America Coming Together, a political non-profit group opposing the re-election of President Bush, spent more than $1.1 million and deployed at least 700 people in Ohio in the six months ending in April, heavily focusing its early efforts on that battleground state, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of federal records.
Bush himself made his 18th trip as president to Ohio in mid-June, just days after Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, his likely Democratic opponent in November, visited the state. But the candidates are just a part of the political activity in Ohio, which has seen get-out-the-vote operations for months.
Groups like ACT, known as 527 organizations after the section of the tax code that governs political committees, have raised nearly $184 million since the end of 2002 to use for get-out-the-vote operations, political advertising and contributions to state and local candidates. Many of the largest such committees oppose Bush's re-election, although conservatives have a handful of 527 organizations, too.
Perhaps the best-known of the 527s focused on the ground game, ACT has raised more than $19 million during 2003 and 2004, the third-largest amount of any 527 organization (the largest, the Joint Victory Campaign 2004, splits its money between ACT and the Media Fund, a related committee).
ACT has paid out $778,829 in salaries in Ohio, accounting for about seven of every ten dollars it spent in the state. Although a majority of the nearly $10 million spent so far by ACT came in the Washington, D.C., area, it has spent more on salaries in Ohio than on any other state in the nation. Excluding the capital area, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Florida have the next largest contingent of paid ACT employees, according to Federal Election Commission records.