Originally created 09/22/04

Big donors fill party coffers



COLUMBIA - The average South Carolina donor to the state Democratic Party gave six times more money than his Republican counterpart gave to the local GOP in August, Federal Election Commission reports show.

Individual donors gave an average of $1,981 to the Democrats, compared with $336 for the Republicans. Overall, however, South Carolina Republicans took more money from individual donors, the reports show.

"That speaks volumes," state Republican Chairman Katon Dawson said. "We raise it in smaller amounts from regular people. ... We don't have trial lawyers. We don't have unions. We don't have Hollywood helping us."

But the party does have other help. On Tuesday, a fund-raiser in Florence featuring former President Bush was expected to pump nearly $250,000 into races to be decided Nov. 2.

Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards is in Columbia today for a fund-raiser. But none of that money directly benefits South Carolina candidates, said Michelle Macrina, the acting executive director for the state Democratic Party.

Democrats aren't apologizing for the big-dollar donors.

Individuals can give state parties as much as $10,000 under federal law and "we're trying to max out all of our donors," Ms. Macrina said. In August, two donors, Tom Ervin of Greenville and Martha Faucette of Columbia, gave the maximum.

"Hopefully, you'll see more next month," Ms. Macrina said.

Both parties are showing a reliance on out-of-state dollars. Democrats took in $35,000 from political action committees and unions. Republicans had no money from PACs or unions during August.

The Democratic National Committee, the Association of State Democratic Chairs' Dollars for Democrats and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee gave the state party $205,000 in August. Republicans picked up $162,503 from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and nothing from the Republican National Committee.

Democrats were spending money faster than Republicans in August, leaving them with only a fraction of the GOP's cash. Democrats had $55,936 in cash on hand Aug. 30, compared with $427,663 in cash for the GOP.

"We're going to pull out all the stops to raise every nickel that we can raise," Mr. Dawson said.

In 2002, Republicans outspent Democrats 2-1 and won all but two statewide offices, Ms. Macrina said. "We're doing everything we can to make sure that doesn't happen again," she said.

AUGUST NUMBERS

South Carolina Democrats and Republicans are scrambling to raise money for the U.S. Senate and House races in November. Here's how they did in August:

S.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY

Amount taken in: $289,840

Money from individuals: $36,620

Money from national party transfers: $205,220

Spent: $346,516

Cash on hand Aug. 30: $55,936

S.C. REPUBLICAN PARTY

Amount taken in: $251,451

Money from individuals: $80,430

Money from national party transfers: $162,503

Spent: $104,812

Cash on hand Aug. 30: $427,663

Source: Federal Election Commission filings