The recentfundraising reports from all the major presidential candidates are significant for two reasons: the large amount of money raised, and the date by which that money was raised. Keep in mind that it is only March 2007 more than a year and a half away from the presidential election. By comparison, George W. Bush announced his 2000 campaign for the presidency in June 1999 and Bill Clinton announced his 1992 presidential campaign in October 1991.
The presidential campaign is moving at break-neck speed roughly a year before the first primary even takes place. Coupled with the front-loading of the primaries themselves, the importance of raising more money earlier in the campaign has never been greater.
Thanks to the work of Governor Corzine and the legislature, New Jersey has the opportunity to have a unique role in the 2008 campaign. Long a frequent stop for candidates seeking funds, New Jersey will now be in a position to influence the presidential race more directly.
Because of this change, New Jersey residents will be able to speak with the candidates themselves and make sure that New Jersey’s issues are being addressed.
For New Jerseyans, the issues of taxes, health care, education, and security are of paramount importance. I hope that in their mad-dash for cash, the presidential candidates who visit New Jersey take the time to discuss our place in tax and spending decisions in Washington, DC.
If the candidates expect to raise campaign funds in New Jersey, we must expect them to pay careful attention to our issues. If the campaign for president must stretch over two years, at least let it be a discussion of issues – and not just an endless tour of fundraisers.