GOP Candidate Lynn Swann Hopes Bush Appearance Draws Donations

A fundraising appearance by President Bush on Wednesday was expected to deliver hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann's struggling campaign.

About 350 people were expected to attend the event at the Lancaster Host Resort & Conference Center. Donors paid $10,000 per person or couple for a private reception and photo opportunity with the president, and $650 a person or $1,000 for a couple for a general reception.

Swann campaign spokesman Leonardo Alcivar would not disclose how much the event would raise, saying only that it was expected to be "roughly in the high six figures."

The campaign appearance is the president's first for Swann, the former Pittsburgh Steelers star who announced his candidacy in January and is trailing far behind Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell in recent independent polls.

It comes as Bush continues to be plague by persistently low approval ratings in the state. A Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday found that Bush's approval rating in Pennsylvania was 33 percent — about the same as in June.

Swann has said the president's popularity is not relevant to his gubernatorial bid, and political analysts say Swann needs Bush's fundraising help to shore up his campaign against Rendell.

As of early June, the governor raised nearly $20 million — less than half of what he spent in his 2002 campaign and roughly four times the amount that Swann had amassed. Swann has yet to air any television commercials contrasting himself with Rendell, who has put out several ads touting his accomplishments since April.

Rendell led Swann 54 percent to 34 percent among registered voters in a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday, a margin that changed little from a June poll that had the former Philadelphia mayor leading Swann 55 percent to 31 percent.

Earlier in the day, Bush was to tour the Harley-Davidson motorcycle factory in York.

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., who trails his Democratic opponent in the polls, did not attend Bush's events. He had agreed in June to be the keynote speaker at an agriculture trade show on Wednesday near State College, his staff said.