Since most of you don't get the Journal-Inquirer, I thought I'd share a few pieces of an article I mentioned earlier with you. When the three declared gubenatorial candidates were asked if they supported public financing of gubenatorial campaigns, even if it meant giving up some or all of the money they have raised so far, here's what they had to say:
...Two of the Democratic Party's candidates for governor say the $1.8 million total they have on hand now shouldn't be used as a reason to block public financing--even if they never get to spend the money.
"I think it is better to invest in good government rather than to pay later," [Susan Bysiewicz] said.
Malloy, who has been mayor since 1995, has raised about $1.1 million and still has about $700,000 on hand...
Still, he said, it would be better to have public financing set to start in 2006 -- and to be part of a system that would make those dollars essentially useless -- than to have campaign finance rules remain unchanged.
DeStefano said that in his case, it simply is an issue of fairness.
"I'll follow whatever the law is. But I've been in this race for 15 months, he said, adding, "My view is, no, you don't change the rules in the middle of the game." (Phaneuf)
This is a terrible mistake on DeStefano's part. Let's be honest: public financing of gubenatorial campaigns isn't going to happen until at least 2010. Neither the House nor the Senate bill proposes starting it in 2006. To claim that they would give up the money costs Bysiewicz and Malloy nothing, and makes them look like champions of reform. DeStefano, on the other hand, looks like he isn't really committed to public financing despite earlier strong statements in favor of it.
This probably won't hurt him down the road, unless Bysiewicz and Malloy make a big deal out of it, which they certainly might. But DeStefano erred in giving them anything to throw at him at all, especially this early in the game.
Sometimes we have to sacrifice fairness for the greater good. It would have been nice if all the candidates had realized that.
Phaneuf, Keith M. "2 Gubenatorial Hopefuls Ready to Give Up War Chests." Journal Inquirer 8 June 2005. (Sorry, no link, it isn't posted on the web)