The shake-up continues at the Democratic National Committee with the exit of Beth Dozoretz as the party's chief fund-raiser.
Dozoretz told Democratic leaders she was quitting last week, just after Vice President Gore's campaign team tapped Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell as the DNC's new general chairman, replacing former Colorado governor Roy Romer in hopes of beefing up the party's fund-raising.
At a time of growing concern about the overwhelming bank account being piled up by Republican front-runner George W. Bush, Rendell has a brief to assemble his own money team. Several top party fund-raisers, including Terence R. McAuliffe, the main money man for the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign, and Peter Knight, Gore's solicitor-in-chief, had already refused a DNC role before the vice president's team sought out Rendell.
"I looked at this job as having a beginning and an end, not as a long-term career," said Dozoretz, who said she wanted to spend more time with her two children and give Rendell a chance to name his own finance chair. A friend of Gore as well as Clinton--the president is her daughter's godfather--she took on the task of helping the DNC raise $200 million earlier this year.
While veteran fund-raisers have grumbled about whether Dozoretz was up to the job, "the sense is that if she hadn't quit, she would not have been forced out," said one party official.
There's no official replacement yet for the first woman to have that post, though one source said that "all the candidates are men." A source familiar with Rendell's plans said, "There's a process that's just starting. A lot of people are putting their heads together, and the mayor's head is in there with them."
Gore Headquarters on the Move
A streamlined Gore campaign staff is packing up and moving to Nashville, where Vice President Gore will open new campaign headquarters Wednesday.
Though the move was not conceived primarily as a cost-cutter, it will have the effect of trimming staff--and expenses. And it will also, campaign aides hope, have the effect of distancing Gore from Washington and President Clinton--more than just physically.
Rent certainly will be less. The campaign reported spending $355,260 in rent for the first six months of the year, roughly $60,000 a month for almost 30,000 square feet on several floors of prime office space on K Street.
The rent for the new headquarters in Nashville ought to be less than $12,000 a month, according to a former tenant. A former rehab center, it is less than half the size of the K Street quarters. The campaign will pare down from 90 paid staffers in Washington to between 40 and 60 in Nashville, according to one campaign adviser.
Among those heading to Nashville are campaign chairman Tony Coelho, strategist Carter Eskew, press secretary Kiki Moore and field director Donna Brazile. Field operative Michael Whouley likely will not need to move because he will have responsibility for Iowa and New Hampshire. Nor is Coelho's deputy Marla Romash likely to move.
Gore 2000 will maintain some presence in Washington, but how large and where is unclear. By the end of the year, a campaign adviser said, there ought to be "virtually nothing" in Washington.
Minnesotans Re-Forming Ventura Opinions
Is Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's act wearing thin?
A poll taken in the wake of Ventura's controversial Playboy interview suggests that may be the case with many voters in the state. The Reform Party governor lost about one-fifth of his support since posting a record-high 73 percent approval rating in July, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune Poll. Fifty-four percent of Minnesotans now say they approve of the governor's job performance.
In the interview, Ventura calls organized religion a "sham," plays down the Navy's Tailhook scandal and jokes that he'd like to be reincarnated as a size 38DD bra.
Some of the poll's other findings present a mixed message for Ventura: Three-fourths of the respondents disagree with his views on religion, and 68 percent said he should use better judgment "about when to keep his opinions to himself." Another three out of five said he is not a good role model, but 57 percent said they didn't believe he was an embarrassment to the state. What's more, two-thirds see him as a strong leader.
"The governor is always going to be controversial," Ventura spokesman John Wodele told the Associated Press. "We're not going to change that, and it's heartening that the citizens are still tolerant of the governor's unorthodox style of leadership."
Staff writers Ellen Nakashima and Terry M. Neal contributed to this report.