Byline: Greg Pierce, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
"Administration officials are bracing for the resignation of Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, the 71-year-old former Clinton Cabinet member who suffers from painful back ailments," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.
"Insiders say that House Secretary Mel Martinez, the only Cabinet Hispanic, is being touted as Mineta's replacement."
Former national Democratic Party Chairman Joe Andrew says he will enter the race to become Indiana's next governor.
Mr. Andrew, 42, joins state Sen. Vi Simpson of Bloomington in a primary race that was thrown into confusion in December, when Lt. Gov. Joe Kernan unexpectedly dropped his campaign, the Associated Press reports.
Mr. Kernan had been the party's presumptive nominee to replace Democratic Gov. Frank L. O'Bannon, who is barred by term limits from running again next year.
Mr. Andrew is seeking elected office for the first time. He was the Indiana Democratic chairman from 1995 until 1999, then served as national chairman until early 2001. He has worked as a lawyer in Washington, D.C., since then, but said he will soon move back to Indiana.
"My job is to be the next governor of the state of Indiana," Mr. Andrew told the Indianapolis Star for a story yesterday. "My job is to create as many jobs as I can for the state of Indiana."
Democrats have held the office since 1989.
Republicans in the 2004 race include former U.S. Rep. David McIntosh, the party's nominee in 2000; state Sens. Luke Kenley of Noblesville and Murray Clark of Indianapolis; conservative activist Eric Miller; and Petersburg Mayor Randy Harris.
"As chairman of the House Science Committee, U.S. Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, New York Republican, may be the most influential member of his state's congressional delegation. But that is not enough to stop at least one member of his own party from trying to unseat him in 2004," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"Dr. David Walrath, a surgeon and Cayuga County, N.Y., legislator, is making another run against the multiterm incumbent. In 2002, Walrath was a last-minute entry into the primary and, despite being outspent better than 10-1, came within 2,700 votes of beating him thanks to the support of the New York State Conservative Party, the National Rifle Association and the Cayuga County Republican organization," the wire service noted.
"Boehlert, who has served in Congress for more than 20 years, has a lifetime rating of just 36 out of 100 from the American Conservative Union and is considered by many to be the last vestige of liberal 'Rockefeller' Republicanism in the New York congressional delegation."
"There was never any question, as the Senate Judiciary Committee met Thursday morning, that Miguel Estrada would win approval to a place on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals,. The Republicans' new 10-to-nine majority took care of that. But there was a question of how solid Democratic opposition to Estrada would be," Byron York writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).
"And the answer was: very solid. Confounding some GOP expectations, Democrats kept a united front on Estrada, voting unanimously against him and sending a message that they will exercise similar discipline in the future," Mr. York said.
"It's not that Estrada's opponents pointed to anything in his record that they said disqualified him from the court. Rather, they relied on two key (and somewhat contradictory) arguments in an attempt to show he did not deserve the committee's support. The first was that Estrada is an ultra-conservative ideologue. The second was that the committee did not know enough about him. ...
"For Republicans, the meeting had a Groundhog Day quality to it. …