June 4, 2007

Four-State Fred

The strategy for Fred Thompson's presidential run has begun to coalesce, reports the Wall Street Journal, and to no one's great shock, it relies heavily on the Internet. However, the WSJ points out an opening that hasn't seen much reporting -- and one that Fred could easily use to his advantage:

As a late entry into the crowded, expensive, presidential campaign, Fred Thompson's first big test of viability will be his ability to raise money quickly.

A major part of the former Tennessee senator's strategy is a heavy reliance on the Internet to get his message out and to raise funds. He is also trying to tap into the large number of well-heeled Republican financiers who have yet to commit to a 2008 hopeful, amid widespread disaffection among party loyalists with the current field.

Yet a late start and signs that Mr. Thompson may adopt an unconventional campaign style -- limiting in-person appearances by making extensive use of blogging and online video -- could crimp the television actor's ability to raise money over the long haul. He has suggested he isn't enamored of leaving his family for long stretches of campaign travel. The question is whether an Internet campaign will help him raise money quickly or leave big donors cold.

Howard Dean managed to raise $40 million in two quarters by relying on a strong Internet campaign -- and that was four years ago. If Fred starts in the first week of July, he would have roughly the same amount of time that Dean had before the Iowa caucuses. Dean melted down in the Iowa cornfields, but that had to do with Dean himself and not his fundraising. Fred could turn in a similar performance, and if he kept his costs down, could find himself among the top tier in funding.

In the meantime, though, the Fred campaign has discovered an interesting opening for fundraising. The existing candidates have neglected four prominent states, thanks to the unusual primary-election schedule. Fundraising has been minimal in the high-population states of Florida, Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio. Currently, Mitt Romney leads in all four, but among them they have only donated less than $7 million to GOP candidates. Ohio, traditionally a robust state for Republicans, has only donated a skosh over $500,000. Fred's advisors believe that they can score big in these states, perhaps mostly in Florida, where Gov. Charlie Crist and former Gov. Jeb Bush have refused to endorse anyone -- and have left their superior fundraising organization on the sidelines so far.

People who may have gravitated to Fred Thompson have already committed to other candidates, of course, and Thompson will have trouble luring committed high-profile fundraisers to his cause. That's the penalty for starting late. However, if Fred can successfully leverage the Internet and work his four-state strategy, he may overcome that handicap -- and success may convince some people to switch sides. A fast start on fundraising could put aside the residual doubts surrounding a Fred Thompson candidacy.


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Comments (15)

Posted by RBMN | June 4, 2007 10:22 AM

Right about now, with all this passion over immigration, Fred could raise tons of money on three facts alone: He's never been elected to anything in Massachusetts or New York City, he's not John McCain on immigration, and he has better name recognition than Duncan Hunter. Fred couldn't have timed this better if he tried.

Posted by heldmyw | June 4, 2007 10:34 AM

Electioneering to small groups is such a wasteful method of getting the message out in the days of the internet. It relies far too heavily on the non-existent fairness of the MSM and has such a predictable appearance as to be boring before the event has even begun.

I would welcome a campaign that isn't beholden to the MSM for coverage. Where pundits and reporters get in line with the rest of us mooks and are not kowtowed to.

Taking back politics from the press is a great idea! Go Fred!

Posted by maryT | June 4, 2007 10:34 AM

How about campaigning on making English the OFFICIAL LANGUAGE of the USA.
Don't let your country get bogged down in a bilingual mess, with language police, as we have here in Canada. What was hillory talking about when the question came up last night in the debate. Why are the democrats against this.

Posted by Bill Faith | June 4, 2007 10:45 AM

Did anyone besides me notice the "I guess we have to mention him but that doesn't mean we have to say nice things about him" tone to that WSJ piece? Surely it couldn't have anything to do with Fred!'s recent anti-amnesty  remarks. Could it? Might be real interesting to see how things change if News Corps succeeds in buying the Journal. I linked from my 2007.06.04 Fred! Roundup

Posted by exdem13 | June 4, 2007 10:48 AM

The Fred! campaign has hit the ground running. He may be starting in only 4 states, but those are 4 large & crucial states. Good eye on the strategery, Fred! He ought to pick up steam in other states as public awareness & support pick up. Also, the angry folks who have been boycotting the RNC over the Amnesty Issue may give him some support if they decide they like his message.

Posted by Maverick Muse | June 4, 2007 1:07 PM

Today, the best way to ensure a party win is for the PARTY to define the party platform NOW before selecting the candidate.

Did you hear the united front from Obama in debate last night?

Republicans can have a good shot at a successful campaign if the platform is stipulated NOW.

Posted by Daniel DiRito | June 4, 2007 1:33 PM

See a tongue-in-cheek list of the top ten reasons GOP voters prefer Fred Thompson be their nominee...here:


Posted by Eric | June 4, 2007 2:55 PM

Once American's learn of Mr Thomspon it is a done deal.

He is an actor, a lawyer, and a political lobbyist.

I think America has had enough of those guys.

Posted by BoWowBoy | June 4, 2007 3:04 PM

If any of the Bush's and their administrations ................or ......Bill Frist get associated with a Fred Thompson campaign ..........the guy is dead meat.

It would be the kiss of death.

Posted by Carol Herman | June 4, 2007 4:21 PM

Take a moment. And, a page from history.

Abe Lincoln. Didn't campaign at all. He saw it as a rat's nest of traps. So others campaigned for him. And, he relied on the words already written and spoken. What put him "over the top?" His New York speech, at COOPER UNION, early in 1960. What Lincoln galvanized was to RUN AHEAD OF THE "FAVORITE SON" yokels. He could, and did, gain widespread support across this nation. He also knew this going into the contest.

