The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports in a must-read piece that Congressman Tom DeLay's (R-TX) efforts to retain power despite hid indictment have "angered some rank-and-file Republicans, many of whom say his ethical problems and uncertain status are staining them and destabilizing GOP unity." LINK
"'My issue is having an indicted former leader hanging around the leadership offices,' said one House Republican, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of DeLay's remaining authority. 'This guy did so much good work getting us into the majority. Why does he want to stick around? He's not helping us.'"
"Countering those are DeLay's ardent House supporters, dozens of whom now sport hammer-shaped lapel pins evoking DeLay's nickname, 'The Hammer,' to proclaim their allegiance."
According to the New York Times, investigators in the Jack Abramoff case have expanded their inquiries into the activities of the lobbyist to include his efforts to pressure senior Interior Department officials on behalf of Indian tribes with gambling interests. A Senate panel plans a hearing on the investigation today. LINK
The Wall Street Journal's Brody Mullins curtain raises today's Senate hearing into whether Abramoff sought to influence Interior Secretary Gale Norton by directing one of his clients to donate money to a nonprofit group Norton founded before joining the Bush Administration. LINK
Note that the group in question -- the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy -- once launched a pricey campaign to defeat legislation offered by McCain to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses.
The piece includes photos of Rep. Tom DeLay, Rep. Bob Ney, Grover Norquist, and Ralph Reed under a "Capital Connections" header.
Patrick D. Healy of the New York Times turns in a colorful rundown of the escalating attacks in last night's final mayoral debate, writing that Mayor Bloomberg was "far more assertive" than in the first debate, while Ferrer was "equally ferocious" in response. Up to this point, "Mr. Bloomberg has regarded his challenger as the political equivalent of the flu (which was briefly discussed last night), recognizing the potential threat but ignoring and avoiding it as much as possible." LINK
The New York Daily News writes that Bloomberg took a more aggressive posture in the last night's debate. LINK
The New York Times has more on the ad wars in the New York mayoral race, as Bloomberg decides to get personal. LINK
Jason Horowitz of the New York Observer writes on why he thinks liberal New Yorkers will vote on competence, not ideology, in this year's mayoral race. LINK
USA Today on Mayor Bloomberg's enormous lead, massive spending, and political history. LINK
The New York Times takes a thorough look at Sen. Jon Corzine's political path to running for New Jersey governor, Noting that "he has a reputation for making fearless and sometimes ill-considered moves." LINK
With less than a week to go until the Commonwealth of Virginia chooses a successor to Gov. Mark Warner (D), Jerry Kilgore's tenacity and luck get the A1 treatment in the Washington Post. LINK
The Schwarzenegger Era:
A new Los Angeles Times poll says voters oppose three of Gov. Schwarzenegger's major ballot proposals, while his approval rating has slipped to 40 percent.
"Like President Bush, another Republican with scant support beyond his party base, Schwarzenegger has polarized Californians, the poll found, with voters split starkly along party and ideological lines. Across the voter spectrum, his ratings are roughly in sync with Bush's." LINK
Republican state senator Tom Kean Jr. will begin his campaign for Sen. Jon Corzine's (D-NJ) seat the day following the gubernatorial election, reports The Hill. LINK