The selection of rising star Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as keynote speaker for the 2005 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington has raised speculation about him making a Senate bid in 2006.
Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, the multi-millionaire owner of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball team who self-finances his campaigns, has been considered unbeatable. However, there is no certainty that Kohl will seek a fourth term. Now 69, he is 35 years older than Ryan.
The keynote address at CPAC is usually delivered by somebody older and at a higher position in politics than Ryan, who at age 34 has served six years in Congress. (Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey was the 2004 keynoter.) A former protege of Jack Kemp, Ryan is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the leading supply-sider in the House.
The elation by a partner in the powerful Washington lawyer-lobbyist firm of Covington and Burling that he soon would be associated with retiring Republican Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma almost killed the deal.
The lawyer e-mailed selected friends to tell them that Nickles would be associated with Covington and Burling beginning in 2005, describing it as a coup. When the e-mail leaked, Nickles's alliance with the firm was broadcast on CNN even though the arrangement had not been finalized.
A furious Nickles said the leak killed the deal, but he was talked into calming down. He actually is starting his own lobbying firm but would be associated with Covington and Burling for special projects. Nickles has just finished a hitch as chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and before that was Senate majority whip.