Donor reports confirm stereotypes: Celebrities for Franken, lawyers for Ciresi and business interests for Coleman.
WASHINGTON - Ex-comedian Al Franken not only raised more money than any of his adversaries in the U.S. Senate race during the past three months, he also far outspent his two closest rivals.
The Franken campaign, its coffers flush from a long list of celebrity donors such as Rosie O'Donnell, spent more than $1.1 million in the quarter ending June 30, almost half of it on telemarketing.
In all, Franken's spending more than doubles the $493,642 spent by incumbent Republican Norm Coleman, and is nearly ten times the $103,904 spent by DFL rival Mike Ciresi.
The campaign spending is detailed in new reports to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) providing complete donor lists. As expected, Franken's roll call of boldface names reflected his fundraising prowess among Hollywood superstars and grass-roots liberal activists nationwide.
Ciresi, by contrast, appears to be relying more heavily on homegrown high rollers, particularly lawyers. And Sen. Norm Coleman is cashing in on PAC (Political Action Committee) money, which his campaign says usually breaks for the incumbent at this stage in the race.
Each fundraising strategy has its controversy: Republicans have tried to connect Franken to liberal Hollywood, and Ciresi to trial lawyers; Democrats, meanwhile, would like to tie Coleman to Washington special interests.
"We welcome the support we receive from these organizations that believe in Norm Coleman's vision for Minnesota," said his campaign director, Cullen Sheehan.
Leslie Sandberg, communications director for Ciresi, said his campaign expects criticism about support from fellow trial lawyers but sees it as a positive. "These are the people who know Mike best," Sandberg said.
In all, she added, 68 percent of Ciresi's money this quarter came from donors inside Minnesota, compared to about 50 percent for Coleman, and about 20 percent of Franken's donors.
Franken's campaign defended its Hollywood donations by chiding Coleman's big business contributions and saying that Franken's celebrity donors won't ask for earmarks.
Coleman No. 1 in cash on hand
Almost half of Franken's spending went to powerhouse Democratic telemarketer Gordon and Schwenkmeyer Inc. (GSI), a California-based firm that helps provide a fundraising infrastructure to attract small-dollar donors, Franken's fundraising director said.
"These are the people putting bumper stickers on their cars, signs on their lawns and holding coffee parties on small town Main Street Minnesota," said Dinah Dale. "It's not just a fundraising tool but it helps build a base."
While Franken's campaign builds up a small-donor program, it appears to be doing so with money from big-name givers. Actor Dan Aykroyd, NBC sports executive Dick Ebersol, The Nation publisher Victor Navarsky, former Clinton cabinet secretary and University of Miami President Donna Shalala and Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner all gave to the former comedian's campaign.
Among the prominent corporate PACs that gave to Coleman: GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant, $3,500; Coca-Cola Enterprises $3,000; Chevron/Texaco $1,000; Boeing $2,000.
While trailing Franken in the last quarter's fundraising race, Coleman retains a comfortable lead in money in the bank, with nearly $4 million in cash to nearly $2 million for Franken.
Ciresi, who joined the race in March, reported a current balance of $642,591.