When Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) and former vice president Walter F. Mondale passed through here within 24 hours of each other for fund-raisers, the Glenn people couldn't refrain from drawing a contrast.
"The other candidate met with a small group of people in an exclusive men's club," James Calaway, an independent oilman who is Glenn's state treasurer, told a cheering throng of nearly 1,000 who had paid $100-a-head for cocktails.
The Mondale event, of course, was never designed to be anything but intimate, yet the symbolism seemed apt. When it comes to what what presidential politicking is about in Texas these days--it's spelled m-o-n-e-y--John Glenn is flexing his muscles.
The crowded cocktail party Friday was his third major fund-raiser in the city Glenn calls his "second home." (He spent six years here as an astronaut.) It brought his total Texas take to $475,000, his best showing outside of Ohio and more than double Mondale's $225,000.
(Nationally, according to mid-year financial reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, the roles are reversed: Mondale raised $5.1 million to Glenn's $2.6 million.)
Glenn is well-positioned to dig still deeper into the pockets of Texas. Over the weekend he announced that a dozen more party leaders and moneymen had joined the bandwagon. The list was headed by former governor Dolph Briscoe and Dallas business leader Jess Hay, who was instrumental in raising $7 million last year for Gov. Mark White (D). Along with Calaway, who headed President Carter's fund raising in 1980, and Lt. Gov. William Hobby, one of the state's most effective inside politicians, the Glenn lineup in Texas is formidable.
Mondale, of course, is no slouch. Some Glenn people concede that if the precinct caucuses were held now, Mondale would win handily. He has deep strength with organized labor and party regulars. His two state leaders are former state party chairman Calvin Guest and Railroad Commissioner Buddy Temple, son of east Texas lumber and media magnate Arthur Temple.
In Texas, the presidential precinct caucuses have historially attracted a healthy sprinkling of activists slightly left of the rank-and-file Democrats. If the pattern holds, it will work in Mondale's favor.
Given the vagaries of the calendar, Texas serves as an "exporting state" in the presidential primary process. The selection process for the state's 200 delegates (the third biggest delegation in the party, behind California and New York) does not begin until May 5, late in the game.
So the money raised here mainly gets spent in places like Iowa and New Hampshire. And the candidates are massing their organizing troops elsewhere. Mondale opened an office here only last week and has a paid staff of just one. Glenn won't formally open an office until Oct. 1.
Mondale spend 48 hours in Texas late last week, and aside from one meeting in Houston with Rep. Mickey Leland (D-Tex.) and other black leaders, it was almost exclusively a fund-raising swing. The total take for the trip was $75,000. "Normally, I like to do that much in a single night," said national treasurer Tim Finchem.
"A lot of this was a prospecting trip," Finchem added, "and I think there will be payoffs down the road. In a growing state like Texas with so many new people, you've got to network out to the young lawyers, doctors, real estate people. Basically, it's an organization job."
Finchem said that nationally Mondale's fund raising is down this quarter, and total proceeds will be just $1 million. But he is hoping for a $3 million fourth quarter, with the fund-raising efforts bolstered by the expected endorsements from the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO later this week.