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Shays outpacing opponent in fundraising
Shays outpacing opponent in fundraising
Shays outpacing Farrell in fundraising
By:Bonnie Adler , Staff Writer
Political campaigns can't run without money, but loads of cash on hand do not necessarily guarantee a win in any race. Some of Americaís richest men - Steven Forbes, Ross Perot, and Nelson Rockefeller come to mind - who might not have missed the money they spent on their political campaigns, did not succeed in gaining the presidential seats they set their sights on despite formidable war chests for the campaigns.
Here in Westport, where the race for the Fourth Congressional District seat has become a highly watched race, Diane Farrell, the town's popular Democratic first selectwoman, is running a formidable campaign against well-known eight-term incumbent Republican Christopher Shays.
Candidates are required by law to disclose the amount of money they raise for their campaigns to the Federal Election Commission on a quarterly basis. Shays has raised more than a million dollars and is outpacing Farrell's fundraising efforts, despite a highly visible campaign on the part of his energetic challenger.
During the most recent quarter, Shays raised $456,513 to Farrell's $350,388. Shays had cash on hand of $657,115 as of June 30, while Farrell had $587,644.
In the first quarter of the year, Farrell surprised political pundits by raising more than her entrenched opponent, pulling in $370,000 to Shays $250,000.
Shays has raised more than $1 million for the campaign for the first time in his career. His last two Congressional races were against Democrat Stephanie Sanchez, who was unable to raise the amount of money that Farrell has now received. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit group which keeps tabs on political fundraising and spending, Sanchez spent $110,699 in the 2002 election. Farrell will far exceed that amount.
Shay's campaign manager Mike Sohn said, "We're happy with the fundraising for the period. It's a testament to Shay's 17 years of service, his hard work and his independence for the people of the Fourth District."
He added, "Chris is doing the fundraising necessary to run an effective campaign. His supporters are strongly showing their support and contributing financially." Sohn said that Shays receives strong support from many individuals within the district, as well as those from outside the district who mainly support him because of his positions on campaign finance reform and the fact that he refused to vote for impeaching President Clinton.
Farrell maintains that her funds, which are mostly in amounts of $100 or less, are from families in the district who are "eager for a change." Farrell has accused Shays of supporting the Republican agenda, spending less time in the district on issues of concern to constituents.
In a telephone interview, Sohn said that Shays has kept up his usual very busy schedule, visiting his constituents in the district with a dizzying array of appointments that included several television appearances and stops in Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield, Trumbull, and Westport, where he attended a private party.
Shays' recent visits in Westport have included a stop during the Memorial Day parade, the July 4th campaign opening celebration, and a visit to Festival Italiano.
Shays most recently was televised discussing his support of the 9/11 Commission concerning its findings. He endorsed a bipartisan review of those findings in September when Congress reconvenes. According to a statement on Shays' Website, Shays "held 20 hearings on the terrorist threat before Sept. 11. In 34 hearings since Sept. 11 and through his oversight of the nation's military, intelligence and homeland security operations, he has sought to ensure we are better prepared for and working hard to prevent future attacks." Shays work was cited in the commission's report in two places.
©Westport Minuteman 2004