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With little notice, Sarah Palin becomes a GOP fundraising machine

September 17, 2008 |  7:46 pm

While the political and news world was focused on the glitzy Hollywood haul of money by the Obama campaign's Brinks trucks Tuesday night, it turns out lesser-light Sarah Palin was gathering in a good deal more than a million bucks at three separate fundraisers back in Ohio.

She did a country club event in Canton that raked inAlaska Governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin besieged by fans in Ohio Sept. 16 more than $1 million by itself Monday night, a Dayton breakfast and a $2,500-per-plate luncheon in Cincinnati.

Once totaled, the 18-hour sum will exceed the entire $1.35 million Palin spent on her successful insurgent gubernatorial general election campaign in Alaska two years ago.

So keen a new draw is the 44-year-old mother of five, that party officials estimate she'll probably do three dozen more fundraisers in the 48 days remaining in this campaign.

Because John McCain is taking $84 million in federal funds, the money she raises is split between national and state parties, which are ...

... trying to keep up with the Obama donation juggernaut that changed its mind and rejected federal money.

"What we've seen over the past 17 days or so is nothing short of amazing when it comes to grass-roots response," said Kevin DeWine, deputy chairman of the Republican Party of Ohio, a must-win state for GOP White House hopes since 1916.

Palin's fresh-faced, down-to-earth appeal has even spread to Western states. Organizers of a Sept. 24 fundraiser in Wyoming featuring Palin report ticket sales to people from as far away as Idaho and Montana.

"We're really talking about a regional type of excitement," Maggie Scarlett, McCain's Wyoming co-finance chair, told Erika Bolstad of the Anchorage Daily News.

This success doesn't surprise David Dittman, a consultant to Palin's 2006 campaign. "She connects with people," he says.

Outraised by her well-known Democratic opponent in 2006, Dittman noted, "She didn't have the support of the party. She did not have the support of labor unions, environmentalists, the oil industry. She did it all by herself."

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo credit: Matt Duncan / Associated Press (Alaska Gov. and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin is besieged by Ohio fans this week.)

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