WSJ: Donnelly, Puckett, and ANWR

from the Wall-Stree Journal’s Political Diary:

[bold text emphasis by DW]

Political Diary
July 3, 2008

Republicans Discover Oil
Here’s a piece of intelligence from the field that the McCain campaign should take careful note of: Republicans in difficult House races are spending scarce campaign dollars to travel to Alaska to dramatize their stance on the drilling issue.

Those making the trek include former Rep. Mike Sodrel, who lost his Southern Indiana seat in 2006 and is making a comeback bid; South Dakota businessman Chris Lien, who is running against Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin for the state’s lone House seat; Gulf War veteran Craig Williams, running for Congress in Pennsylvania; Indiana businessman Luke Puckett, running for a seat that borders Lake Michigan; and Paul Stark, who is running in Wisconsin. The five GOP candidates, traveling as a group, will stop off in Anchorage to meet with industry experts and local officials – Alaskans of both parties overwhelmingly favor drilling in ANWR – before making the final hour-and-a-half flight to the refuge.

Talk about seismic. In February, only 42% of voters supported drilling in a Pew poll while 50% were opposed. Those numbers are reversed in the latest poll and such surveys are evidently a lagging indicator if Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly knows his business. Mr. Donnelly, who’s fighting off the Puckett challenge in Indiana, voted last year to extend a moratorium on offshore drilling but changed his mind with the arrival of $4 gas. His spokesman even tells the South Bend Tribune: “It’s a bit odd that Luke Puckett would travel over 3,500 miles to Alaska to convince Joe Donnelly of something he already supports. Joe doesn’t need to go to ANWR to know that domestic exploration is an important part of a long-term strategy for energy independence.”

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