Despite refusing to comment on the Abramoff questions for more than a year, Doolittle said he understands the concerns of his constituency and intends to speak publicly on the issue throughout the campaign to help clear the air.He's got that right. It's going to be a different election this time because the results are going to be different -- he's not going to be re-elected. We're going to evaluate him on everything, from his hideous voting record to his record of conducting business in congress in a blantant and undemocratic, pay-for-play manner.
"Because it's my character that's been put at issue, it makes it a different kind of election," Doolittle said. "It makes it more difficult. I only hope the voters will evaluate me on record."
Added: local NBC affiliate
But he never mentioned his friendship with former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who last month pleaded guilty to corruption charges and agreed to tell the FBI how he bribed certain lawmakers."Obviously, by what the revelations have come out, he's been engaged in some serious wrongdoing," Doolittle said.
Doolittle himself has not been charged with any crime. But anonymous sources cited by the Associated Press and other news organizations say federal investigators are looking into a Doolittle-Abramoff connection.
Doolittle's ties to Abramoff have apparently not hurt his political fundraising activities. His most recent campaign finance records show that the congressman finished 2005 with more than $300,000 in the bank.
That's more than five times as much as the war chest of Auburn Mayor Mike Holmes, who plans to challenge Doolittle in the Republican primary."Now that he's made this announcement, a formal announcement that he's running for re-election, more people will start taking an interest in the campaign and will also be contributing to our efforts as well," Holmes said.