The Democratic National Committee, spurred by recent political victories by blacks in Chicago and Philadelphia and by the possibility of a black presidential candidate, is trying to raise money for a $5 million voter registration campaign among blacks, Hispanics and other minorities, a DNC official said yesterday.
In January, before Harold Washington's surprise ride to victory in the Chicago mayoral primary on the votes of newly registered blacks, party officials were contemplating a voter registration program of about $200,000.
Now, party chairman Charles T. Manatt has approved plans for trying to raise $1.8 million this year and more than $3 million next year, according to DNC vice chairman Richard G. Hatcher, mayor of Gary, Ind.
"I see this as simply a continuation of that reappraisal and reevaluation of the party's position in respect to voter registration and the black vote because there is a fire burning in this country in the black community," Hatcher said in a telephone interview yesterday.
Former vice president Walter F. Mondale, one of the leading contenders for the party's presidential nomination, yesterday became the first candidate to officially endorse the effort by pledging to contribute as much as $1 million in campaign funds to register blacks, Hispanics, women, seniors and youth.
"These Americans, so crucial to our party, have been explicitly written off by the Republican Party," Mondale said in a written statement. "For us to ensure their participation is not only good government, it is also good politics. I am convinced that this registration campaign can make the margin of victory in 1984."
Hatcher said the campaign would be targeted in 25 states, several in the South. In at least four southern states--North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Mississippi--registering 25 percent of the unregistered but eligible blacks would erase the Republican margins of victory in the 1980 presidential elections and the 1978 Senate contests, he said.
Several black groups, including the Voter Education Project of Atlanta and the National Coalition on Black Voter Participation based in Washington, already have begun wide-scale voter registration efforts.
This week, Jesse L. Jackson, president of Operation PUSH, made several appeals for increased black voter participation in Alabama as part of a summer-long voter registration campaign in the South, where more than half the nation's blacks live.