Thursday, September 14, 2006

Stars Fell on...McCain

In another sign that John McCain is establishing his early organizational network, he has invested heavily in Alabama. Traditionally Alabama has not been a player in Presidential Elections until this year when the state legislature moved its primary date from June to February. State party officials are encouraged:

"I think pushing up the primary date has made Alabama a player in presidential politics," said Tim Howe, executive director of the Alabama Republican Party.

In anticipation of his Presidential Campaign McCain has been making a sizable investment in the state:

U.S. Sen. John McCain's political action committee has spread around $117,500 to Alabama Republicans, the most aggressive financial strategy in the state from a potential 2008 presidential candidate so far and proof that the earlier primary is attracting national attention.

McCain also signed on Alabama Attorney General to co-chair his PAC Straight Talk America (photo above).

Last month, McCain named Alabama Attorney General Troy King the state chairman of his PAC. The PAC has given $10,000 each to King's and Gov. Bob Riley's campaigns; $5,000 to Luther Strange's bid for lieutenant governor; $5,000 to Jefferson County Commissioner Bettye Fine Collins; $5,000 to U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Vestavia Hills; and dozens of contributions to local legislative candidates.

In an encouraging sign, McCain's organization has been scooping up donations at the grassroots level. And while not the sole indicator of success, McCain's financial success certainly is a positive trend for building the grassroots network:

The campaign cash already is flowing in multiple directions. More than 300 Alabamians have cut individual checks to McCain's PAC, according to Straight Talk America financial records; McCain's PAC has given to Alabama candidates and party committees; and McCain's October appearance will generate thousands of dollars for Jefferson and Shelby Republicans.

Here's an Iowa Angle on the story:

"Just having the candidates active in the state benefits everybody," said Zac McCrary, a spokesman for the Alabama Democratic Party. "They'll employ people in the state and buy media time, and to the extent any candidates give time and resources to county or state parties, that is a benefit, too." Iowa's Vilsack, for example, donated $2,500 to the Alabama Democrats' County PAC.

While we can't and don't really want to speak to Vilsack's success in Alabama we certainly see a strong Southern operation being built by John McCain establishing a toehold in Alabama.

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