Just “what’s happening to him” begins with congressional redistricting, which has left Dingell, a 23-term institution, forced to run for his political life against fellow Democratic Rep. Lynn Rivers, a much more liberal member of the Democratic caucus.
Dingell’s humiliation has been compounded by his having to watch many of his fellow Democrats pick sides — and not choosing his. Democratic Whip Nancy Pelosi is backing Rivers. The liberal PAC EMILY’S List is backing Rivers. Sarah Brady and her anti-gun nuts are backing Rivers. And then there is Hollywood celeb Michael Douglas, who in backing Rivers has raised more than $40,000 for her.
And Dingell has? Tipper Gore.
“The reality is that Dingell has probably done more for women’s health issues than Rivers has, but no one wants to hear that since there is a woman in the race. They just assume that must be her passion,” says a Dingell staffer in Washington. “We’re all nervous about this one. It’s been a real fight, an ugly fight.”
It’s a nip and tuck race headed toward the August 6 primary, with Rivers given the better shot of pulling out a victory. But no one wants to sell Dingell short. “He’s had to run a real campaign for probably the first time in 20 years, and he hasn’t done a bad job,” says his Republican colleague. “I’d hate to be those Democratic colleagues who backed Rivers if he wins.”p> DEAN’S LIST br> If anyone’s still searching for a reason to back moderate North Carolina Senate candidate Elizabeth Dole
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It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
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