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AJC's 2004 Election Politics Sites and Blogs Campaign Finance
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Tuesday, December 2, 2003
Welfare for Candidates

By Steven Taylor @ 10:27 am

In this case kudos to George Bush, Howard Dean and John Kerry for foregoing government handouts.

Some Dem. Candidates Get Financial Boost

Candidates participating in the presidential public financing system will get their first taxpayer-financed payments Jan. 2. Democratic hopeful Wesley Clark expects the biggest check, about $3.7 million, followed by rival Joe Lieberman with about $3.6 million.

Here’s how the system works:

Under the program, the government matches the first $250 of each private donation received by primary candidates who accept an overall $45 million spending limit, up to about $18.7 million. Taxpayers pay for the program by checking a box on their income-tax returns to direct $3 to it.

My position is: if you can’t raise the money yourself after all this time, perhaps that says something about your ability to garner actual support.

On a side note, Braun may not make it:

One candidate still trying to qualify in recent weeks, Carol Moseley Braun, was wrapping up her paperwork Monday and did not expect to make the deadline. That means she would get her first government payment in February; Braun’s campaign hopes for about $300,000 then.

“We’ll definitely make that deadline, if I have to crawl to file it,” Braun campaign manager Patricia Ireland said.

Of course, if one isn’t raising much money, the lack of matching funds may not matter much, shall we say.

UPDATE: This post is stuck in traffic over at the BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

Filed under: 2004 Campaign

Click here to go to the main page.


  1. Ok, off-topic a little, but here’s a question for the political smarties.

    Here in America we have a strong, nearly-exclusive 2-party system. We have 9 democrats vying for one of the parties today.

    In 1996, after looking around a bit, I found that we had 11 Republicans at one point. Which surprised me, but when I read the list of names I remembered every one.

    Only one person can win the nomination. Realistically only 3 maybe 4 have a chance.

    So here’s my question:

    Why do so many nominees feel compelled to become candidates? What is the motivation? Is it message? national exposure? Certainly Sharpton, Mosely-Braun & Kunich never had a chance. But why run?

    In 96, Pete Wilson, Alan Keyes & Dornan never really had a chance. But why bother? What is the attraction? Is it just to get $$ and establish organizations? Name recognition?

    Thanks for input. Links are good.

    Comment by Eric — Tuesday, December 2, 2003 @ 10:51 am

  2. It is a great question. I find myself wondering about this one myself.

    Some simple answers: ego, the hope of being the underdog who makes it, vice presidential offers, upping one’s name recognition to launch a further political career or speaking tour, the chance to “get one’s message out", because they like the spotlight, and self-delusion.

    And I think that there were 12 Reps running in 2000 over the course of the process:

    Buchanan (switched to the Reform Party)
    Elizabeth Dole
    Gary Bauer
    Orrin Hatch
    John Kasich
    Alan Keyes
    Dan Quayle (quit in 1999)
    Steve Forbes

    Comment by Steven — Tuesday, December 2, 2003 @ 11:05 am

  3. It would be an interesting study to track what happens to candidates after running unsuccessfully for office.

    For instance, Gore in ‘88 launched himself to the vice presidency 4 years later. Quayle in ‘2000 has done nothing. Gephart to the Majority/Minority position after previous runs. (or maybe he had those positions before his first run) McCain has become a national figure inspite of losing ‘2000.

    So where will Edwards be in ‘08? What about Dean if he loses? One senses that this was Kerry’s & Gephart’s last stand. Clark? And what of Gore? Or H. Clinton? Both opted out, but I don’t think they are down.

    Comment by Eric — Tuesday, December 2, 2003 @ 11:36 am

  4. It depends on the candidate. If you saw the news yesterday Al Sharpton is living the high life staying in 4 star hotels and running up $7000 limo bills and the taxpayers pay half.

    Further it give the whacked out, burnt out, has-been a title.

    Today when he whines (er speaks) he is the REVEREND Al Sharpton.

    Next year he will be Reverend and FORMER PRESIDENTIAL candidate Al Sharpton.

    If you discount how much power that brings look at John McCain.

    Comment by Paul — Tuesday, December 2, 2003 @ 4:35 pm

  5. Well, I like to think that John McCain has more clout in America (both before and after his 2000 bid) than Sharpton has or will. Regardless of the fact that both are former prez. candidates, McCain’s standing has been built on a solid reputation as a legislator, veteran & a man of ideals.

    But maybe I’m misreading your post Paul.

    Comment by Eric — Tuesday, December 2, 2003 @ 5:45 pm

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