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Graham keeps up pressure

By BILL ADAIR, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published August 24, 2003

WASHINGTON - Sen. Bob Graham's presidential campaign said Saturday that the Florida senator will keep his full-court press in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Some Democrats have questioned whether Graham, who is lagging in the polls, should scale back his effort in those states to mount a stronger effort in South Carolina, Oklahoma and Arizona, which might be more fertile ground for his moderate message.

But after a strategy meeting Saturday, Graham aides said there will be no change.

"We feel very good about Iowa and New Hampshire," said strategist Steve Jarding. "We see tremendous potential to move."

The latest polls show Graham at just 1 percent in Iowa and 2 percent in New Hampshire, but Jarding said those numbers do not reflect Graham's recent trips to those states. "It just feels like we turned a corner in both Iowa and New Hampshire," he said.

Graham has about 30 paid staffers in Iowa, 19 in New Hampshire and six in South Carolina.

Jarding would not discuss the campaign's TV or radio strategy, but he said paid media "will happen very quickly."

Fundraising, which was weak in the second quarter, has improved, Jarding said.

"We are on target to hit our goals for the quarter," he said, adding the campaign will have enough "to be competitive."

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