Davis announced Thursday he will not run for retiring Virginia Sen. John Warner's seat.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Rep. Tom Davis said Thursday he will not run for the open Senate seat in Virginia next year.
The Republican congressman from Northern Virginia had been considering a bid to succeed his friend, retiring Sen. John Warner, who announced this summer that he would not run for re-election in 2008.
With Davis out, the race to succeed Warner appears to be a battle of two former Virginia governors, Democrat Mark Warner, no relation, and Republican Jim Gilmore.
Warner announced his intentions last month and has raised over a million dollars. He is still very popular with Virginia voters and early polling puts him ahead of Gilmore in a potential head to head match up. National Democrats are betting Warner can win back the Republican held seat and help the party expand its current slim 51 to 49 majority in the Senate.
Brownback says he's "nowhere near" ready to make an endorsement.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Pro-choice Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani will ask for the endorsement of former presidential candidate Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, a fierce opponent of abortion, when the two meet later Thursday in Brownback’s Senate office.
Winning Brownback’s endorsement would be a boost to Giuliani’s efforts to court conservative voters but Brownback told CNN Thursday unless he can “influence” Giuliani’s “position to be pro-life” he’s not likely to back the former mayor.
“It would be really tough for me because I think that’ just the central issue of our time,” Brownback said.
Brownback said Giuliani’s “good on judges which is probably going to be the central life issue in the next administration” and suggested he liked his position on fiscal policy and the war on terrorism.
But “life is central, I mean we’ve got to get that right,” Brownback said.
Brownback has met or spoken with other GOP presidential candidates but hasn’t decided who he will endorse or when he might do it.
“I’m nowhere near making a decision,” he said.
Brownback formally announced his candidacy for president at the beginning of the year but dropped out of the race for the White House last week, citing a lack of fundraising. Brownback was in the low single digits in most national polls of Republican voters.
– CNN Congressional Producer Ted Barrett
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidates expressed concern Thursday over the Bush administration’s extensive sanctions against Iran, arguing the measures were likely precursors to war with that country.
“Today, George Bush and Dick Cheney again rattled the sabers in their march toward military action against Iran,” John Edwards said in a statement. “The Bush Administration has been making plans to attack Iran for many months. At this critical moment, we need strong leadership against George Bush’s dangerous ‘preventive war’ policy, which makes force the first option, not the last.”
Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd echoed the sentiment. “Unfortunately, the action taken by the Administration today comes in the context of escalating rhetoric and drumbeat to military action against Iran,” he said in a statement. “I am deeply concerned that once again the President is opting for military action as a first resort.”
Dodd again highlighted his vote against the Kyl-Lieberman amendment last month which in part called for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps to be designated a terrorist organization. Sen. Hillary Clinton’s, D-New York, vote in favor of the measure is now a major topic on the campaign trail.
On Thursday, both Dodd and Edwards said the amendment’s language could be used by the Bush administration to justify military action against Iran.
“I learned a clear lesson from the lead up to the Iraq War in 2002: if you give this president an inch, he will take a mile – and launch a war,” Edwards said. “Sen. Clinton apparently learned a different lesson. Instead of blocking George Bush’s new march to war, Senator Clinton and others are enabling him once again.
– CNN Sr. Political Producer Sasha Johnson
Hunter met with Thompson Tuesday but endorsed Romney two days later.
(CNN) – Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson got the photo op, but two days later a Florida sheriff endorsed his rival in the Republican presidential race.
Collier County Sheriff Don Hunter endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney Thursday, the Romney campaign announced. Hunter, whose department has launched programs to crack down on illegal immigration, said that issue was the biggest factor in his decision.
“I had the opportunity to look at the records of other candidates, and it is clear that Gov. Romney is the candidate with the most impressive record of accomplishment in the public and private sectors, and the strongest record of enforcing our immigration laws," Hunter said in a statement.
The Romney campaign was quick to note Hunter appeared with Thompson at an event two days ago in Naples, where the Tennessee Republican outlined his immigration reform plans.
– CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk
New Hampshire poll shows Clinton and Romney in the lead.
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN) - A new poll by The New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm's College finds former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, each hold a lead over their competitors in the Granite State.
The poll shows Romney with 32 percent, giving him a 10 point lead over former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who stands at 22 percent.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, comes in third with 15 percent.
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas placed fourth with 7 percent over former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (6 percent) and former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson (5 percent).
On the Democratic side, Sen. Clinton registers 43 percent, holding a commanding lead over Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, who stood at 22 percent.
