A Big `Gender Gap' in Campaign Contributions

It's not a surprise, but a pair of new studies show big differences between men and women when it comes to political contributions. Reports from the Center for Responsive Politics and a quartet of political scientists led by Paul S. Herrnson of the University of Maryland document a clear Democratic tilt among women who have given at least $200 to congressional candidates in this decade.

The "gender gap" in giving -- the difference in dollars reaching the two parties -- ranged from a low of 2.6 percent in the 1993-94 cycle to a high of 8.5 percent in 1997-98 The female donors are highly polarized: Liberals outnumber conservatives, with only one in five calling herself a moderate or an independent.

Women account for about one-quarter of the donations of more than $200, a figure that has not moved much since the start of the decade. But it is significantly higher than the 17 percent that was recorded two decades ago.

GOP Ex-Governors Teaming Up

Two ex-governors who played major roles in Robert J. Dole's presidential campaign have joined forces in a business and government consulting gig. Former South Carolina governor David M. Beasley is hooking up with former New Hampshire governor Stephen E. Merrill in the Boston-based Bingham Consulting Group.

Merrill was Dole's chairman when he lost to Patrick J. Buchanan in the 1996 New Hampshire primary and Beasley had the same role in Dole's comeback win in South Carolina, the victory that put him on the road to the nomination.

On the other hand, Merrill retired undefeated at the end of his second term in 1996. while Beasley was upset in a second-term bid in 1998. So they could call their partnership Winners and Losers Inc., with no prejudice toward either partner.

Western Regional Primary Plan Falters

Meanwhile, Utah GOP Gov. Michael Leavitt's dream of building a Rocky Mountain regional primary of eight landlocked western states on March 10 has been drastically scaled back. With five others saying the cost of special elections that day were prohibitive, only Utah, Colorado and Wyoming have signed up for the scheme.

And a move has surfaced among California Republicans to change the rules for their March 7 primary from winner-take-all to one that would award delegates based on separate results in each of the 52 congressional districts. It is supported by conservatives who hope it will encourage a higher turnout from their ideological soul mates in contested primaries for the legislature, but opposed by backers of Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who leads in statewide polls.

Forbes Picks Up Black Endorsements

Malcolm S. "Steve" Forbes named Herman Cain, a prominent businessman from Omaha, as one of his campaign co-chairman, adding to the list of African Americans Republicans backing his campaign.

Cain, president of the National Restaurant Association and chairman of Godfather's Pizza Inc., has long been active in GOP circles and briefly flirted with the idea of entering the race himself.

Last month, Forbes announced that Ohio Treasurer Kenneth Blackwell -- one of the small number of blacks elected to statewide offices -- would serve as national chairman of his campaign. Broadcaster Armstrong Williams and activist Alveda King, niece of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., have endorsed Forbes.

"What it shows is we've got the ability to reach out beyond our natural base to people across the spectrum," said Bill Dal Col, manager of the Forbes campaign. Forbes also has snagged a big name in California GOP politics, Steve Merksamer, to be another national co-chairman and a senior policy adviser. Merksamer, a lawyer, was chief of staff to former California governor George Deukmejian.

Quotable

Republican presidential candidate John McCain, speaking at the U.S. Conference of Mayors: "Throughout history, cities have embodied the greatness of human civilization. Jerusalem; Athens; Rome; Paris; London; New York; Des Moines, Iowa; Manchester, New Hampshire."

Staff writer Terry M. Neal contributed to this report.