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They're also running: Ralph Nader, Bob Barr are raising money and getting on ballots

September 19, 2008 |  7:29 am

Four years ago, Ralph Nader got a boost from an unlikely quarter, Republican contributors. Hoping to peel votes away from John Kerry, Republican donors from around the country gave tens of thousands into a Green Party committee that pushed to place Nader's name on the ballot in the swing state of Pennsylvania.

Who knows if there will be a similar ploy this year. But Nader already is on the ballots in 45 states, plus the District of Columbia, according to Nader's campaign and Richard Winger, who tracks ballot access issues.

The Nader for President campaign called the development a "historic first for the lifelong consumer advocate."

Nader was on 34 state ballots 2004, and 44 state ballots plus the District of Columbia in 2000. Many Democrats believe he received votes that otherwise would have gone to Al Gore, thus helping George Bush to victory.

Money is always an issue with third-party candidates.

Nader has raised $1.9 million since he entered the race earlier this year, including $365,973 in August, leaving him with $390,118 in the bank at the end of the month, campaign finance reports filed this week with the Federal Election Commission show.

In any other person’s world, $1.9 million would be a lot of money. But it would be an off-day for Democrat Barack Obama. He raised money at a clip of $2.1 million per day last month, for a total of $66 million. John McCain’s $47 million August haul pencils out to $1.5 million a day.

Then there is a Libertarian Bob Barr, who disclosed in his filing that he has received $632,862 since entering the race, and had $62,969 in the bank at end of August. According to Winger, the Libertarian Party will be on 44 state ballots.

There is hope for candidates not named Obama and McCain. Trevor Lyman, one of Rep. Ron Paul’s big fans and fund-raisers, has sent a mass e-mail fund-raising appeal. Lyman’s latest suggestion: the winner takes all.

In Lyman's proposal, backers of all third-party candidates would send in money to an account he would establish. Whichever candidate receives the most in this on-line competition would receive the benefit of the entire bundle.

Paul, the Texas libertarian-Republican, has refused to endorse McCain and is urging people to back one of the other candidates. Paul raised almost $35 million in his presidential campaign, thanks in part to Lyman’s efforts.

-- Dan Morain

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