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards comes in third with 14 percent and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson placed fourth with 6 percent.
The survey was conducted from October 15 to October 21 and surveyed 1,514 likely primary voters in New Hampshire. The margin of error for the entire sample is 2.6 percent.
– CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla
WASHINGTON (CNN) – To commemorate the 40th anniversary of his capture in North Vietnam, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, released a new ad Thursday mocking Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, for seeking federal funds for a museum commemorating the Woodstock concerts.
"A few days ago, Sen. Clinton tried to spend one million dollars on the Woodstock concert museum," McCain said. "Now my friends, I wasn't there. I'm sure it was a cultural and pharmaceutical event. I was, I was tied up at the time."
The ad, which will air in New Hampshire, shows original video of McCain tied up and injured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. The Republican presidential candidate originally made the joke during a debate in Florida last weekend.
McCain will honor the anniversary on Friday in Iowa with Colonel Bud Day, who cared for him during his imprisonment. McCain was a prisoner of war at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" in North Vietnam for five and a half years.
–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich
Sen. Joe Biden.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In what the Washington Post is describing as a "stumble," Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said in an interview with the paper Wednesday that Washington's high minority population is one of the reasons for the city's education problems.
Explaining why schools in Iowa are performing better than those in Washington, D.C., Biden told the Post, "There's less than one percent of the population of Iowa that is African American. There is probably less than four of five percent that are minorities. What is in Washington? So look, it goes back to what you start off with, what you're dealing with."
"When you have children coming from dysfunctional homes, when you have children coming from homes where there's no books, where the mother from the time they're born doesn't talk to them - as opposed to the mother in Iowa who's sitting out there and talks to them, the kid starts out with a 300 word larger vocabulary at age three. Half this education gap exists before the kid steps foot in the classroom," the Delaware Democrat added.
The paper reports Biden's campaign quickly sought to clarify the remarks, saying in a statement that the senator was not making a "race-based distinction" but rather a "socio-economic" one.
This isn't the first time Biden's words have caused controversy. Last February, on the same day he officially announced his presidential bid, a newspaper quoted the senator describing Sen. Barack Obama as "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy."
And, in a June 2006 appearance in New Hampshire, Biden commented on the growth of the Indian-American population in Delaware by saying, "You cannot go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. Oh, I'm not joking."
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
WASHINGTON (CNN) – A new Quinnipiac poll out of Florida Thursday shows Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani each hold a substantial lead over their competitors in the Sunshine State.
Clinton registers 43 percent in the new poll of registered Florida Democrats. Sen. Barack Obama comes in second with 18 percent, followed by former Sen. John Edwards at 12 percent. The sample included 416 Democrats and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percent.
Meanwhile on the Republican side, Giuliani stands at 30 percent, followed by Sen. John McCain and former Sen. Fred Thompson, both at 14 percent. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is at 12 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee registers 8 percent. The sample included 394 Republicans and caries a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.
The poll also finds a very closely-fought race in the Sunshine State should Clinton and Giuliani each be their party's presidential nominee. Giuliani edges out Clinton in the poll, 46 percent to 43 percent.
Florida officially moved up its primary to Jan. 29, facing potential sanctions from both parties for doing so.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
Comedy Central says a Colbert presidential run would not violate election laws.
(CNN) – OK, so it’s not exactly the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. But could it be the Lawyers Who Stole Election Night for Stephen Colbert?
The Comedy Central host's bid for the presidency may be fake, but very real election laws could mean the comedian's "candidacy" in South Carolina may never actually happen.
Questions have been raised whether a Federal Elections Commission ban on corporate sponsorship of candidates would apply to Colbert. His show on Comedy Central is owned by Viacom and sponsored by Doritos.
There’s no issue yet because, real or not, Colbert’s not officially a candidate. He hasn’t submitted petitions to make the ballot anywhere, though he says he plans to run as both a Republican and a Democrat in his native Palmetto State.
Though, as The Ticker has reported, the State parties may prevent him from appearing on both ballots simultaneously.
But the "truthiness" of the federal statutes may not take away all the fun, anyway.
A Comedy Central spokesman said the network believes the candidacy would be within the rules.
"Based on the law, prior rulings made by the Federal Election Commission and advice of expert outside counsel, Comedy Central is very comfortable that the network, 'The Colbert Report' and Stephen Colbert are operating well within federal campaign election laws," the spokesman said.
– CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk