Monday, December 19, 2005

Conventional wisdom on Allen '08 fundraising

National Journal had an article last week on the fundraising prospects of 2008 presidential hopefuls. Here is what they had to say about Sen. Allen:

At first glance, Sen. George Allen, R-Va., would seem perfectly positioned to be a money magnet. He was a popular governor of a donor-rich state. When he was chief of the NRSC, Republicans picked up five Senate seats. The son of a legendary football coach, Allen is the only potential 2008 candidate who has attracted contributions from both Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Former Allen Chief of Staff Jay Timmons is the National Association of Manufacturers' top lobbyist. Heading up Allen's Senate re-election committee is Bush Ranger Dirk Van Dongen, president of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors. Bush Ranger John Sherman is treasurer of Allen's PAC, called Good Government for America. Allen's new chief of staff, Dick Wadhams, is a veteran of Republican campaigns in the Midwest. But Allen's friends and associates worry that he lacks the patience to raise the necessary tens of millions of dollars. "He is better at closing the deal than making the sale," said one Republican who is in regular contact with top GOP fundraisers. By choice and temperament, Allen is not close to his party's major fundraisers. When he chaired the NRSC, other Republican officials complained that he repeatedly failed to show up for scheduled fundraising call sessions. Unlike virtually every other candidate who is thinking about running in 2008, Allen does not have a deep bench of fundraisers seeking commitments on his behalf. And he has no single fundraising sherpa to guide his strategy. GOP donors familiar with Allen's history predict that he will try to attract donations by virtue of his popularity with the party's political insiders and its conservative base. Allen is a regular on the GOP's regional circuit. He spent time with NRSC donors at a recent retreat on Georgia's Sea Island, for example. Cesar Conda, a principal in the lobbying firm DC Navigators and a former aide to Vice President Cheney, is an Allen fan. "Should he run in 2008, I'm supporting George Allen," Conda says. "He can carry the Reagan mantle of lower taxes, less government intrusion, more freedom, and strong traditional values into the 21st century, and he's got a unique ability to communicate those principles to everyday Americans."
So, if Allen does have any potential weakness in the '08 primaries, it might be here on the fundraising front. If he can shore up this aspect of his campaign, he could be unstoppable.

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