Originally created 12/16/05

Governor asks rival to support re-election



ATLANTA - Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor received a letter with an unusual fundraising request: Gov. Sonny Perdue needed his help to defeat Mark Taylor.

Mr. Perdue's re-election campaign sent Mr. Taylor and Secretary of State Cathy Cox - his Democratic opponents in next year's election - letters at their state Capitol offices asking for campaign donations.

Mr. Taylor also received a letter at his Atlanta home.

The signed note from the Republican governor ends, "Mark, your personal support will mean the world to Mary and me. From the Perdue family to your family, best wishes for a safe and joyous holiday season."

Nick Ayers, who runs the governor's re-election campaign, said the direct mailing firm the campaign uses sent fundraising letters to some Georgians who have given to Democrats in the past, which is likely how Mr. Taylor and Ms. Cox were on the mailing list.

"We've experienced great success from mailing to Democratic donors in Georgia," said Mr. Ayers, who said he did not check the list before the letters were sent.

"Our opponents talk about bipartisan support. We actually get it."

While it is not illegal to solicit donations at the Capitol, it might be "bad form," said Teddy Lee, the executive secretary of the State Ethics Commission.

Mr. Perdue and his opponents are scrambling to raise money for the election campaign before the Jan. 9 start of the legislative session, when elected officials are barred from accepting campaign contributions.

Even in the fundraising frenzy, Morton Brilliant, Ms. Cox's campaign manager, said there were no plans to return the favor by sending Mr. Perdue a fundraising letter.