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Fields feels the burn

In this July 11th article, the Daily News' Maggie Haberman suggests that Virginia Fields inability to raise funds will deny her the ability to run television advertising. Fields is spending money as fast as she can take it in.

The final weeks of the primary after Labor Day are crucial for any candidate to get his or her message to the voters. For the Haverman article, click below:

Fields feels the burn
by Maggie Haberman
New York Daily News
July 11, 2005

If Virginia Fields hasn't raised a huge chunk of campaign cash by today's latest fund-raising deadline, she may not be able to air more than a week of TV ads, insiders predict.

The embattled Democrat, who has spent nearly a week embroiled in a campaign photo flap over a doctored flyer, has lagged far behind her primary rivals in fund-raising. Yet her burn rate, the pace at which she's spending campaign cash versus taking it in, is 99% this year, records show.

In a five-month stretch, Fields raised $467,000 - and spent $460,000 of it, mostly on a raft of consultants, with recently axed strategist Joe Mercurio raking in the most.

Going into today, Fields had just $450,000 in cash on hand, according to the Campaign Finance Board. Several sources said that, after she was the main beneficiary of Fernando Ferrer's spring stumbles, she's struggled with fund-raising because her poll numbers started sagging again.

And after she failed to defend herself and her campaign manager from her ex-strategist's claims that they knew all about the doctored flyer, insiders are questioning whether she'll be able to raise any major cash.

That could be a big problem, because TV advertising can cost more than $1 million a week to stay competitive in the primary. And even if she qualifies for up to a million dollars in matching funds, she's still going to be limited for TV money.

The Dems are expected to start advertising sometime next month.

A Fields spokeswoman said the campaign is continuing to raise money, and is "confident that we will have the resources to get our message out to New Yorkers."

The Rev. Al Sharpton, meanwhile, used his radio show to take a swipe at Mercurio, calling him unprofessional for blaming Fields in the flyer flap, and saying his comments bordered "on some very, very ugly language."

Mercurio said he was merely "correcting the record"--and, in an apparent olive branch to his old boss, urged Sharpton to endorse Fields.