In an interview with the Elgin (Ill.) Courier News, Hastert said Rep. Phil Crane "hasn't taken care of his [Chicago suburban] district." The speaker said the 73-year-old Crane "hasn't been back to his district probably as much as a younger guy would be." The senior Republican in the House, Crane is considered one of the party's two most vulnerable incumbent congressmen.
LIBERTARIANS VS. BUSH
The Libertarian Party, appealing to Democrats for funds, is targeting the battleground state of Wisconsin as a place where they could make the difference in preventing President Bush's re-election.
Wisconsin Libertarians are asking money for their presidential candidate, computer consultant Michael Badnarik. Their appeal promises Democrats that "we will use 100 percent of your donations to run television and radio commercials that specifically target conservative voters who might otherwise vote for Bush."
"We don't want Bush to win in Wisconsin any more than you do," says the Libertarian Web site. "As a Kerry supporter, you may disagree with our message, but you win and we win when you donate to this project and get your friends to do likewise."
Sen. Arlen Specter, who was supported by the White House and the Republican establishment to win renomination in Pennsylvania against a strong conservative challenger, is not returning the favor.
Although Specter is viewed as a cinch for re-election, he has not participated in rallies, fund-raisers or ads for Republican congressional candidates in Pennsylvania. In Specter's Philadelphia-area stronghold, he has helped neither open-seat candidate Melissa Brown nor endangered incumbent Rep. Jim Gerlach.
According to the last filings at the end of September, Specter's Big Tent Political Action Committee has contributed only $10,000. That money went to Republican Sen. Richard Shelby, who faces no trouble for re-election in Alabama.