Campaigns scavenge for donors

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC)speaks at a post primary campaign rally in Columbia, South Carolina.

TEXT OF STORY

KAI RYSSDAL: Two more politicians joined the ranks of the jobless today. On the Republican side, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is throwing his support behind Senator John McCain, and John Edwards called it quits in an announcement this afternoon. There's no word yet on whether Edwards will endorse one of his rivals, but that's not stopping anybody. Campaigns on both sides are going after the fresh pool of newly available donors.

Jeremy Hobson has more.


JEREMY HOBSON: Never have so many states participated in Super Tuesday, which means money matters like never before. More than 20 states, with some of the most expensive media markets in the country, will have their say next week. Evan Tracey heads the Campaign Media Analysis Group. He says the campaigns are desperately wooing the now unaffiliated donors.

EVAN TRACEY: The sooner they get there the better for the candidates that are remaining in this race, because I think literally what you're going to see over the next seven days is candidates are going to be adding to the media buys that they have, almost on an hour-by-hour day-by-day, based on what their daily fundraising tallies are.

Steve Weissman, of the Campaign Finance Institute, says for the campaigns left standing it's all about attracting the "bundlers." The super fundraisers who rally dozens of donors to give the maximum amount.

STEVE WEISSMAN: If someone has endorsed, like Giuliani with McCain, I would expect Giuliani would try to swing his bundlers behind McCain. Where they've not endorsed, like with Edwards, I think that the campaigns will be going after them.

The bundlers for John Edwards come largely from law firms. Even before Edwards withdrew, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman reportedly slipped off to a reception in Puerto Rico to court lawyers at an annual conference. Barack Obama's finance director was there too, but Colby College professor Anthony Corrado says it would be foolish to predict which candidate lawyers and other big donors will flock to now.

ANTHONY CORRADO: Many of these large donors will probably wait until Super Tuesday so they have a clearer picture of who the winner might be.

The campaigns aren't waiting. Already the front pages of both the Clinton and Obama websites have become tributes to John and Elizabeth Edwards.

In Washington, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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