Holden still owes about $64,000

Wednesday, October 31, 2001

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Almost a year after narrowly winning election, Gov. Bob Holden's campaign owes about $64,000 to fund raisers, accountants and others.

Holden, then the Democratic state treasurer, raised and spend record amounts of money while defeating Republican Jim Talent by a margin of less than a 1 percentage point.

But after the November 2000 election, Holden has been slow to pay some bills.

He celebrated his inauguration in January with a $1 million party but did not pay it off until late July.

Holden has been working to reduce his campaign debt, but still owes about $14,500 related to the 2000 election and another $49,600 in debt incurred since then, Holden campaign treasurer Linda Lieberman said.

Most of the debt is owed to Cunningham Harris & Associates, a West Virginia-based firm hired to help bring money into Holden's campaign.

"That money, the $64,000, is owed to folks who are totally understanding about this debt and they are confident that they will receive those payments," said Holden spokes-man Jerry Nachtigal.

Nachtigal said Holden "has been totally immersed in government business," citing the regular and special legislative sessions, budget shortfalls and security responses to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

But the state Republican Party said Holden's campaign debt is more likely related to his fancy inaugural than his job as governor.

"He has spent so much time calling in so many favors trying to retire this inaugural debt, that maybe it's had some type of domino effect," either preventing Holden from doing much campaign fund raising or making it less likely that people would contribute to his campaign, said GOP spokes-man Scott Baker.

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