Fargo Campaign Not Worried About Money, Staff

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, April 24, 2008

According to a campaign spokeswoman, Johnson has around 20 paid staff.  Fargo, on the other hand, has one full-time staff member, and it’s this guy: 
Howard: “You know, if we had the ability to hire five or six people, I’m sure that we would do that.” 
Dale Howard is Fargo’s campaign manager. 
Howard: “This is a competition between someone who has been a celebrity and who has a great deal of personal wealth and someone who’s been a public servant all her life.” 
Johnson has loaned his campaign at least a half-million dollars, and has held fundraisers with NBA stars Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley.  The last fundraising totals – now a month old – showed Fargo trailing by $300,000 dollars.
Meanwhile, Johnson has hired political veterans who’ve worked for George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Howard Dean, George H. W. Bush and more.
All this to win a job no more powerful than a single member of the city council. 
Setzer: “There is a real excitement to this race that’s actually new and something that’s unlike anything that Sacramento has ever seen before.” 
That’s Johnson spokeswoman Christy Setzer – who herself has worked on several Democratic presidential campaigns.  She says Johnson has attracted more than just a bunch of political pros. 
Setzer: “I think in the first week of the campaign, there were over 600 people that signed up that wanted to come volunteer.  I’m sure that’s unprecedented for Sacramento and in most cities around the country.” 
Dale Howard points out Fargo’s been outspent several times before – and she’s won anyway.  Of course, she’s never faced an opponent with Johnson’s money and star power, either.  Local political consultant Doug Elmets says that’s what makes this race so interesting. 
Elmets: “Kevin Johnson has a good team that could conceivably help propel him to victory on Election Day, but that’s the beauty of elections.  Some people have a lot of resources and some people don’t.  The bottom line is, it’s the issues and the candidates that ultimately win at the end of the day.” 
And while Fargo may be far behind Johnson in money and staff, Elmets says, she does have one big edge: She’s still the mayor – and can use her office to get her message out.