- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 4, 2006

James H. Webb Jr.’s Senate campaign announced yesterday that the Democrat has raised $3.5 million since July, showing that he was able to spin Sen. George Allen’s campaign mistakes into political gold and close a wide financial disparity between the two candidates.

Mr. Webb, a former Republican who served as President Reagan’s secretary of the Navy, had $2.7 million cash on hand as of Sept. 30. The money will be used to keep his television advertisements on the air — and fund new ones — in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 7 election, his campaign said.

He raised $3.5 million from 20,000 donors from July 1 to Sept. 30, the campaign said. He has raised $4.6 million since entering the race.

Mr. Allen, a Virginia Republican elected in 2000, did not release fundraising numbers for the third quarter. Campaign manager Dick Wadhams said the senator’s figures will be available Oct. 15, when campaigns must file full disclosure reports.

The last report showed that Mr. Allen, a popular former governor, raised $10.4 million since January 2005. He had $6.6 million cash in the bank as of June 30, but much probably has been depleted by statewide television ads that have been running since the spring.

Webb campaign manager Jessica Vanden Berg said the Democrat has been able to raise money with a three-issue focus — “ending the failed policy in Iraq, economic fairness and restoring a system of oversight to Congress in order to hold the Bush administration accountable.”

She accused the Allen campaign of using “slash-and-burn” tactics and noted that the senator’s blunders have helped Mr. Webb.

Mr. Allen, who has held a multimillion-dollar fundraising advantage over Mr. Webb for the length of the campaign, has stumbled for the past two months, starting with calling an Indian-American man who worked for the Webb campaign “macaca.” The word is considered a racial slur in some cultures.

While Mr. Allen apologized and said he made up the word, Mr. Webb held a string of fundraisers and has benefited from momentum ever since.

Former Gov. Mark Warner; Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat; and authors Stephen King and John Grisham have raised money for Mr. Webb, a best-selling author.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday raised $75,000 for Mr. Webb in Northern Virginia. Later this month, former President Bill Clinton will headline what is expected to be a high-dollar fundraiser for Mr. Webb.

“No surprise that liberal special interests have apparently rallied around Hollywood movie producer and fiction novelist James Webb,” Mr. Wadhams said.

Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, recently made an online appeal to his supporters on behalf of Mr. Webb, saying Mr. Webb “has the political momentum against Republican incumbent George Allen, who has fumbled his way through this election season by just being himself.”

Mr. Allen sent a last-minute e-mail appeal to supporters before the Saturday fundraising deadline for the third quarter. In it, he criticized the Kerry solicitation and accused national Democrats of pouring “millions into our state” to attack him.

“If Jim Webb Jr. has his way, he and his liberal backers will work to uproot all of the success we have worked so hard to achieve over the last six years,” he said.

Mr. Allen is expected to rake in cash this week with a Vice President Dick Cheney fundraiser today and at his annual “Hoe Down” Saturday in Richmond.

Information on out-of-state donations for both candidates will be available in the Oct. 15 reports.

The June 30 reports show Mr. Allen had 45 percent of his donations from out-of-state donors. Mr. Webb had 41 percent from out-of-state.

Mr. Allen this week spent $50,000 for a two-minute statewide commercial to talk about his record, after last week’s press reports in which he was accused of using racial epithets to describe blacks when he was at the University of Virginia.

Mr. Webb, a Vietnam War veteran, has enjoyed the momentum shift. He was little known when he trailed Mr. Allen by 31 points in a December 2005 Rasmussen Reports poll but now is the darling of national Democrats hungry to win back control of the Senate.

Mr. Allen either holds a narrow lead or is tied with Mr. Webb in most polls.

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