Next, let's take a look at Jimmy Carter. And, unknown. Who was "outside" of the usual democrapic vetting circles. He ran as a conservative. (Nothing strange about campaign lies.) And, he talked religion. To the Baptists. Made all the difference, in the 1976 campaign. Which otherwise was very lackluster. And, Gerry Ford was a boob, who had "promised not to run." Well, he changed his mind.

Okey dokey. Let's look at Ross Perot. Who went on Larry King Live;

This was followed with him using his own money; and his own support network (that he had built up fighting for the release of POW's still held, to this day, by Vietnam. Yes, folks. Americans suffer from Alzheimer's. Most people can't remember how to galvanize their concerns so that the dopes in government even hear us.

Anyway, 1992 was really very intesting, indeed. That Gulf War #1? Started by the lies told by the Kuwaiti's. But the end results? Saddam was left, alive. And, the Saud's had oil fires that men from Texas had to stomp out. Still. It didn't give "Read My Lips" Bush any great victories. So we've been having wars, from Korea, to places in Bosnia, that don't seem to do much for the reputations of American generals. (Let's hope that Irak and Afghanistan change some of this stuff. Because having too many lawyers overseeing our military, is on par with what the donks do with both the press and their stinking lawyers. They turn everything into a "Federal Case." And, then they send incompetents out to try them. Or you have a better word for Fitzgerald? And, that hyeana of a judge, Reggie Waltoon?) Of course, Bush will tell you this "idversity" meets his approval. While at the same time, it doesn't really meet with respect.

But back to Perot. How did he "campaign?" Well, not just on TV, but on Larry King Live! This galvanized the photo ops (long before there was an Internet). Where boxes of applications to have Perot's name on the ballots of 50 states, materialized out of nowhere.)

It didn't help Perot to pick a veep choice, who during his debates had a malfunctioning hearing aid. And, yet he's remembered for saying "What am I doing, here?"

Perot then went paranoid. And, had an attack. That there were "enemies" out to get him at his daughter's wedding. So, poof. He dropped ten points.

Still, for an outsider, he did claim 19%.

And, that erosion has been showing up for both parties. In other words? MOST AMERICANS, if they bother to vote at all, claim to be "independents."

As to what's running now? Yesterday, Mr. Michael said it: THIS IS ALL BEING DONE FOR THE PRIMARY VOTERS.

So, right now? Fred Thompson has to get a lot of Americans "talking." Can he do this? Why not? He seems to touch topics others view with scorn? While of all the 8 other GOP condendahs, you can practically guess what they're gonna say at every turn.

Sounds CANNED to me.

In any event FRED started with nothing. And, he has a shot. Made more so because he's "different." And, by veering clear of venues where he's not really supported (California and Connecticut's GOP hucksters comes to mind). He'll do fine.

He'll probably be gangbusters in Iowa, should he choose to go.

But remember this. FRED'S NOT RUNNING IN THE PRIMARIES. He's running, instead, around them. And, at least the GOP has a place where disappointed voters can go. It's better than just having a complaint window, "open on Tuesdays."

Want to anticipate something ahead? Supposedly, June is the month that sees Olmert here. Will Bush play his "I'm the Realtor for the Saud's, card?"

Then there's the Supreme-O's. Given Bush's record, I don't see him galvanizing "da base." And, the ONLY WAY the GOP can hold their own i Congress, is to avoid contact with any of Bush's small ideas. What can happen? I guess a call could go out to Sandra Day O'Connor "to fill in." So that Congress can "committee Bush's appointments to death." No. It won't be a clean abortion. Instead? It will come with lots of suffering.

And, what's to learn? How Fred uses these occasions to galvanize lots of Americans. Because? The big kahuna in '08 goes "beyond the base."

That's why Guiliani is the man to beat. There are enough republicans left in the party who don't want to sit in a pork infested minority.

And, only the Man Upstairs knows how all the cards will play out.

Meanwhile, my hat's off to Fred. He's made this race to the nomination all that much more exciting.

Posted by Hal | June 4, 2007 5:41 PM

It probably wouldn't be wise for Thompson to put a lot of energy into IL. The state, though populous, breaks more than 2:1 for the Democrats, so the number of Republican voters in the state is much less significant.

The IL Republican party is a mess. He'd be better off focusing on states which might be significant to his campaign.

Posted by Hal | June 4, 2007 6:02 PM

It probably wouldn't be wise for Thompson to put a lot of energy into IL. The state, though populous, breaks more than 2:1 for the Democrats, so the number of Republican voters in the state is much less significant.

The IL Republican party is a mess. He'd be better off focusing on states which might be significant to his campaign.

Posted by Pam | June 4, 2007 11:03 PM

I think Sen Thompson will be fine in fund raising. He needs to focus early states with big number delagates. Florida, California are two, but he should do well in South Carolina and Alabama. I would go to Iowa and if I finished in the top three would consider it a victory and move on to one of the Super Days.

Posted by Karen [TypeKey Profile Page] | June 4, 2007 11:18 PM

Hey Fred, I am in Michigan and I WANT to donate and drum up votes for you. I am a "little gal" kind of donor, not rich and don't know rich people. But I am converting several people a day into your supporters. Where is your website? Send us a link, so we can donate. RUN FRED RUN!!!!!!!!!

Yes, he inspires us. He will clearly resonate through all the political babble out there and reach the disaffected and disappointed votes, both moderate and conservative. I think he could also swing anti Hillary liberals over in the general election. GO FRED GO!!!!!!!

Posted by Bill | June 5, 2007 7:54 AM

Politico is reporting that George P. Bush (that would be Jeb's kid) penned a letter supporting Fred and asking for contributions.

If that's not the Florida fund raising machine getting in from the sidelines I don't know what is. Here's the link.