ByÂ JUANA SUMMERS, Politico
It turns out thereâ€™s a Republican constituency that isnâ€™t at all bothered by the large and uncertain field of prospectiveÂ 2012 candidates: the state parties themselves.
For them, the frontrunner-free race is proving to be a cash cow, thanks to windfall fundraisers headlined by potential challengers to President Barack Obama.
Itâ€™s the easiest kind of political transaction, one that can deliver as much as a six-figure return and almost no political downside risk. Candidates are happy to increase their visibility and introduce themselves to the rank-and-file. Cash-strapped state parties are eager to replenish their coffers with ticket revenues from high-demand events featuring top national politicians in the flesh.
â€œItâ€™s a huge asset to any state that participates in that process and can take advantage of it,â€ said Saul Anuzis, a former Michigan GOP chairman. â€œHaving these candidates come through your states helps you drive attendance, and being able to drive attendance helps you drive ticket sales.â€
The pre-primary rubber chicken circuit isnâ€™t a boon to every state party. GOP candidates arenâ€™t anxious to spend their time in states that have little value in the nominating processâ€”theyâ€™d prefer to spend their time in Iowa, rather than Idaho, or in South Carolina, instead of South Dakota.
But in the states where it makes good political senseâ€”the various presidential prospects have raised money for parties in nearly half the states since the start of the 2010 election cycleâ€”the fundraising events have proven to be lucrative endeavors.
Former Minnesota Gov.Â Tim Pawlentyâ€™s June 10 Statesmanâ€™s Dinner fundraiser for the Tennessee GOP last year poured more than $650,000 into the partyâ€™s treasuryâ€”about a third of the partyâ€™s overall 2010 fundraising, according to figures provided by the state Ethics Commission.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51851.html#ixzz1HVtr0hQW
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