Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
"No I don't mind shelling out $250 for a party for Gillis Long," said lawyer Tom Boggs Tuesday night, "Because with this $250 you're buying into two races - $125 for Congress and $125 for governor."
Democratic Rep. Gillis Long from Dugdemonia Bayou, La., is not running for governor of that state - yet. But he has twice before, and might again in 1979, if, he says, "the polls are good enough for me to get out there and raise the $1 million that race would take."
That gubernatorial race, however, was not the point of Tuesday night's fund-raiser for Long, which was held in the garden of Washington lawyer Thomas Corcoran and hosted by Louisiana Sen. Rusell Long and Speaker of the House Thomas P. O'Niell (who was not there).
Nonetheless, 200 or more supporters, most of them men, did turn up, paying $250 a head to fight the cold on whiskey and a Louisiana buffet of shrimp remoulade, eggplant and Oysters Rockefeller dip.
Asked why his party had such a hefty entrance fee, the loquacious Rep. Long replied, "Well, unfortunately, if you want to entertain friends nowadays, it comes to about $10 or $12 per person anyway, and you end up putting out throw the party. So this time we thought we'd just cut down on the number invited and raise the price."
Not, that is, that Rep. Long's political coffers are exactly threadbare right now. "Yes, I do have $118,000 in my campaign fund right now - most of which was left over from my last congressional race, which wasn't that hard. But next time, if a campaign starts against me, it's going to be monstrous, so I've got to have a fairly substantial reserve."
Among those who dropped in Tuesday night was Frank Moore, head of the White House congressional relations office, who said he still had two the four other congressional fund raisers going on around town last night included parties for James Quillen (R-Tenn.), Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), Rep. John La Falce (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ray Roberts (D-Tex.).
"Gillis had voted almost straight down the line for Jimmy Carter and has never asked us for a thing," said Moore, partially explaining his presence there.
After Moore departed, however, one House committee aide said in reference to the White House's still-strained relations with Capitol Hill: "During the Lance thing, the heat went off Frank. But now that that's over, I'm afraid Frank's back to where he was - hunkering down like a jackrabbit in a hailstorm waiting for the storm to pass."
As for Concoran, he spent most the evening holding hands with Rep. Lindy Boggs (D-La.), whom he described as a "very dear and old friend."
"Do you know why this house is so wonderful for political parties?" he asked, pointing to the upper level of the main house. "Because here, the candidate can feel right at home. He can stand on that balcony and pretend he's Mussolini."