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Editorial: Fund-raising begins at home

In their latest attempt to find campaign funding, gubernatorial candidates Jeb Bush and Bill McBride held fund-raisers in Manhattan this week. While the governorship of Florida has become a highly contested and pivotal seat, as evidenced by the 2000 presidential election, pandering for funds in New York is on the extreme side of fund-raising.

The candidates, Bush, McBride, and Democratic hopeful Janet Reno, have all looked to New York in the past few months for support and money. But New Yorkers won’t vote come November; Floridians will. Conducting a campaign is decidedly an expensive proposition. But it seems ludicrous to look for funds in another state that will not be directly impacted by their governorship. While the candidates are worried about the money they need, the voting public needs a better idea of what they stand for. The gubernatorial race is only five months away, and no candidate has introduced a definitive platform. Perhaps Bush, McBride and Reno would find the financial support they need if they stayed a little closer to home.

The fact that candidates, even ones as well positioned as Bush, McBride and Reno, have to seek out-of-state funding, is indicative of the ridiculous sums of money necessary to run for public office. Campaign finance has received heavy attention recently, including a law instituted by the Florida Legislature, which caps donations at $500 per person. However, once donors have given their $500 to a candidate, they can then donate to the candidate’s party. As reported by the St. Petersburg Times, half of the $9.8 million collected by the Florida Republican party from January to March came from out of state.

Candidates for governor are the candidates of one state, not two states, not the Southeast, not the country. Perhaps Bush, McBride and Reno would have better luck gaining support, and subsequently money, if they spent more time talking about the issues with their constituents and less time wining and dining rich New Yorkers.