Parties launch urgent appeal for war chest

Fund-raising
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The Independent US

The continuation of the US election into an unprecedented period of "extra time" has prompted both campaigns to revive their electoral fund-raising efforts to meet anticipated legal and other costs.

The continuation of the US election into an unprecedented period of "extra time" has prompted both campaigns to revive their electoral fund-raising efforts to meet anticipated legal and other costs.

The chairman of the Bush campaign, Don Evans, put out an urgent e-mail appeal to supporters over the weekend, asking for new donations to meet costs associated with likely recounts, not just in Florida but perhaps also in other states. "The expense of the recount effort must be funded immediately," it said. "Please sent a cheque in any amount that you can up to $5,000 [£3,600] today." It asked for the contributions to be posted or sent by overnight courier to the "Bush-Cheney Recount Fund" in the Texas state capital, Austin.

The urgency of the appeal reflected concern in the Bush camp that the Gore campaign had stolen a march on the fund-raising front. The Gore-Lieberman campaign launched its appeal last week, the moment it decided to back private legal challenges to the count in Florida's Palm Beach County. It set a target of $3m - a sum it raised in less than 24 hours. Observers noted donations for this unenvisaged emergency could attract an extra premium in terms of political payback.

The Bush campaign had apparently believed until the end of last week that the first state-wide re-count in Florida, triggered automatically by the closeness of the vote, would give Mr Bush victory and no more funds would be needed.

The "urgent" weekend appeal acknowledged that this may have been a miscalculation. "It is now clear that we must raise money to fund the re-count effort in Florida. Governor Bush won the vote in Florida on election day, a victory confirmed by a recount. Now, the other side is seeking yet a third count by hand."

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