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Dole says she needs to raise $1 million a month to defend seat in Congress

By Scott Jenkins

Salisbury Post

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole said in a fundraising letter this month that she needs to raise nearly $1 million a month through Election Day 2008 to defend her seat in Congress.

In a Jan. 5 letter to people who have supported her and other Republicans in the past, Dole said her re-election effort may cost $20 million, nearly a third more than she spent to win the seat in 2002.

Dole, who has fended off speculation in recent months that she will not seek a second term, said in the letter that she has “decided not to wait another moment to start laying the foundation for my campaign.”

And although no strong challengers to Dole have yet emerged, the Republican from Salisbury said in her plea for money that Democrats have “put a target on my back.”

“The Democrats think I’m vulnerable because my campaign war chest is virtually empty,” the letter said.

Dole writes that her Senate duties the past four years, and her job as National Republican Senatorial Committee chair the past two years, have left her little time to work on her 2008 campaign.

As of October, Dole’s campaign committee had $223,775 on hand, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

She asked recipients of the Jan. 5 letter to pledge $160 apiece. Those who give that amount become members of the Dole campaign’s “Founder’s Club,” helping her to stay in office and “stop the liberals before they can move American to the far left on taxes, national security, immigration and judges.”

In an interview with the Post last week, Dole downplayed the impact of the Democratic takeover in Congress. Getting things done in the Senate especially, she said, depends more on building relationships with other legislators than party affiliation.

Not surprisingly, the fundraising letter takes a far more partisan tone. It warns that “liberal Democrats” now running Congress want to raise taxes, increase federal spending and impose more regulation on small business, among other other things.

“There is literally no telling how far to the left they will attempt to push our nation,” the letter said. “Which is why I want to return to the Senate to keep fighting for our conservative principles.”

But Dole warned supporters in the letter that “liberal Democrats are giddy with their new-found power in Congress and like hungry sharks, they smell blood in the water.”

Contact Scott Jenkins at 704-797-4248 or sjenkins@salisburypost.com.

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