Rudy Giuliani attends Minneapolis fund-raiser

Libby George

In the latest fund-raising blitz before the Nov. 5 deadline, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was in Minneapolis on Thursday morning for a luncheon supporting Republican U.S. Senate candidate Norm Coleman.

The event, held at the downtown Minneapolis Hilton, cost $125 per person, and approximately 500 people attended, according to Coleman staffers.

The amount of money going to Coleman depends on whether or not the donors had reached their donation limit of $1,000. If already reached, the rest of the money would go to the National Republican Senatorial Committee for use in federal elections, staffers said.

Giuliani was in Minneapolis in September while fundraising for the Republican Party. He estimated he had made roughly 20 personal appearances fundraising for individual candidates.

Jim Farrell, communications director for Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone’s campaign, said they also have fund-raisers in the works before Nov. 5.

“We have a lot of house parties around the state to raise money with contributions from individual people,” Farrell said.

Farrell criticized the way Coleman raises money in “big chunks.”

“The president’s fourth trip to Minnesota for Coleman raised $2 million in one sitting,” Farrell said.

He added Wellstone has over 100,000 contributors with an average contribution of $50.

The Federal Election Commission reported Wellstone had raised $10 million through Sept. 30, with Coleman raising just under $8 million, but commission reports released Tuesday showed Coleman $400,000 ahead of Democratic opponent Paul Wellstone going into the final weeks of the race.

Coleman’s monetary lead in the final stretch is partly due to the fact that through the end of September, Wellstone had outspent Coleman by nearly $3 million.

“The stakes are very high,” Farrell said.

Giuliani endorsement

in a media event at the Minneapolis Police and Peace Officers Association Headquarters in St. Paul before the luncheon, Giuliani expressed his support for Coleman.

“I think it’s very helpful to have run things before you go to the Senate,” Giuliani said. “No one knows better how to keep, attract and maintain jobs like mayors.”

Coleman, the mayor of St. Paul from 1993-2001, has another key similarity to Giuliani: Both were once Democrats.

Giuliani said he saw this switch as a benefit to the people and a sign of their own capability to transcend partisan politics.

“The political party is only a way to serve the people,” Giuliani said. “We’re capable of rising above the party to see if something is good for the people.”

Coleman stressed the importance of this skill and accused Wellstone of having a partisan record.

“The art of getting things done in the Senate is getting 40 people to agree with you,” Coleman said. “Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat you need to understand Ö and not make it a partisan issue.”

Farrell dismissed the charge as false.

“That charge is garbage,” Farrell said, citing many bills Wellstone has worked on with Republicans, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act written with Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and a bill allotting $215 million to recruit teachers written with Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas.

Coleman also attacked Wellstone’s capability to create jobs.

“I’m running against a guy with the most anti-job, anti-business record of anyone in the Senate,” Coleman said. “You cannot be pro-jobs and anti-business.”

He pointed to his success creating jobs as mayor without raising taxes in eight years.

“You definitely don’t create jobs by raising taxes,” Coleman said.

Farrell disputed the validity of Coleman’s approach.

“Coleman supports a trickle-down approach that historically has proven ineffective,” Farrell said, adding that Wellstone’s plan to cut taxes to middle and low income families will boost the economy and create jobs.

Wellstone calls for action

in a press conference Thursday morning, Wellstone called on President George W. Bush to remove Securities Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt.

“We need an aggressive enforcer at the SEC of the new Corporate Accountability law passed by Congress this year,” Wellstone said. “Recent actions show Chairman Pitt is simply not the man for the job.”

“The SEC chair is a major block in restoring confidence in the economy,” Farrell said. “That’s money for retirement and for kids’ college funds.”

Wellstone also called on Coleman to push for Pitt’s resignation, citing Coleman’s influence on Bush – a call Coleman said he would not heed.

“The issue is not one person resigning,” Coleman said. “It’s whether or not laws are enforced.”

Wellstone added he hopes Coleman’s monetary support from big accounting firms, which Wellstone reported as being $27,000, wouldn’t cloud his judgment on the issue.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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