Political Parties Ready '02 Marketing Strategies

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Just short of two months since the presidential inauguration, the Republican and Democratic parties are developing their fundraising strategies for the 2002 elections.

Sparking the push for donors is the 50-50 split in the Senate as well as the 20 Democratic and 14 Republican seats that will be up for grabs in 2002.

"There's a belief that the direct mail community has been energized by the split in the Senate and the possibility of taking control," said Charles Pruitt, co-managing director at A.B. Data, which handles the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's direct mail fundraising.

Campaign finance reform, if passed, also could give direct mail efforts a shot in the arm.

"If they pass campaign reform, it will have a pretty significant effect on direct market fundraising," Pruitt said. "Small donors will become more important when you've taken soft money off the table."

The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $24 million in direct mail last year out of $88 million in total funds raised. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $10 million in direct mail out of a total of $61.34 million.

Both parties report that the number of donors from direct mail campaigns has increased during the past few years. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has attracted more than 175,000 new direct mail donors in the past three years, and the National Republican Senatorial Committee has drawn 100,000 new donors in the past year.

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