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Political Notebook

Oklahoma Democrat announces he won’t seek reelection, 5th term

Representative Dan Boren enjoyed name recognition like few others in Oklahoma. His father was a governor and a senator. Representative Dan Boren enjoyed name recognition like few others in Oklahoma. His father was a governor and a senator. (David Crenshaw/Associated Press)
June 8, 2011

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MUSKOGEE, Okla. — Representative Dan Boren, Oklahoma’s only Democratic member of Congress and the son of one of its most powerful men, said yesterday that he will not seek a fifth term next year because he is tired of campaigning and wants to spend more time with his family.

Boren, 37, a conservative Democrat who comfortably won reelection last year, said that he is proud of his record and that he was picked three times to represent Oklahoma’s Second District, which has long voted Republican in presidential elections.

“Most importantly I consider myself to be independent and bipartisan. I’ve always tried to vote my district,’’ he said.

Boren began his political career in 2002 by winning a seat in the state House of Representatives, enjoying name recognition that few other candidates in the state could hope for. His father, David Boren, served as governor and senator before he became president of the University of Oklahoma.

Boren said yesterday that he is not ruling out a future run for political office, and said he would love to be governor, as his father was, but that he would not run against the current governor, Republican Mary Fallin. He also said he will not endorse anyone vying for his seat in the next election.

— Associated Press

Democratic colleagues won’t back N.Y.’s Weiner WASHINGTON — Fellow Democrats pointedly refused to defend Representative Anthony Weiner yesterday, telegraphing an unmistakable eagerness for him to resign after he admitted sending a lewd photo of himself to a woman via Twitter and lying about it.

Republicans swiftly sought political profit from the New York Democrat’s predicament, which threatened to deepen when conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart said he had a sexually explicit photo of the congressman.

His political career in extreme jeopardy, Weiner, 46, had no public appearances. His spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

On Monday, after days of denials, the lawmaker admitted he had engaged in “several inappropriate conversations conducted over Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, and occasionally on the phone with women I had met online.’’

Alternately apologetic and defiant, he said he neither met nor had physical relationships with any of them, and added, “I am not resigning.’’

There is little that party leaders can do to force an errant lawmaker to quit, although House Republicans have moved decisively in the past year to purge two men in embarrassing situations.

Most Democrats maintained an uncomfortable silence about Weiner’s future, part of what several senior congressional officials described as a hope that over a few days, Weiner would reconsider his refusal to resign.

But Senate majority leader Harry Reid broke the silence.

“I wish there were some way that I can defend him, but I can’t,’’ the Nevada Democrat told reporters. Asked what he would do if Weiner called for advice, he replied he would tell him to call somebody else.

Republicans sought political gain. “Congressman Weiner’s actions and deception are unacceptable and he should resign,’’ GOP party chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

— Associated Press

Ore. Democrat questions Palin’s perks on bus tour WASHINGTON — A Democratic congressman from Oregon is questioning whether it was appropriate for the National Park Service to give special treatment to former Alaska governor Sarah Palin during her recent “One Nation’’ bus tour to historic sites on the East Coast.

Representative Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat who sits on the House Ways and Means and Budget committees, sent a letter yesterday to Park Service director John Jarvis asking for an accounting of whether taxpayer resources were spent to accommodate the Palins.

Describing Palin’s trip as a “partisan political tour’’ that provided her with “personal and political’’ benefits, Blumenauer asked whether federal resources “were made available to an extent beyond that which an average American family would receive.’’

Palin billed her “One Nation’’ trip — on a bus festooned with images such as the Liberty Bell and the Constitution — as a family vacation complete with children, grandparents, and many hours on Interstate 95.

But there was been nothing typical about this vacation, which attracted national attention and ignited widespread speculation about whether the popular conservative is testing the waters for a presidential campaign. The trip, which is expected to resume later this month in the Midwest, is being paid for by the former vice presidential nominee’s political action committee, SarahPAC.

Although they haven’t asked for it, Palin and her family have received VIP treatment just about everywhere they went: a private tour of Mount Vernon, early admission at the National Archives, and private tours at all the federally managed National Park Service properties they visited.

— Washington Post

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