Very quietly, some Republicans with eyes on standing in four years where President George W. Bush stands today are already beginning to lay the groundwork for 2008.
Some are being more aggressive than others. Some are showing the good sense simply to sit back and enjoy the inaugural events before kicking into high gear. One of the eager beavers — and an early favorite — is Sen. George Allen.
Allen has the advantage of running for Senate re-election in 2006, so a campaign team may already be in place. One critical addition was the announcement that GOP strategist, Dick Wadhams, he of the thrilling Sen. John Thune election, is now serving as Allen’s Senate chief of staff.
Allen’s now former chief of staff, Jay Timmons, who served with Allen during his time as Virginia governor, quietly this week joined the lobbying shop of Tew Cardenas. One of its two name partners, Al Cardenas, was a key adviser to Sen. Mel Martinez, and served as the Republican chairman in Florida.
Timmons also served as Allen’s executive director during the Senator’s recent tenure as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (which is now headed by Sen. Elizabeth Dole). Timmons was viewed as critical to helping the GOP pick up net four seats on November 2. Now Timmons is free to begin calling in any and all chips that his old boss may have gained in helping Republicans increase their power base around the country.s
“Timmons in the private sector is free to do the kind of work he wouldn’t be able to do in the Senate,” says a Senate staffer. “The expectation is that Timmons will be out there helping to set up grassroots and fundraising. Allen is lucky to be in a position to do this.”
When Sen. John Kerry took his turns in questioning now-confirmed Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice, he wasn’t using briefing notes from Democratic Foreign Relations Committee staff, or even his personal Senate staff. No, he was using old briefing notes from his failed presidential campaign.
“He’s got tons of memorandums, policy papers, position talking points, everything,” says a Foreign Relations staffer. “All that stuff, and his private briefings by the NSC during the campaign have him thinking he’s on top of his game.”
In fact, Kerry shared some of his material with no-vote soulmate Sen. Barbara Boxer.