Skip to comments.Tom Daschle raises $50k in Rhode Island
Posted on 12/18/2003 1:44:00 PM PST by anonymous_user
Daschle gets R.I. money for S.D. race
Sen. Tom Daschle takes home more than $50,000 at an East Side fundraiser attended by top state businessmen and leading Democrats.
BY SCOTT MacKAY Journal Staff Writer
PROVIDENCE -- Things are definitely not looking up these days for Democratic leaders in Washington. Republicans control both chambers of Congress and are poised to hold on to their gains in next fall's elections.
A slew of Southern Democratic senators have decided against running for reelection, including such well-known incumbents as Bob Graham of Florida, John Breaux of Louisiana, John Edwards of North Carolina, Fritz Hollings of South Carolina and Zell Miller of Georgia.
President Bush is on the rise in national public opinion surveys. Fueled by a growing economy, congressional approval of a sweeping overhaul of Medicare, the capture of Saddam Hussein, and a fractious Democratic presidential race, the Republican president's reelection chances appear better every day.
Don't tell that to U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who dropped in to Providence last night for a fundraiser for his reelection campaign back in his home state.
Daschle remains an optimist, saying in a brief interview and in remarks to last night's well-heeled crowd that he believes voters still see the Democratic Party as the vessel of job growth, better health-care policies, balanced budgets and strong educational and enviromental policies.
"What kind of country do we want to be?" said Daschle. Republicans and Democrats, he said, offer "two very distinct visions" of the nation.
During the eight years of President Bill Clinton's administrations in the '90s, the U.S. economy gained 22 million jobs, Daschle said. Since Bush took office in 2001, roughly 3 million jobs have been lost, he said.
Democrats are "for keeping the ladder of opportunity down for every single person alive."
Daschle harvested more than $50,000 at the event at the East Side home of Democratic activists Jack and Sara McConnell that was attended by the top state corporate officials and leading Democrats.
Among those sipping drinks, munching shrimp and mingling at the fundraiser were Sen. Jack Reed, Attorney General Patrick Lynch, Providence Mayor David Cicilline, former Sen. Claiborne Pell, former lieutenant governor Richard Licht, Secretary of State Matthew Brown, Democratic State Chairman William Lynch and former Gov. Bruce Sundlun.
Tom Ryan, CEO of the CVS Corp., William Gilbane Jr. of Gilbane Inc., Donald Sweitzer, vice president for government affairs at GTECH Holding Corp., and a flock of State House lobbyists, including Guy Dufault and Joseph W. Walsh, attended the $1,000 per person fundraiser.
South Dakota is a prairie state that has over the years elected some strong Democratic liberals, such as former Senators George McGovern and James Abourezk, who appealed to the populist instincts of a major breadbasket state. But it is socially conservative and increasingly Republican in national politics; Bush carried the state by 22 points over Democrat Al Gore in 2000.
Daschle may face a strong GOP challenger, former U.S. Rep. John Thune, an ally of the Bush White House who lost a 2002 Senate race to Democrat Tim Johnson by 524 votes. So Daschle's Senate colleagues have been sponsoring fundraisers around the country to help him keep his seat.
At 56, the lithe and soft-spoken Daschle was first elected to the U.S. House in 1978. He moved up to the Senate in 1986 and has been reelected every six years since then.
He thanked Reed, calling him one of his "closest friends." And he thanked the McConnells, who live in a nice house on Elmgrove Avenue.
"My favorite people are those who live like Republicans and support Democrats," said Daschle.
I plan on sending his "Rah" opponent a big donation!
Actually, in South Dakota terms $50K is probably not much more than it is in RI but it's just a whole lot harder to find enough folks who don't know all they need to about Daschle and wouldn't part with the money.
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