Thursday, April 20, 2006

Time on the road pays off as Bayh banks $10 million

Time on the road pays off as Bayh banks $10 million
For Howey Political Report April 20, 2006

Good news for Sen. Evan Bayh: After several months of relentless touring and fund raising, he has about $10 million in the Senate campaign account which can be applied to a run for the White House should he so choose.

The bad news? It may take up to 10 times that amount just to be considered a serious contender in the primaries, though some strategists say a challenger with "only" $35 to $50 million to spend could win the nomination if early primary victories attracted new donors.

The national election may be more than 30 months away, but the 2008 presidential contest is already shaping up to be the most expensive ever.

$100 Million Entry Fee?

"There is a growing sense that there is going to be a $100 million entry fee at the end of 2007 to be considered a serious candidate," Michael E. Toner, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, recently told the Washington Post. The newspaper notes that many analysts believe each major-party candidate will need to raise in excess of $400 million before it's all over.

By all measures, the senator is a fund raising success. As noted in the Post, Bayh has devoted more time with donors than any other 2008 candidate, and the $1 million in his All America PAC account combined with the Senate campaign funds puts him ahead of most of the competition. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is said to have $13 million leftover from the 2004 election, but the most notable exception is New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who dominates both fellow Democrats and also the Republicans with a bank book showing $18 million cash on hand.

Doug Muzzio of Baruch College explained to the New York Daily News that Clinton's eye-popping achievements not only demonstrate she can raise money but that she is an outstanding organizer as well.

"She's sending a message to the Mark Warners, the Evan Bayhs, that she's going to be extremely powerful," said Muzzio.

Former Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner, who made a fortune as co-founder of Nextel, reportedly has more than $3 million. He raised almost two-thirds of that amount in the first quarter of this year, compared with Bayh's $400,000. Among other Democratic contenders, Sen. Joseph R. Biden of Deleware reports $2.7 million on hand.

Sen. George Allen of Virginia leads the Republicans with $7.2 million, Sen. John McCain reports about $3 million and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani claims almost $300,000.

Hot On The Trail

Indiana's junior senator and former governor continues to zip around the country from one event to the next. Tomorrow Bayh headlines a $500-a-plate dinner in Tampa, Fla., hosted by Democratic consultant Bob Buckhorn. April 29 he will be keynote speaker at the North Carolina Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson celebration.

On Monday, All America PAC announced the senator will be in Indianapolis to speak at the Camp Bayh campaign training program May 12-14, a three-day seminar featuring "national and local political professionals teaching the nuts and bolts of organizing winning campaigns," according to a news release. Similar programs are scheduled for Evansville, May 19-21, and South Bend, July 7-9.

The camp is organized by Grassroots Solutions, a group of political consultants who, according to their website, help build "sustainable volunteer-based grassroots programs." For $40 to cover materials and meals, as many as 100 participants may follow one of three tracks including "Management for Political Veterans/Party Leaders," "Intro to Management for Future Paid Professionals" and "How to be a Better Candidate."

As noted by Maureen Groppe of the Indianapolis Star, the program will help place and pay for graduates in campaigns in Indiana and other states.

Red, Blue & Purple

Understanding Hoosiers may be the key to Democrat's success in the 2008 elections, according to Paul Nussbaum of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

A Democrat who understands the pragmatic sensibilities of Indiana may be able to appeal to red-state voters elsewhere, he writes. Evan Bayh, of course, happens to fit the bill.

"If the voters know you and trust you, they'll vote for you regardless of the party," Bayh told Nussbaum. "People in Indiana care about practical things...they want to know, 'How does this affect my life?'"


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