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The Influence Industry: Some campaigns point to donor numbers over dollars [View All]

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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-06-11 11:40 PM
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The Influence Industry: Some campaigns point to donor numbers over dollars
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As the deadline for second-quarter donations approached last week, President Obamas reelection campaign sent out a Twitter message suggesting that the amount of money raised wasnt important.

Were measuring this campaigns strength in people, not dollars, the tweet read. Help us meet our goal of 450,000 grassroots donors.

The message illustrates an increasingly popular metric for measuring the power of a political campaign: donors over dollars.

This is particularly true for Obama, whose 2008 victory was won in part by his pathbreaking effort to attract millions of contributions of $200 or less. The many-donors route is also crucial for insurgent Republican candidates such as Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), who in the past has raised most of her money from small contributions.

(...)

From our perspective, these are the kind of donors that are really healthy for our democracy, said Mary Boyle, communications director for Common Cause, which advocates for campaign finance regulations. Its people who are clearly not expecting something in return. . . . Its a good metric of grass-roots support.

Small donors often defined as those giving less than the Federal Election Commissions $200 threshold for disclosure have long played a marginal role in national political campaigns, which typically rely more heavily on wealthy bundlers and corporate political action committees.

Obamas 2008 campaign broke that mold, in part by taking advantage of the Internet to encourage impulse and repeat donations. In the primary and general elections combined, Obama raised about $180 million from donors giving $200 or less, a far larger total than previous campaigns, according to research from the Campaign Finance Institute.

(...)

On the Republican side, two presidential candidates stand out for their reliance on smaller donors: Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.), whose chances are slim, and Bachmann, a tea party favorite who has surged in recent polls.

Eric Ostermeier, a research analyst at the University of Minnesotas Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said Bachmann raised more than 60 percent of her money from January 2010 to March 2011 from contributors giving $200 or less. Thats particularly remarkable considering that she was the leading House fundraiser in the 2010 cycle, raising more than $13 million.

full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-influence-in...
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