Kerry Defends Nomination Delay
This trial balloon is still floating:
Boston Globe — Kerry justifies idea of nomination delay
John F. Kerry yesterday defended the idea of leaving the Democratic National Convention in July without a formal nomination as his party’s presidential candidate, saying that there is ample political precedent to support it and that Republicans are complaining about the move because “someone might have a way of neutralizing their advantage.”
The Massachusetts senator told the Globe: “One thing I can tell you is that on Wednesday night, the [candidate for] vice president of the United States will be nominated and give a speech, and on Thursday night I will give my speech.”
Asked if it would be a nomination acceptance or merely a party address, Kerry winked and leaned back in his seat as his campaign charter jet flew from Hanscom Field to Dulles International Airport outside the nation’s capital.
At the same time, two prominent campaign finance watchdogs questioned whether it would be legal for the host committee to spend $15 million in federal funds to stage the Democratic National Convention if the event does not produce Kerry’s nomination.
“I think there is a very strong case here that it would be illegal,” said Fred Wertheimer, who runs a campaign finance organization called Democracy 21. “They received the money to conduct a nominating convention, and a nominating convention tends to include the concept of a nominee. At a minimum, they face real legal questions.”
Representative Martin T. Meehan of Lowell, a fellow Democrat and coauthor of the country’s new campaign finance law, agreed that the $15 million is at risk. “The question is whether it could be made up in private contributions,” the congressman said.
One also wonders about the logic of nominating a vice presidential candidate but not the presidential candidate, given that the former is chosen by the latter. The minimal tactical advantage this move would afford–since there are plenty of ways to spend “outside” money on advertising that are techically legal–would seem far outweighed by the flack generated.