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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Blaine tops list of
Kerry contributors

"I think Blaine County is an extraordinarily Democratic place, and I think that has something to do with it. I also think that Democrats are extremely motivated right now."

FAITH WELLMAN, Blaine County Coordinator for Kerry election campaign

Express Staff Writer

When it comes to campaign contributions to Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign, the two counties donating the most on a per capita basis are home to two locations he’s already joked about having winter and summer White Houses—Sun Valley and Nantucket.

The Kerry family has vacation homes in both central Idaho’s Blaine County and Nantucket County in the senator’s home state of Massachusetts.

On average, Blaine County residents have donated $2.21 each to Kerry's campaign, followed by $1.11 from Nantucket residents, $1.08 from the citizens of Norfolk County, $1.03 from Washington, D.C., and $1.02 from New York City, according to an analysis in the Feb. 15 issue of the New York Times.

Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of the Massachusetts Democrat, owns a vacation home north of Ketchum, and Kerry's family owns a waterfront house not far from the Brant Point lighthouse on the island of Nantucket.

"I think Blaine County is an extraordinarily Democratic place, and I think that has something to do with it," said Faith Wellman, Blaine County coordinator for the Kerry Campaign. "I also think that Democrats are extremely motivated right now."

Betty Murphy, chair of the Blaine County Democrats, said Kerry has done well in Blaine County because it is one of his hometowns.

"They’re good neighbors," she said. "I think it’s very important for the West to have a candidate who is familiar with our problems. So, I’m delighted that the people are helping him here."

In addition to his financial ties, Kerry also established another connection to the Sun Valley area last week when he announced that Jim Johnson, a prominent Washington, D.C., Democrat and another Ketchum second homeowner, will head his search for a running mate.

But Kerry’s probable presidential opponent also has significant ties to the Intermountain West.

President George W. Bush’s has financial ties to Teton County, Wyo., where he received more money per capita—$12.64—than in Texas. And this, too, is likely a reflection of the second home connection. Vice President Dick Cheney has a residence in Jackson, Wyo.

The only county Bush drew more money per capita is in Greene County, Ga., where he brought in $14.54 per person.

As of Dec. 31, 2003, Bush collected $131 million. Kerry amassed $25 million by the same date.

"My personal thought is, how sad it is that we have to spend these phenomenal amounts of money on a campaign for anybody," Wellman said. "At some point, it seems like whoever comes up with the most money will buy the presidency."

The figures used for this report were released on Feb. 2 and included donations of $200 or more through Dec. 31, 2003. The figures were published in the New York Times on Sunday, Feb. 15.


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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.