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Republicans Hope Cash Edge Will Win Battle for California

Politics: The Bush camp plans to spend $1.5 million a week on advertising in the state, prompted by a poll that showed the Texan narrowing Gore's lead.


WASHINGTON — The Republicans have twice as much money as Democrats to wage the final four weeks of the battle for the White House, and GOP officials said Wednesday they hope the cash advantage helps wrest California from Al Gore's campaign.

Republicans said they plan to start spending $1.5 million a week on advertising in the state, citing a GOP-commissioned poll that showed Texas Gov. George W. Bush within 6 percentage points of Gore in California.

However, an independent survey released the same day by the Field Institute showed Gore leading Bush 50% to 37% among likely California voters, and most analysts agree Bush is a longshot in the state. Partisan polls such as the one Zogby conducted tend to have a built-in bias for the candidate or party that commissions the survey.

Still, Republicans seized on the Zogby data to explain their decision to pump more resources into California--which, not incidentally, could help GOP candidates in several closely contested House races, including several in the Los Angeles media market.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday October 18, 2000 Home Edition Part A Part A Page 3 Metro Desk 1 inches; 29 words Type of Material: Correction
Democratic offices--A story last week inaccurately stated the number of Democratic Party field offices in California. The number Tuesday was 118, although more are being added as the Nov. 7 election nears.

Democrats Forsake Running Gore Ads

The Democratic Party, meanwhile, has not run ads for Gore. Jennifer Backus, a party spokeswoman, suggested Republicans are "throwing money away in California."

"I hope they continue for the next four weeks to say that," responded John Peschong, a local Republican spokesman. "Let them do absolutely nothing."

Instead of advertising, the Democrats are focusing their efforts and spending in the state on a get-out-the-vote ground campaign that targets registered voters and reminds them to vote through phone calls and mailings.

"We are by no means taking a single vote for granted in California," said Peter Ragone, a spokesman for Gore's California campaign. "We are running a vigorous campaign here."

News of the Republican National Committee's new drive in California comes amid reports from both parties showing them awash in political money. The RNC raised more than $100 million in the three-month period from July 1 to Sept. 30, while the Democratic National Committee raised $55 million.

Parties Have Broken Fund-Raising Records

The RNC had $45 million to $50 million on hand at the end of September, while the DNC had $25 million, according to party officials. Both parties are in good shape with "hard money" contributions, which are limited to $20,000 per person and are necessary for funding advertisements and other kinds of spending.

Both parties' fund-raising for the quarter broke records and put them ahead--in the Republicans' case, way ahead--of where they were at this point four years ago.

Most of the GOP's war chest will be spent on advertising, said RNC spokesman Terry Holt. The party is also conducting an aggressive ground war to get out its vote, but the bills have already been paid for much of that--from paid telephone banks to pamphlets, bumper stickers, posters and mailings.

Backus said that the DNC does not worry about the disparity in funds available because the Democrats have an energized network of volunteers around the country.

"Republicans always have more money than Democrats," said Backus. "We win elections because we use old-fashioned shoe leather as opposed to gobs and gobs of cash."

Holt scoffed at the Democrats' claims that they have an aggressive ground campaign in California. The Republicans have set up 238 field offices while the Democrats have 77. The Democrats, however, can count on a large ground operation conducted by their union allies.

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