— From NBC's Mark Murray
Key Democratic House challengers have become the latest Democrats to pounce on the Foley scandal. Lois Murphy (D), who's taking on Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) in the Philadelphia suburbs, released a statement today calling on Gerlach to return the $1,000 he received from Foley's political action committee. "As a citizen and a voter, I am mortified by this latest turn of events," Murphy said of the Foley revelations and the GOP's handling of the incident. "I believe it is yet another reminder that we need to restore honor and dignity to the House of Representatives. We need to elect a new House, one we can be proud of." In addition, Patty Wetterling (D) -- who's competing for a GOP-held open House seat in Minnesota, and who became a national child-safety advocate after the 1989 abduction of her son -- held a conference call with reporters in which she demanded a thorough investigation of the GOP leadership in their handling of the Foley affair.
And the Senate Democratic campaign committee is also trying to make political hay out of this, by calling attention to the money vulnerable Sen. George Allen (R) received from Foley's PAC, and criticizing Sen. Mike DeWine (R) for holding a fundraiser today with White House press secretary Tony Snow, who referred to Foley's correspondence with a teenage page "as simply naughty emails."
Carl Forti, a spokesperson at the House GOP campaign committee, downplayed the Democrats' ability to make the Foley affair influence these races. "It'll be gone in 48 hours," he said, explaining that these Democrats will be unable to tie the incident to the local issues voters care about.