Direct Mail Spending Peaks in New York Senate Campaigns

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As spending on the New York Senate race approaches $100 million, it has become obvious that Hillary Rodham Clinton is a fundraising powerhouse not only for her own campaign but also for her opponent Rick Lazio.


Lazio, a little-known Republican from Suffolk County who entered the campaign late in the year, has received contributions from more than 180,000 donors, mostly in response to direct mail solicitations, for a total of $30 million in direct contributions as of Sept. 30, according to the New York Daily News. Add to that the $20.2 million he inherited from the defunct Rudolph Giuliani campaign, and the total is more than $50 million.


The Clinton campaign has solicited $24.5 million of the $25 million her finance committee projected they would need to run a successful campaign, and it may not be enough.


But Dan Allen, communications director at the New York State Republican Party, sees the need to raise more money.


"Based on the success and amount of money Mrs. Clinton has raised in soft money, there's a definite need to raise money inside and outside New York state to match what Mrs. Clinton has raised outside New York," he said.


The New York Republican State Committee has just launched the second wave of its most successful Stop Hillary direct mail campaign. Its goal is to "help raise money to stop Hillary Clinton from using New York state as a launching pad to the White House," Allen said.


At the end of June, 100,000 pieces were sent out nationwide.


"It was our most successful mail piece in history, especially outside New York state," Allen said. Three months later the state Republican Party has increased the number of pieces to 250,000, again sent out nationwide.


The piece appeals to "caring, common sense conservatives from across America," asking them to respond with a check for $25, $250 or $2,500 to "stop this shrill and scheming person from using New York and the U.S. Senate as a steppingstone to the presidency."


The mailer consists of a letter signed by William Powers, chairman of the New York Republican State Committee; a personal reply form with checkoff boxes for $25, $35, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, $2,500 and other contributions; and a postage-paid business reply envelope.


The letter says, "There's something about Hillary Clinton that rubs people the wrong way." The letter lists her negative qualities as opportunistic, hypocritical, egotistical, cold-blooded, hotheaded, abrasive, annoying, brash, bitter, calculating, scheming, distant, deceitful, polarizing, power hungry, fraud, phony and pretender.


The Republican State Committee points out that "her husband's 'two-for-one' presidency is in tatters. Her takeover of the nation's healthcare system is in ruins. And her credibility is shot." Hillary Clinton, the letter claims, is supported by the liberal media and activist, progressive and radical groups because she's a "hard-core, hard-line, hard-nosed ultraliberal." She "uses people and hates Republicans," and she must be stopped on her way to the presidency, the letter says.


Peter Kauffmann, spokesman for the New York State Democratic Committee, said Lazio's campaign is based on "hurling personal insults at Hillary."


"Hillary Clinton sends out a positive message based on the issues important to working families. She talks about her views and what she will do in the U.S. Senate," he said.


The agreement to ban soft-money advertising reached by the Clinton and Lazio campaigns applies only to TV and radio and not to direct mail and telephone communication. It has been projected that Clinton's and Lazio's efforts will raise $10 million in the last weeks of the campaign to put an $85 million price tag on the New York Senate race. Much of that will be spent on direct
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