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Who's funding Bob Graham? Mostly Fla. folk

By BILL ADAIR, MATTHEW WAITE and KITTY BENNETT
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 16, 2003

Sen. Bob Graham's presidential campaign got nearly 90 percent of its money from Florida, according to a report filed Tuesday night with the Federal Election Commission.

The report shows Graham raised $1,119,161 in the first quarter, slightly more than his aides estimated two weeks ago. Only $123,500 came from out-of-state contributors, who included billionaire Warren Buffett and author David McCullough, whose son is married to one of Graham's daughters.

Only $27,000 came from political action committees. The remainder came from individuals, who had an average contribution of $1,379.

The Graham campaign, which did not have a headquarters or a campaign manager until this month, spent only $12,482 during the first quarter. That money was used for fundraising consultants and printing.

Graham is far behind Sens. John Edwards and John F. Kerry, who each have raised about $7-million. Graham did not file papers to open his campaign until the end of February and won't formally announce his candidacy until the last week of April.

Prominent Floridians who contributed to Graham include Pensacola lawyer Fred Levin, Democratic fundraiser Mitchell Berger, former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey, former Florida State University president Sandy D'Alemberte, and trial lawyers Wayne Hogan, Robert Montgomery and Harry Jacobs.

The campaign also got $2,000 from Graham's wife, Adele, as well as $2,000 each from his daughters Suzanne Gibson and Gwen Logan.

Graham's contributors include one current member of Florida's congressional delegation, Rep. Kendrick Meek of Miami, and two former members: Jim Bacchus of Winter Park and Harry Johnston of West Palm Beach. There are at least two former state House speakers, Fred Schultz of Jacksonville and Hyatt Brown of Ormond Beach; a former Florida Democratic Party chairman, Charles Whitehead of Panama City; and a former governor, Buddy MacKay of Ocala.

In other developments Tuesday, the Republican National Committee issued a blistering statement that branded Graham "a tax-and-spend liberal in moderate's clothing."

The national committee said that while he was governor, Graham supported tax increases, nearly doubled state spending, and "left Florida in disarray."

The committee's aggressive approach on Graham is part of a broader effort to paint the Democratic presidential candidates as lefties. The party issued news releases attacking each of them Tuesday.

Sen. John Kerry was called "a Massachusetts liberal out of touch with America." Sen. John Edwards was "an unaccomplished liberal in moderate clothing and a friend to his fellow personal injury trial lawyers." Vermont Gov. Howard Dean was "an ultra-liberal on social issues who is out of the mainstream and wrong for America."

Asked about the national committee's statement, Graham said he was proud of his record. He said Florida voters supported his reforms, especially when he was governor.

"I'm very pleased that we were aggressive in approaching education, law enforcement and the environment and that the people were willing to make those improvements," he said at a campaign stop in Palo Alto, Calif.

Graham is scheduled to depart California today and fly to New Hampshire. On Thursday night, he will attend a barbecue in Manchester called "Get Down and Dirty with Bob Graham."

First Democratic debate scheduled for May 3

Primary season is right around the corner and ABC will cover the first debate of the Democratic candidates May 3.

The debate will be held in Columbia, S.C., and will be moderated by George Stephanopoulos, anchor of ABC News' This Week. It will be broadcast on ABC News radio; on ABC News Live, the network's 24-hour Internet broadband news service; and in excerpts on This Week.

-- Information from Zap2it and the Associated Press was used in this report.

Democratic presidential hopefuls' estimated fundraising totals as of March 31:

Carol Moseley Braun, $72,450

Howard Dean, $2.6-million

John Edwards, $7.4-million

Dick Gephardt, $3.5-million

Bob Graham, $1.1-million

John Kerry, $7-million

Dennis Kucinich, $173,080

Joe Lieberman, $3-million

Al Sharpton, no report

-- Associated Press

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