Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Giuliani's in and here's a look at his Finance Team

(from The Fix)

Giuliani's Finance Team

After setting a $100 million fundraising goal for 2007, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is filling out the team charged with collecting that cash for his all-but-declared bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.

As the former mayor of the nation's financial capital, Giuliani's campaign coffers are expected to be full. (Reuters photo)The group will be led by Donna Henderson, who will serve as the campaign's national finance director. Henderson has raised money for a variety of Republican candidates and causes including the National Rifle Association and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. She replaces Anne Dickerson, who will move into a consulting role for the campaign. Dickerson was intimately involved in the major donor efforts during President Bush's 2004 reelection campaign.

Tom McGill will be Henderson's deputy. McGill led the fundraising effort for former Rep. Mark Kennedy's (R) unsuccessful campaign for the open Minnesota Senate seat last year -- a race that saw Kennedy bring in $10 million. McGill also raised cash for the Bush reelection campaign.

The Giuliani finance team also includes Tom Benedetti and Abby Farris, whose fundraising firm did work for former Sen. George Allen (Va.), the Republican National Committee and the NRSC. Benedetti & Farris will head up Giuliani's mid-Atlantic fundraising efforts.

"This is a fantastic team and marks a significant expansion in our national finance operation," said Katie Levinson, Giuliani's communications director.

Given his political base in New York City, Giuliani is expected to be one of the financial frontrunners in the Republican race. After forming a presidential exploratory committee in November, Giuliani reported raising $1.4 by the end of the year and had $1 million left in the bank. Giuliani also showed nearly $500,000 on hand in his Solutions America political action committee, although none of that money can be transferred to a presidential account.

Money alone will not win Giuliani the Republican nomination. He must find a way to answer critics of his liberal social views without alienating more conservative voters who tend to decide the GOP nominee. Money can help Giuliani introduce himself (on his own terms) to voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and beyond. And he appears well on his way to raising more than enough to do just that.

Here's a look at the other members of the Giuliani finance operation:

* Christine Walton: The southwest region finance director, Walton most recently raised campaign cash for Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-Ariz.) successful 2006 reelection bid.

* Gretchen Adent Picotte: Adent Picotte will be tasked with collecting cash from the donor heavy state of Florida. She has raised money for a variety of Florida Republicans, including former Rep. Clay Shaw and Sen. Mel Martinez (the current head of the RNC).

* Brent Lowder: No state has more political money for the taking than California, where Lowder will ply his wares. He previously raised money for Bill Simon's (R) 2002 gubernatorial campaign (Simon is a major Giuliani backer) and served as deputy finance director for Matt Fong's (R) unsuccessful challenge to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) in 1998.

* Carol Reed: Giuliani has close Texas ties among his political inner circle, and Reed will head up his fundraising in the Lone Star state.

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