July 1, 2004: Headlines: COS - Liberia: Congress: Election2004 - McNally: Norwich Bulletin: RPCV McNally hopes to boost his campaign donations

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Liberia: Special Report: Liberia RPCV Shaun McNally, Candidate for Congress in Connecticut: July 1, 2004: Headlines: COS - Liberia: Congress: Election2004 - McNally: Norwich Bulletin: RPCV McNally hopes to boost his campaign donations

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RPCV McNally hopes to boost his campaign donations

RPCV McNally hopes to boost his campaign donations

RPCV McNally hopes to boost his campaign donations

McNally hopes to boost his campaign donations

By Ray Hackett
Norwich Bulletin

NORWICH -- Democratic primary challenger Shaun McNally has picked up his fund-raising activities the last month, holding about dozen small "house parties" in the last month to boost his campaign's warchest.

McNally is hoping to capitalize on the small dollar contributions from individuals, accusing his opponents - incumbent U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District and endorsed Democratic challenger James Sullivan - of chasing "tens of thousands of dollars" from special interest groups.

"While the Bush-Simmons and Sullivan (campaigns) are throwing $500 a plate dinners in Hartford, we are taking politics back to the streets," McNally said in an e-mail sent to supporters this week appealing for donations prior to Wednesday's second quarter fund-raising deadline.

"My opponents are filling their campaign coffers with tens of thousands of special interest contributions, contributions that encourage votes to be bought and sold in Washington," McNally said in the solicitation. "We need your generous support today, $25, $50, $100, whatever you can give will send a bold message to the Bush-Simmons-Sullivan (campaigns): Politics as usual is in the past."

McNally, a former three-term state legislator, has refused to accept donations from Political Action Committees.

His campaign, however, has been plagued by poor fund-raising efforts, a factor that contributed to his losing the Democratic convention endorsement in May. According to Federal Election Commission filings, McNally has raised only $79,000 in the first 10 months of his campaign. His last filing, just prior to the May 10 convention, showed him with $19,000 cash on hand, and about $15,000 in debts owed.

McNally acknowledged the "poor fund raising" was a hindrance prior to the May convention, saying he would "turn things around" in the days ahead. His fund-raising effort has focused primarily on small "house party" gatherings over the last month, with another seven planned for this month.

The second quarter fund-raising deadline passed at midnight Wednesday, covering the period from April through June 30. The FEC reports for that period are due to be filed by July 15, less than four weeks away from the Aug. 10 primary battle with Sullivan. McNally's filing will be the first indication of how strong a primary challenge he will be able to mount in his bid to win the Democratic nomination.

Campaign Manager Melea Stenzel said Wednesday the campaign expected to raise about $70,000 before the deadline passed, nearly double its fund-raising effort to date.

"The success I think, can be attributed to getting the message about Shaun out there. We're not accepting any PAC money and that's a message that I think resonates with voters and contributors," she said.

Sullivan, who won the Democratic convention endorsement by a 255-45 vote, reported more than $168,000 raised since entering the race in November, with more than $133,000 cash on hand as of his April FEC filing. Sullivan has benefited from several large contributions from union and labor PACs.

"We work with organized labor at every level, and the only way for labor to make their voices heard is to bundle their contributions," said Sullivan campaign spokesman Michael Winters. "And our support goes beyond just organized labor."

Simmons, a two-term incumbent who raised more than $2 million two years ago, reported $1.2 million raised this election cycle, with more than $656,000 cash on hand as of the end of April. More than 40 percent of his campaign funds come from PACs and political organizations.

Simmons, who typically declines to comment on claims from political opponents until after the Democratic nominee is decided, dismissed McNally's criticism Wednesday as campaign rhetoric by a candidate unable to raise money.

"When I first ran in 1999-2000, I didn't get support from any of the large, big industry groups. Subsequently, I have received their support. But it's illogical to assume they have my vote when I was elected without their support," he said Wednesday.

"It's a common practice of some candidates who are unable to get any support to make a big fuss about the issue."


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Story Source: Norwich Bulletin

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