LAS VEGAS – Republican political consultant Steve Wark had a major fund-raising role in Ralph Nader's (search) successful drive to get on the ballot in Nevada.
Wark, who helped establish Choices for America (search) to raise money to help Nader qualify, says he made the effort solely to help President Bush's re-election campaign.
Asked whether he thought Nader would make the difference in Nevada for Bush, Wark told the Las Vegas Review-Journal, "I would hope so. I didn't do it for my own health."
Wark also is working on the U.S. Senate bid of Richard Ziser and the re-election campaign of state Sen. Ray Rawson. His mother-in-law is Earlene Forsythe, Nevada Republican Party chairwoman.
Wark's Choices for America helped solicit cash to get the signatures on the ballot by reaching out to Republican officials around the state.
"Please join me in this gallant effort to give our President the best chance possible of winning in November," said one e-mail, sent by Republican Stu Richardson.
The e-mail asks for money to be sent to Wark's home in Las Vegas, and estimates that $30,000 would be needed to qualify Nader for the ballot by a July 9 deadline. The Nader campaign turned in more than 11,000 signatures last week — more than double the number of names of registered voters required from independent candidates.
Wark said he didn't consider his work to be akin to the Republican Party efforts in Michigan and Oregon to get Nader on the ballot there. He insisted Nader had a representative in Nevada working on the efforts.
"I raised money from friends of mine who are nonpartisan," Wark said. "It wasn't all Republicans, just folks I do business with."