WASHINGTON – Rep. Constance Morella’s challenger said he hopes to use cable television, radio and newspaper ads to get his message out to voters in the 12 days remaining until the general election.
Challenger Don Mooers, a Democrat, had only $67,874 in the bank Sept. 30 – compared to Morella’s $426,419, recent campaign finance reports showed.
But, said Steve Neill, Mooers’ campaign manger: “It’s nothing we’re going to let slow us down. We’ve got an unbelievable amount of people helping out.”
Neill said the campaign has more than 1,500 people donating money and volunteering their services to help elect Mooers to the 8th District seat in Congress. Most of the help comes in the shape of individual donations, but a few supporters have helped Mooers tape advertisements that will air 700 times on cable News Channel 21, Neill said.
Mooers’ ads explain his position on key issues and focus on Morella’s support of the Republican agenda, Neill said.
“We need to hold Connie accountable on those votes,” Neill said. “People haven’t forgotten about the shutdown.”
The federal government was partially shut down twice last year when the Republican-led Congress and President Clinton were unable to agree on a budget.
Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission showed Mooers collected $147,060 in contributions during the first nine months of this year. The Kensington resident collected $129,260 from individuals and only $17,425 from special-interest groups.
Morella, a Bethesda Republican finishing her fifth term in Congress, collected a bit more – $161,603 during the first nine months of this year. But the majority of her money – about $91,038 – came from special interests, or political action committees. About $70,565 came from individuals.
Mooers’ report shows that many of the county’s leading Democrats have an interest in his campaign. For instance, County Council member Neal Potter gave $750 this year, and Washington Bullets owner Abe Pollin gave $250.
Among the contributors to Morella’s campaign were karate school owner Jhoon Rhee, who gave $890 this year, and Washington- area developer Kingdon Gould, who gave $280.
The reports also highlighted some differences in the candidates’ spending. Although Morella spent good chunks of cash on traditional campaign expenses – such as Xerox machine rentals, bulk stamps, bulk mail and printing – she also listed spending on a campaign Web page (http://www.morella.com/).
A report filed this week also showed Morella spent $3,794 for a trip to the Republican National Convention in San Diego.
“Conventions are exceptional [ways to generate contributions],” said Morella’s campaign manager, William Miller. “[Morella] felt it was important to support other people from the party.”
Mooers also listed printing, photocopying and other office expenses, as well as $497 for a newspaper ad in the Washington Jewish Week.
In the remaining days of the campaign, Morella expects to step up ads on local network affiliates, Miller said. “People make up their minds closer to election,” he said.
The advertisements praise Morella’s independence from the Republicans and highlight her commitment to federal employees, education and the environment, Miller said.
“We look at it as much more as a referendum on what she does,” he said.
She also will make appearances at local events and tour the county on a bus Nov. 2. The trolley bus will visit shopping malls and popular public areas in the county, Miller said. About 40 people will travel with Morella.
With his lesser funds, Mooers, a former State Department employee and Peace Corps worker, will continue to use cheaper campaigning methods. Besides airing ads on cable and radio, he plans to greet commuters on street corners, visit Metro stops during rush hour and campaign door to door, Neill said. -30-