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POLITICS IN BRIEF

GOP pulls all stops to maintain seat

Having served 17 terms, Representative Philip M. Crane of Illinois is the most senior Republican in the House. His quest for an 18th term is proving difficult and has party strategists scrambling to fend off a challenge from Democrat Melissa Bean. A campaign-season report detailing his fondness for overseas trips taken at corporate expense gave Bean a boost. According to GOP strategists, Crane ranks near the top of the list of incumbent Republicans most vulnerable to defeat this fall. In response, the White House has arranged for Vice President Dick Cheney and Education Secretary Rod Paige to visit Crane's district, northwest of Chicago, to help the veteran conservative. The National Republican Congressional Committee, which advertises for GOP incumbents only in the tightest races, recently began a televised attack on Bean as an opponent of President Bush's tax cuts as well as a carpetbagger. (AP)

NEW YORK

Equal network time sought for Kerry

NEW YORK -- The campaign of Senator John F. Kerry on Friday formally asked Sinclair Broadcast Group for equal time on all its stations to counter what the campaign said was Sinclair's plan to air an extended attack ad during prime time next week. In a letter to Sinclair, Mark E. Elias, general counsel for the campaign, argued that Sinclair's plans to air "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal," a film in which former Vietnam prisoners of war criticize the senator's anti-Vietnam War activities, is "clearly intended to advance the campaign of President Bush by attacking Senator Kerry's record." Sinclair previously had invited Kerry on its program to discuss the film's allegations. Kerry spokesman Chad Clanton said Kerry had no plans to go on the Sinclair show. Sinclair didn't return calls for comment, and Clanton said the campaign had not received a response. (Los Angeles Times)

COLORADO

Court panel revives redistricting suit

DENVER -- A panel of federal judges Friday revived the last remaining lawsuit stemming from disputes over congressional redistricting after the 2000 Census. The lawsuit had been on hold pending the US Supreme Court's decision in June that effectively upheld a map favoring Democrats; it was drawn by a judge and used in the 2002 elections. Republicans in 2003 approved a different map, saying the state Constitution requires the Legislature, not a judge, to redraw congressional-district boundaries after each census. Democrats sued to overturn it, saying the Constitution allows redistricting only once per decade; the state Supreme Court agreed and the US Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal. In the remaining lawsuit, a Democratic lawmaker and three Republicans want to restore the GOP map; they contend the state Supreme Court's rejection violated the US Constitution. The federal judges set Nov. 12 deadlines for the sides to explain certain legal issues, to exchange evidence, and to submit a proposed schedule for resolution of the case. (AP)

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