Hoyer Fits Role Of Dems' Right-Hand Man

Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy remembers the cold, wet day last
year when House Minority Whip Hoyer came to North Dakota to
campaign for his re-election and to praise his efforts to win
federal flood control money.

   In an act of vanity, Pomeroy said they left their coats and
hats behind in the car before venturing out to a campaign
appearance.

   "In the teeth of a driving rain, we stood on a dike under
construction talking about the need for Grand Forks flood
protection," Pomeroy said. "That's classic Steny Hoyer."

   Pomeroy, a perennial GOP target for defeat, said Hoyer has
long made it his modus operandi to look out for Democrats in
difficult re-election campaigns.

   "He is a work in constant motion," Pomeroy said. "His MO is
to know each member and what is going on with them on a personal
and a political basis."

   After Democrats lost the majority in 1994, then-Minority
Leader Gephardt tapped Hoyer to take a lead in candidate
recruitment. Now, as the second-ranking Democratic leader in the
House, Hoyer plays a more central role in Democratic efforts to
win the House.

   Hoyer will attend the Oklahoma Democratic Party's annual
convention this weekend, and is the keynote speaker at the Carl
Albert Dinner, named after the late House speaker from Oklahoma.

   Hoyer, who has compiled a record on civil rights, education
and healthcare issues, declined to be pigeon-holed as a
conservative Democrat, but said he has a profile that allows him
to campaign for more conservative and centrist candidates.

   House Minority Leader Pelosi is a regular figure on the
fundraising circuit in New York, Los Angeles and her
liberal-minded base in San Francisco. Hoyer makes regular
campaign appearances in rural districts.

   "Nancy and I have different styles, different approaches. I
work pretty hard in the moderate and conservative districts,"
Hoyer said, adding that none of the Democratic leaders is
working independently of the others. "I think we're all in this
together."

   Last month, Hoyer campaigned for Democratic Reps. Baron Hill
of Indiana, Michael Michaud of Maine and Joseph Hoeffel of
Pennsylvania, all of whom represent largely rural or suburban
districts.

   A Democratic leadership aide said that Hoyer, who has
represented a rural but increasingly suburban Maryland district,
is a good draw among Democrats.

   "He and Pelosi complement each other well. She is driving the
base well, among women -- progressives," the aide said. "Hoyer
has the ability to reach out to the conservative districts
around the country which are so critical to us winning back the
House."

   Rep. Brad Carson, D-Okla., described Hoyer as a "mentor"
figure, who has helped groom Democratic talent. Carson predicted
Hoyer would draw a good crowd Saturday.

   "He represents the kind of vision and values" held by
Oklahoma Democrats, Carson said. "The Democratic activists will
have to see him."

   Since entering leadership, Hoyer has stepped up fundraising
through his leadership PAC, AmeriPAC: The Fund for a Greater
America.

   "We don't have enough money," Hoyer said. "We never have
enough money."

   According to FEC reports filed for the first quarter this
year, Hoyer's PAC had raised $160,000 since January and banked
$320,000 for the 2004 cycle.

   In March, AmeriPAC distributed nearly $60,000 in direct and
earmarked contributions to Democratic incumbents and committees.

   According to the nonpartisan PoliticalMoneyLine, Hoyer's PAC
raised more than $1 million and gave over $700,000 to Democratic
candidates and political committees. The PAC reported $650,000
contributions to Democrats in the 2000 cycle.
By Mark Wegner

CongressDailyAM