Hannity & Steele
While former president Bill Clinton was raising campaign cash for Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Benjamin L. Cardin in the past week, the GOP nominee, Michael S. Steele , was getting help from some of the bigger names in Republican politics.
Steele's sister, Monica Turner , the former wife of boxer Mike Tyson , hosted a birthday bash for her brother Friday featuring former congressman J.C. Watts. The onetime Oklahoma representative was the only black Republican in Congress when he announced his retirement in 2002.
There was no word on how much money was raised at Turner's spacious Bethesda home, but the party was packed, according to one participant.
Steele also got a boost yesterday from Fox News commentator Sean Hannity , who presided over a $1,000-a-person luncheon on the roof deck of the Mills Building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
"Sean understands the need to change business-as-usual in Washington, and I'm honored to have his support," Steele said in an e-mail fundraising solicitation.
For a candidate who has railed against the "Washington crowd" in his campaign commercials, it was a decidedly Washington fundraiser at the offices of D.C. lobbyists Wayne Valis and Matt Keelen -- just steps from the White House. Keelen is the head of Team Steele, a group charged with raising money from D.C. lobbyists.
Hannity has hosted Steele several times on his TV show and has been talking up his candidacy on air. Invitations to the event quote Hannity telling Steele, "You are a force politically in the state of Maryland. You have done a great job. You are a great leader."
Yesterday, Hannity was running late after interviewing Vice President Cheney, and as he dashed into the elevator, he said of Steele, "He's a good guy."
Next up for Steele is White House press secretary Tony Snow, who is listed as the star of a fundraiser next week at a private home in Potomac that includes a $1,000 photo opportunity.
Ann E. Marimow
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