Paying the Power Broker
When Mr. Obama first started trying to organize the state earlier this year, he began in the usual way, seeking endorsements of traditional power brokers. The campaign offered a $5,000-a-month consulting contract to state Sen. Darrell Jackson of Columbia, a longtime legislator and pastor of an 11,000-member church, who also runs an ad agency.
Mr. Jackson's ability to turn out the vote -- or suppress it against rivals -- is the stuff of local legend. In 2004, he helped clinch a primary win for North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, even as Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry was coming off wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. At the time, Mr. Edwards was paying him consulting fees of roughly $15,000 a month, according to federal records.Mr. Jackson says he seriously considered the offer from Mr. Obama, but instead became a paid consultant to Mrs. Clinton, essentially running her state operation for substantially more than what the Obama camp offered. "A lot of our hearts were torn -- it wasn't an easy choice," Mr. Jackson said. He drew more than $135,000 from the Clinton campaign from February 2007 through September 2007, the latest figures available, according to federal election filings, and remains on the payroll.
"Winning here has a lot to do with who validates you as a candidate," Mr. Jackson says. "I'm comfortable with what Mrs. Clinton has going here."Yea, as long as you have the cash.