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  •   In First Week of Campaign, Ferraro Gathers Funds, Staff

    By Devon Spurgeon
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, January 12, 1998; Page A04

    Democratic Senate candidate Geraldine A. Ferraro, helped by her CNN soapbox to build strong New York state poll numbers, struggled through the first week of her campaign with little money, a tiny staff and no organization outside of Manhattan. The former Democratic vice presidential nominee was on the phone six to eight hours a day, trying to raise money and hire staff. Yesterday she told NBC's "Meet the Press" that she had "in four days, received over $1.1 million in commitments."

    Her chore was complicated by a Manhattan visit from President Clinton, who on Thursday vacuumed up contributions from the Wall Street and entertainment elite, money the state Democratic Party claimed was desperately needed by local candidates.

    Meanwhile, Sen. Alfonse M. D'Amato (R-N.Y.) looked for ways to attack the woman he describes as a "formidable opponent." He hauled out the all-purpose Republican epithet "liberal." But the senator himself has softened the word's sting by embracing liberal causes in the past year, including environmentalism and the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Taking another tack, D'Amato poked at one of Ferraro's supposed political soft spots: alleged family ties to organized crime. He accused her of being a cohort of Arthur Coia, the head of the Laborers International Union of North America, which the Justice Department has investigated on racketeering charges. The problem with this accusation was that D'Amato's campaign accepted $15,000 from the same union. He has returned some of the money, according to his campaign.

    Struggling not to be ignored during all of this, Ferraro's opponents for the Democratic nomination, New York City public advocate Mark Green and Rep. Charles E. Schumer, scurried around town accepting endorsements. Green was backed by Ruth Messinger, a dubious honor coming from a New York City mayoral candidate who was crushed last fall by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R). Schumer, striking in Ferraro's home borough, won the endorsement of Queens Borough President Claire Shulman.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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