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Obama, DNC Set Up Fundraising Entity for States

Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday established a joint fundraising agreement with 18 state Democratic parties to funnel money into those states for Obama’s White House bid. Party leaders believe the program can also help Democratic candidates up and down the ballot.

The new fund, the Committee for Change, will parcel a fixed percentage of the contributions it receives to each of the 18 state parties, infusing those parties with new federal dollars and a list of new donors who can be helpful in future campaigns.

“This is going to help us build the party up and down the ticket in all of those states,” said Brad Woodhouse, a spokesman for the DNC.

The list of states covered by the JFA includes some traditional presidential battlegrounds such as Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. But it also includes Republican strongholds where Obama believes he can compete in November against the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) — and where Democrats are bidding to capture Republican-held House and Senate seats.

In addition to Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, Democratic parties in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa. Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada and Pennsylvania will be the beneficiaries of whatever funds the new committee takes in.

“Despite all of the Republicans’ bluster, this is going to really put them on their heels in states they’d just like to write off,” Woodhouse said. “They don’t want to think about Alaska. They don’t want to think about North Carolina. They don’t want to think about North Dakota.”

The Obama campaign already has paid staffers on the ground in 22 states and plans to expand into all 50 states before long. The DNC, which under Chairman Howard Dean has employed a strategy to grow in traditional Republican territory, already has paid workers in all 50 states.

With the creation of the new committee, Democratic donors will first be encouraged to contribute to the Obama campaign, followed by the DNC and then the Committee for Change.

DNC officials refused to say what the fundraising goals are for the new committee. Just like Obama and the DNC, Campaign for Change will not accept contributions from political action committees or federal lobbyists and will not collect non-federal dollars. The accounts fund field efforts in the states.

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