Boston Herald: Kerry’s GOP challenger hoping to tap party’s money machine

The entire article is Kerry’s GOP challenger hoping to tap party’s money machine

BOSTON – Jeffrey Beatty has had tougher jobs than unseating an incumbent U.S. senator – there was the time his Blackhawk helicopter was shot down on a rescue mission – yet few have come with longer odds.

The former CIA counterterrorism expert and one-time member of the Army’s elite Delta Force is hoping to oust Sen. John Kerry, the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nominee, and take a seat on Capitol Hill with the backing of residents from the bluest of Democratic blue states.

He’s aiming to win the support of state and national Republicans, including the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee – Sen. John McCain of Arizona – when he comes to Boston for a fundraiser Wednesday.

The sudden change has forced Republicans to take a new look at a candidate who won’t have to shy against Kerry – a former Navy man – when it comes to military and security credentials, but who also has little name recognition.

“I’m very impressed with the depth and the passion that the Beatty forces showed. They went out and got the signatures the old fashioned way,” said Ron Kaufman, a veteran GOP strategist, Massachusetts Republican National Committee member and former Romney adviser. “He’s got a great resume.”

Beatty has already raised $1 million, including $6,000 he loaned his campaign, and estimates it will take between $10 and $15 million to run an effective campaign.

Beatty’s hoping to tap into national GOP funding pipelines – part of the reason he plans to attend the McCain fundraiser.

Kerry’s vulnerable, but even with all his vulnerability, the problem is that Republicans don’t have the energy,” Zelizer said. “When they are looking around to see where they can knock people off, they’re not going to look to Massachusetts.”

Not so, according to state Republican Party Chairman Peter Torkildsen. He said he’ll lobby the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which gives money and other assistance to GOP Senate candidates, to support Beatty.

“We will make the case that we want them to support Beatty’s campaign,” Torkildsen said. “You’re always running as an underdog as a Republican in Massachusetts, but John Kerry is very unpopular. He has high negatives.”

Kerry’s GOP challenger hoping to tap party’s money machine

About Brock N. Cordeiro