Thursday, May 6, 2004

Mongiardo's errors not Rx for success



Pat Crowley

Watching some political campaigns can be like watching the Cincinnati Reds.

The Reds blow a nine-run lead and you scream at the TV, "What the #@%* are they doing?"

Some recent moves by the campaign of Democrat Dan Mongiardo could easily elicit the same reaction.

Mongiardo, a physician who likes to refer to himself as "Dr. Dan," is running a campaign against Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning that is about as listless as a flu patient.

The campaign manager quit. Fund-raising is on life support, with Bunning - a Southgate Republican - hauling in $5.2 million compared with Dr. Dan's paltry $481,000. And that includes $200,000 of his own dough. More than 60 percent of the money raised is going to campaign staff salaries. And he is paying out more cash than he is bringing in. During the first quarter, the campaign raised $174,000 but spent about $200,000.

It has since been corrected, but at one point Dr. Dan's campaign Web site asked donors to "make a generous, tax-deductible contribution." That was a problem, because campaign contributions aren't tax-deductible.

It goes on and on.

A piece of campaign correspondence misspelled Dr. Dan's last name.

During his statewide fly-around last week - a tour that skipped Northern Kentucky - the numbers of Democratic supporters were reportedly tiny at most locations.

Then there's this priceless gaffe:

An invitation for a Dr. Dan fund-raiser ended up going to Mary Bunning, the Senator's wife. Jimmy Hoffa is going to show up at that event before she will.

Roll Call, the Washington-based political newspaper, published a story on the race last week under the headline "Kentucky a fading target."

The story characterized Mongiardo's campaign as in a "free fall" and suffering from "financial and organizational struggles."

An unnamed D.C. Democrat who is described in the article as having "strong ties to Kentucky" is quoted as saying "the national community is starting to write this off. This thing looks too tough on paper."

Dr. Dan does work hard. He has made several trips to Northern Kentucky to campaign and raise money. And he is good at pointing out differences between himself and Bunning.

For instance, the campaign's most recent press release touts endorsements from the teachers' and miners' unions. Granted, both traditionally support Democrats. But it doesn't hurt to have them on your side in Kentucky.

Still, Dr. Dan has to get his campaign and fund-raising money on a more focused and professional path. If not, his political aspirations will be DOA in November.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com. Crowley interviews Boone County statehouse candidate Addia Wuchner this week on ICN6's "On the Record," which is broadcast daily on Insight Communications Channel 6.




TOP STORIES
Teens' Nerf guns raise ruckus
Grad launched Dart Wars rules
Downtown to get $50 million boost
Bush pauses to comfort teen
Student undercount has state scrambling for funds

IN THE TRISTATE
Educators can feed violence problem in schools, expert says
Breast cancer united these neighbors
Ex-cop may be rehired
Cicada questions bugging you? Here's some help
Sports car provides inspiration for class
City's Clean Air Act targets polluters
4th dog joining hunt for woman's remains
Deerfield Twp. meeting sizzles in acrimony
Plan to build Y questioned
Con man's crimes also taint Deters
Soldier says thanks for mail
2 Nigerian men charged with stealing identities
Inside of 2 Lexington Manor homes to be tested for lead
Schools make plea for money
Dixie, Holy Cross scholars win grants
Senate passes lawsuit limits, but House will not be rushed
Lawsuit fights gay-marriage petition drive
Fitton Center, Butler schools team on arts
Science team just short of finals
Neighbors briefs
News briefs

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
Crowley: Mongiardo's errors not Rx for success
Bronson: Shots-and-beer defense shot down by judge

LIVES REMEMBERED
Moe Burtschy, pitched for A's in Philly, KC

KENTUCKY STORIES
Lobbyists spent less on 2004 General Assembly
Teens held for theft, chase
Boone spurns 128-house Buffalo Trace subdivision
Retail-office center awaits vote
Seven more out of diocese abuse suit
Campbell High's antics have a serious purpose
Restaurant that trains disabled needs a hand
3-year-old wanders several blocks