Midterms Over, Here Comes ’08

There’s lots of speculation that John McCain will soon announce a presidential bid, adding to a growing field of candidates. Less than 48 hours after the midterms, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack spared little time in making his announcement that he was running for President, opening what will likely be a wave of ’08 contenders visiting Los Angeles and key entertainment donors through the end of the year. Many potential contenders, like Evan Bayh and Chris Dodd, have done meet and greets in recent months, not raising money for presidential campaigns but laying the groundwork for a run. Before his campaign gaffe, John Kerry met with industry executives last spring. And Vilsack visited last summer while he was raising money for the Democratic Gubernatorial Assn. Political Action Committee.

To pose any serious challenge to presumptive front-runner Hillary Clinton, if she throws her hat in the ring, any candidate has to start raising money soon. And one of the advantages to entertainment donations is that they are made based more on national and worldly issues like national security and the environment than those that directly affect the industry, like media ownership and net neutrality. That is largely left for media PACs in D.C.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Times’ Tina Daunt looks at the Jim Webb Senate victory in Virginia and points out that despite Webb’s screenwriter credentials, Sen. George Allen actually got more entertainment industry support. The reason? Many in entertainment just didn’t think that Webb could win. William Friedkin and Sherry Lansing had trouble getting people to attend Webb’s fund raisers. “It was an uphill battle,” Friedkin tells the Times.  Final fund raising numbers have yet to be tallied by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks contributions.

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