Putnam's 11, Seeing 'Red'
Let's call them "Putnam's Eleven."
They're the 11 House Republicans who collected $2,500 checks each for their campaign accounts from "Red PAC" the political action committee run by Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), who, as chairman of the House Republican Conference, is the third-ranking GOP leader in the chamber.
Contributions from congressional leaders to fellow members are nothing new, but Putnam's Red PAC donations serve as an early window into the thinking of House Republicans in terms of which incumbents are in the most electoral trouble in 2008.
The recipients range from ethically challenged incumbents -- such as Reps. John Doolittle (R-Calif.), who still faces questions about his family's connections to jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff, to Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), who's under fire for allegedly pressuring a prosecutor to bring indictments against Albuquerque Democrats -- to those that are in just difficult races because of political geography.
Each contribution from Putnam came on March 28, which was the last Thursday that the House was in session before its two-week spring recess. And that was also just a few days before the quarterly deadline for filing campaign reports with the Federal Election Commission. Those first quarter reports are often a bellwether of how seriously an incumbent is taking his or her campaign: The more money raised, the more likely he or she is to deter potential challengers for entering into races.
Senior members often open up their PAC checkbooks at the end of March, the end of June and the end of September. Members of Congress can donate $5,000 from their PACs to candidates' campaign committees for both their primary and general elections, for a total of $10,000 every two years.
So, like the sequels to Danny Ocean's first attempt at stealing Terry Benedict's $160 million, Putnam's 11 will likely see sequels to those $2,500 donations, which amount to as opening GOP antes in the campaign season.
(For a closer look at Putnam as a legislator, check out Post reporter Lindsey Layton's profile of the up-and-coming, 32-year-old lawmaker in today's print edition.)
Here's the cast of Putnam's 11, the House Republicans who got $2,500 checks from Putnam's Red PAC last Thursday, with the percentage of the vote that each received in the 2006 elections:
Lawmaker 2006% Steve Chabot (Ohio) 53 John Doolittle (Calif.) 49 Jim Gerlach (Pa.) 51 Robin Hayes (N.C.) 50 Joe Knollenberg (Mich.) 52 Jon Porter (Nev.) 48 Deborah Pryce (Ohio) 51 David Reichert (Wash.) 51 Rick Renzi (Ariz.) 52 Peter Roskam (Ill.) 51 Heather Wilson (N.M.) 50
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