Senator Norm Coleman (R – Minn.) may be a moderate but he brings something to the table that not many Republicans in Congress can: his Jewishness. Coleman, in his time off from Senate duties, has been traveling across the country speaking to a number of Jewish groups in Florida, New York, and California, making the pitch for their money and their votes for Bush in 2004.
Coleman, who is one of but a handful of Jewish Republicans in Congress, has been working hard for Bush on this front, perhaps with the idea that his travels and successes will give him an edge for greater political success and jobs in 2008.
“Karl Rove helped make him a star in 2002,” says an Republican National Committee staffer, “and Coleman hasn’t done anything to change that. If anything, the work he’s been doing has helped burnish his image even more.”
LAPPING THE MONEY FIELD
By the end of June the Bush-Cheney re-election team expects to have almost $20 million in the bank, which would give the president almost double what the top two or three Democratic candidates have raised combined. With three big events scheduled soon, in New York, Washington, and California, the Bushies expect to pull in between $6 to $8 million from each.
Democratic candidates such as Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards have each raised between $5 million and $6 million so far this year. While nobody inside the Bush re-election camp is talking hard numbers or making confident predictions, its members hope that the early fundraising edge that they’ve gained might force some Democratic candidates to position themselves further and further to the left in order to have at least have a shot at competing with the GOP on the cash front.
“You’re already seeing some of this with Kerry and with [Dick] Gephardt,” says an RNC fundraiser in New York. “They were trying to position themselves as moderate, but of late you’re seeing them moving further to the left because the pool of moderate money just isn’t there right now for all of them.”
Kerry’s numbers for the second half of this calendar year should improve now that he’s tapped into big money donors in Massachusetts and Silicon Valley, and after what appears to be a very successful direct mail fundraising appeal. But he has yet to hold an event that will rival the Bush fundraisers.
“You can’t expect a Democratic candidate to come even close to what a sitting president can achieve,” says a Kerry fundraiser based in Boston. “But when you look at Kerry and see that he’s pulling in more than a million a month, it’s slow and steady progress, which is more than a lot of the Democrats can say.”