|Edwards for President, Inc.
On January 2, 2003, Sen. Edwards announced formation of a presidential exploratory committee. Edwards for President, Inc. is headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina. Nick Baldick, a former top Gore operative, is the campaign manager. Key finance people are national finance chair Eileen Kotecki, who was national finance director of Al Gore's 2000 campaign, and co-national finance directors Brian Screnar and Scott Darling, who previously served a similar role with Edwards' leadership PAC, New American Optimists.
2nd Q 2003: Edwards'
intake of $4.5 million marked a significant tailing off from his leading
first quarter total of $7.4 million, placing him fourth among the Democratic
field for the quarter. The campaign highlighted the positive in its
July 15 press release: "Edwards number two in total raised and cash on
1st Q 2003: The committee held its first fundraiser on the evening of Jan. 4, 2003 at Greenshields in downtown Raleigh. The Edwards campaign was first to announce its first quarter numbers on March 31; the figure of $7.4 million proved to be the highest of any of the candidates, surprising observers and giving a boost to the campaign. However, the feat was tarnished somewhat a couple of weeks later when the Washington Post reported Edwards' campaign was returning $10,000 in contributions to employees of a Little Rock law firm after a clerk told reporters her boss had said he would reimburse her for contributing to Edwards' campaign. See. Thomas B. Edsall and Dan Balz. "Edwards Returns Law Firm's Donations." Washington Post, April 18, 2003, page A1. See also 1st Q Disbursements.
New American Optimists
In August 2001 Sen. Edwards formed a leadership PAC, the New American Optimists. The "Optimists" brought on Steve Jarding as its director starting January 2002. Jarding, a top-notch operative, had recently managed Mark Warner's successful campaign for governor of Virginia in 2001; previously, he worked for Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-NE) for many years through to 1998, when Kerrey left the Senate. Jarding brought with him to the Optimists some of the people who had worked on the Warner campaign, including the colorful David "Mudcat" Saunders to work on rural outreach.
A number of people from Al Gore's 2000 campaign appeared in various consulting roles. Nick Baldick, a former Gore operative, helped organize Edwards' first trip to New Hampshire in February 2002 as well as subsequent New Hampshire trips. David Ginsberg (Ginsberg Lahey LLC, Washington, DC) who directed research for the Gore campaign, began doing research consulting for the Optimists fairly early in 2002. (Although he is not a Gore campaign alumnus, Jonathan Prince, a former Clinton speechwriter and advisor now of Isay, Klores, Prince in New York, started about the same time). The Washington, DC consulting firm of Shrum, Devine & Donilon, Inc., the folks who oversaw media for the Gore campaign, produced almost $2 million soft-sell, get-out-the-vote media campaign focused primarily on North Carolina in fall 2002. [IRS form 8872 filings for the 3rd Quarter, Pre-General and Post-General showed expenditures to the firm totaling $1,948,139.63].
The Optimists was by far the most aggressive among the Democratic '04 prospects' leadership PACs in soliciting major contributions, and most of its money came from trial lawyers. Los Angeles producer Steven Bing was the biggest donor, contributing a total of $900,000. All told there were 30 contributions of $50,000 or more, 28 from attorneys or law firms.
With its ample resources, the Optimists engaged in many creative efforts to curry support and boost Democratic candidates in key states. In April 2002, the Optimists sent 123 computers to Iowa and 53 computers to New Hampshire, on loan, for Democrats to use on their 2002 campaign efforts. Optimists purchased the voter files in Iowa and New Hampshire.
In addition to putting money in key presidential primary states, the Optimists invested substantial resources in Edwards' home state of North Carolina. The IRS second quarterly report showed $500 contributions to 25 North Carolina State House candidates and $1,000 contributions to 21 State Senate candidates for a total of $33,500; in the third quarter Optimists sent a total of $66,500 to State House, State Senate, and judicial candidates in North Carolina and $15,000 to the state party; and the IRS post-general report (Oct. 17-Nov. 25, 2002) showed a contribution of $50,000 to the state party. However, the biggest investment went to produce and run those get-out-the-vote TV spots featuring Edwards.
Top Donors (Total Contributions through Nov. 25, 2002):
$100,000 -- Frederick M. Baron, Attorney (Dallas, TX); Wade E. Byrd, Attorney (Fayetteville, NC); Foster & Sear (Arlington, TX); Girardi and Keese (Los Angeles, CA); Law Offices of Reagan Silber & Trevor Pearlman, LLP (Dallas, TX); Wayne A Reaud, Attorney (Beaumont, TX); Steven B. Sandler, Developer (Virginia Beach, VA); Law Offices of Shernoff, Bidart & Darras (Claremont, CA); Wilkes & McHugh PA (Tampa, FL). [$900,000]
$50,000-$100,000 -- $95,000-Shepard A. Hoffman, Attorney (Dallas, TX). $75,000-Joseph W. Cotchett, Attorney (Burlingame, CA); Waters & Kraus (Dallas, TX); Lisa A. Baron, Attorney (Dallas, TX). $58,000-James R. Duffy, Attorney (Uniondale, NY); Lopez, Hodes, Restaino, Milman, Skikos & Polos (Newport Beach, CA). [$436,000]
$50,000 -- Bruce A. Broillet, Attorney (Los Angeles, CA); Russell Budd, Attorney (Dallas, TX); Clifford Law Offices, P.C. (Chicago, IL); Cooney and Cooney (Chicago, IL); Fisher, Boyd, Brown, Boubreaux & Hugeunard (Houston, TX); Wayne Hogan, Attorney (Jacksonville, FL); Thomas A. Moore, Attorney (New York, NY); John M. O'Quinn, Attorney (Houston, TX); Power Rogers & Smith, P.A. (Chicago, IL); Paul S. Minor, Attorney (Biloxi, MS); Weitz & Luxenburg (New York, NY). [$550,000]
See also: Center
for Responsive Politics
Edwards for Senate ('04 re-election)
Copyright © 2002, 2003 Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action