In the first Democratic presidential debate last week, Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut separated himself from the pack as the only candidate who vocalized his support for Clean and Fair Elections.
According to Washington Post’s David Broder:
Dodd, who has been in office longer than any of the other candidates, said it is true that he has accepted money from interest groups but insisted that he is a longtime advocate of public financing of campaigns.
Specifically, Dodd said:
We have already talked a bit about campaign finance reform. I’ve been a long advocate of public financing of campaigns. I believe this is one of the great threats to our country; that not enough people are qualified and want to seek public office. Put aside the presidency of the United States, talking even about congressional seats or local seats, it’s becoming prohibitive. Certainly, until the law changes, you have to do what you can to raise the resources.
No one knows more about the costs of our current financing system than incumbents. Special interest money plays a major role. And you better believe those special interests consider their campaign contributions a good investment.
Aside from removing the pressure to return favors to special interests, most candidates would prefer not to spend valuable time leading up to Election Day scrambling for a few extra dollars, but rather get their views out and motivate the electorate to cast their ballot.
Hopefully, we will hear more about the need for public funding from Dodd — and the other candidates will stand up for a fundamental change, as well.