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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of April 24 - 30, 2002


Craig edges out Blinken in first-quarter fund-raising

BOISE (AP)—Republican Sen. Larry Craig picked up the fund-raising pace last winter, collecting another $366,000 from January through March in his bid for a third six-year term, new campaign finance disclosure reports showed.

And Democratic challenger Alan Blinken, of Ketchum, left little doubt he intends to make Craig use every dime. His disclosure report showed nearly as much in contributions augmented with $245,000 from his own fortune.

The Wall Street investment banker and former ambassador to Belgium during the Clinton administration attracted nearly as much from individuals as Craig. In both cases the vast majority of those donors lived outside Idaho.

Craig got $269,000 from 396 contributors, and 256, or 64 percent, were not Idaho residents. Blinken received $261,000 from 472 contributors, and 387, 82 percent, were not Idaho residents.

"In a democracy, politics never stop," Craig wrote in his latest fund-raising letter postmarked April 3. "With that reality fully in mind, it is clear that if I ignore the probability of a strong and well financed Democrat candidate—it will be at my own peril!"

Craig had to write off maximum $2,000 contributions from three contributors, Anthony Burges of New York and D.H. and Marjorie Overmeyer of Linden, Ala., because their checks bounced. He also turned back a $2,000 contribution from the Coeur d’Alene Tribe.

Craig raised another $97,000 from special interest political action committees to average $122,000 a month from January through March. Last year when he began his re-election effort in earnest, Craig raised just over $1 million, an average of about $85,000 a month.

Blinken, who faces Dave Sneddon of Boise in the May primary, got another $45,000 from political and special interest committees, making his total $306,000.

Sneddon has filed no information with the Federal Election Commission.

The cash cushion built up last year by Craig with $845,000 in the bank on April 1. Blinken had $145,000 and only because of his personal loan.

Still, his allies offered the financial report as evidence that his campaign has broad support and was not a self-financed political bid by a wealthy businessman, who lives near Sun Valley.

His list of financial supporters is studded with political and other stars. Among them are: Vernon Jordan, former president of the National Urban League and adviser to former Presidents Clinton and Carter; Lloyd Cutler, former White House counsel in the Clinton administration; former Seagram’s chief executive Edgar Bronfman; Teresa Heinz, widow of the former Republican senator from Pennsylvania who is now married to Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and has a home in Sun Valley; former Republican state Rep. M. Reed Hansen of Idaho Falls; RCA entertainment director William Sarnoff, entertainer Barbra Striesand and actors Ben Stiller, Edward Norton and Timothy Dalton.

Blinken has already paid $123,000 to Democratic consultant Bob Beckel, who worked in the Carter administration and was Walter Mondale’s campaign manager in 1984. He has also spent $85,000 on the television advertisement that has been airing recently and another $21,000 on a poll.

Craig has spent over $145,000 on direct mail solicitations like the one sent out earlier this month and another $18,000 on other fund-raising strategies. He spent nearly $300,000 on direct mail last year.

Facing Democratic business Walt Minnick in 1996, Craig went into debt spending $2.8 million to win a second term with 57 percent of the vote. Minnick spent over $2 million—half from his own pocket—to get just under 40 percent.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.