Robert Novak

 Claude Allen, a leading African-American conservative Republican, was left off President Bush's list of renominated judicial appointments but is slated to become the new head of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House.

 Allen, currently an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services, was one of the 10 appellate court nominees blocked by Senate Democrats. Conservative sources say he was not anxious to go through that painful process again.

 However, Allen may eventually be renominated for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, but to a Virginia seat when one opens up instead of the Maryland seat to which he was first named. That would bypass opposition from Maryland's two liberal Democratic senators, Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski. Allen is a Virginia resident.


 New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who has gained a national reputation for aggressive prosecution of corporate conduct, will speak at a Manhattan fund-raiser for California State Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi's contested campaign for the Democratic nomination as his state's lieutenant governor.

 The fund-raiser will be held the evening of Jan. 26 at the Four Seasons Restaurant, with the cost of tickets ranging from $500 to $5,000. Garamendi has been a perennial candidate in California, with mixed success.

 Garamendi was pondering a run for governor in 2006 but backed away because of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's popularity. He is not assured of the lieutenant governor's nomination. A leading contender is State Sen. Jackie Speier of San Mateo, a longtime Democratic activist.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

©Creators Syndicate