Hon. David Willetts, M.P. and author of "Is Conservatism Dead?" will be speaking at the Heritage Foundation on Oct. 30. Willetts, who is the shadow secretary of state for Social Security, will be speaking on the subject of Tony Blair, the Labor Party, and whether or not conservatism has a future in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
Independent streak -- Former Utah GOP Rep. Merrill Cook said Tuesday he will run as an independent in an effort to retake the congressional seat he lost last year when Republican voters in his district declined to re-nominate him for another term. He is motivated, according to published reports, by a desire to exact revenge on the Republican leaders he says mistreated him.
Another try for the brass ring-- Democrat Steve Owens, a former staffer to former Vice President Al Gore, who made two unsuccessful attempts to oust Arizona GOP Rep. J.D. Hayworth from his U.S. House seat, says he is "seriously considering" a third House bid. If he runs, Owens will seek to represent the new 1st congressional district, one of the two new open seats unveiled in Arizona last week. The sprawling district includes several rural counties that Owens carried against Hayworth in previous tries. Democrats have an 8-point registration edge in the seat.
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