July 19th, 2004--- Jeff Smith leads the 3rd Congressional District field in cash on hand with almost $273,000 to communicate with voters during the last two weeks before the primary. Smith raised over $151,000 in the second quarter of 2004 and has $272,963 cash on hand in his bid to succeed Dick Gephardt as Congressman from the 3rd District of Missouri. Smith’s closest competitor, Russ Carnahan, trailed him by more than $35,000.
Smith said that his campaign has all the momentum heading into election day on August 3rd. “We have the most energy, the best message, the most volunteers, the hardest working staff, and far and away the most momentum. We are motivated to bring progressive values to D.C. and ensure that our nation’s future is as bright as its past,” Smith added.
Smith’s fundraising success complements his grassroots organization, which is the strongest in the race. On Saturday, July 17th, over 250 supporters filled his campaign offices to help nominate Smith on August 3rd. The supporters will help plan a series of seven town halls in seven days around the District, contact at least 100 primary voters , and work the polls for Smith on Election Day.
Jeff Smith supporter Mike Kime said the enthusiasm of the group at the Saturday rally exceeded anything he had ever seen. “I have participated in numerous campaigns in the past and have never seen a more eager group of volunteers than the group I met with that day.”
Kime continued, “As we left the rally, my wife, who has never been as absorbed in politics as I am, turned to me and said, “I finally have a candidate who makes me want to go out and work to see him elected.” I think everyone else who was there felt the same way.”
In addition to the campaign treasury and hard working volunteers, Smith’s campaign continues to meet hundreds of voters daily at the over 75 coffees he has had throughout the district. In addition to the seven town halls he will hold, Smith is on schedule to have nearly 100 coffees by election day.
“I am in living rooms all over the 3rd District every night talking to voters about the issues that face our region and nation. And most of them believe we need someone to go to Washington, stand up to the radical right and fight for universal healthcare, a high quality public education, and a foreign policy consistent with American values. That’s what I’ll do and the voters I’ve met appreciate the fact that I’m willing to come and talk to them about their concerns and ideas” said Smith.
Smith’s experience uniquely qualifies him to serve in a House of Representatives composed of 177 lawyers with an average age of 54. Smith, 30, has distinguished himself as an award-winning teacher of political science and public policy at Washington University and UM-St. Louis, as co-founder (with Susan Uchitelle and Sarah Smith) of The Confluence Academies, a group of acclaimed public schools in the City of St. Louis, and as a longtime youth basketball coach. Though this is his first run for office, Smith has been involved in several local and national Democratic campaigns, including a stint as Deputy Political Director for Bill Bradley’s 2000 presidential campaign.