Shifting the Money So the Votes Will Follow
By Thomas B. Edsall
Tuesday, May 11, 2004; Page A04
Strategists in the network of independent political organizations known as the "shadow Democratic Party" are shifting money and resources from television advertising to voter mobilization programs.
The Media Fund, which is run by former Clinton aide Harold Ickes, will cut back spending substantially -- from a range of $1.8 million to $3.2 million a week in 17 states over the past two months to a weekly budget of less than $1 million in four key states -- Louisiana, Nevada, Ohio and Oregon.
The cutback will allow more money to flow to the Media Fund's sister organization, America Coming Together. ACT is building a voter-mobilization program in the 17 battleground states designed to match or, better, parallel a get-out-the-vote program by the Bush campaign and the Republican National Committee.
Media consultant Bill Knapp, who had been making commercials for the Media Fund, has been hired by Sen. John F. Kerry's campaign.
While the Bush campaign and the RNC have more money than their Democratic counterparts, Ickes said yesterday that his organization can pare spending in part because of the unexpected fundraising success of the Kerry campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The two most prominent groups in the shadow party are the Media Fund and ACT, and each had a fundraising goal of $95 million. They had been splitting contributions from a joint fundraising committee. Ickes said the Media Fund and ACT will continue to split contributions in excess of $250,000, but contributions of smaller amounts will go to ACT.
The Kerry campaign recently announced that it had surpassed an $80 million goal and would now seek to raise at least $100 million before the July Democratic convention. The DNC, in turn, announced yesterday that it has $42 million in the bank, and that so far this year it has raised $35 million more in federally regulated contributions than it had in 2000.
The Bush campaign, which had raised $185.7 million by the end of March, and the Republican National Committee, which had $53.9 million in the bank, have filed a complaint with the FEC charging that the network of pro-Democratic organizations is violating campaign law by spending "soft money" in a federal campaign.
Father of 9/11 Victim Praises President
The father of a firefighter killed at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, praises President Bush as "a leader, a war president" in a new television commercial by a conservative interest group, the Associated Press reported.
"On September 11, terrorists murdered nearly 3,000 Americans, including 346 firefighters, one of which was my son, Michael," Jimmy Boyle says in the ad by Citizens United. "I lost my son. I spoke to him that day. He went to work that morning, and he had died for a reason: because somebody hates America. And that day, George Bush became a leader, a war president."
Citizens United is headed by David Bossie, a former Republican congressional aide who was one of President Bill Clinton's harshest critics, AP said. The group is spending at least $100,000, a modest amount, to run the ad for a week starting Wednesday in select media markets in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the District.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company