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Edwards Fans New Orleans Bound?

Suppose there was a contest where thousands of people paid money to enter, and a winner was never announced?

Those are the odd set of circumstances facing the supporters of presidential contender John Edwards. In September Edwards announced he would hold a contest that would enable five lucky winners to join him in an effort to rebuild the shattered city of New Orleans.

"John will be taking a break from the campaign trail to work in an area of New Orleans devastated by Hurricane Katrina. He'll need some help--so we're sending five supporters like you with him," an e-mail invitation to the contest said. "Make a contribution between now and the end of the third financial quarter on Sunday, September 30, and we'll enter your name into a drawing for the chance to rebuild with John in New Orleans."

The contest was just the latest in what seems to be a new on-line fundraising craze -- all geared towards drawing in small contributions from Internet donors. Sen. Barack Obama promised small donors the chance to eat dinner with him. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton offered them a seat on her living room couch where they could munch on potato chips and watch a presidential debate with her famous husband Bill.

The twise with the Edwards sweepstakes was supposed to be its do-gooder feel. But now there's another twist. The official entry form for the contest said a drawing would be held Oct. 2 and winners would be notified Oct. 5. But there?s been nothing but silence from the campaign.

This has been so baffling to Edwards loyalists that one of them posted a blog entry on his campaign web site under the heading: "So...Who won the contest?"

"I passed on the chips with Bill - even after Hillary emailed me to convince him to eat carrot sticks instead. I opted for the other contest," the blogger wrote. "My neice, Kathy has been working in New Orleans without pay for most of this year to help people put their lives back together again. If I'm swinging a hammer next to John Edwards in the 9th Ward, I can look people like her in the eye and say 'See! Anyway, who won?"
The answer may come this week. After fielding an inquiry from The Trail, an Edwards campaign official revealed that the winners have already been selected and the trip to New Orleans has been scheduled. They expect to make those announcements this week.

That will be welcome news to those who entered and have been left to wonder, will this contest actually have a winner?

--Matthew Mosk

By Washington Post editors  |  October 29, 2007; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , John Edwards  
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Good grief. Are you people that hard up for bad things to say about Edwards that you have to put this in the Washington Post? This guy really must be squeeky clean because all of the "dirt" stories are so ridculous.

Posted by: pmorlan1 | October 29, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you missed it, but donations actually weren't required to enter the contest. The emails for it made that very clear.

And the last paragraph of your post with the campaign response seems to undermine the actual need for this article. When is the winner going to be announced? Well, they just told you right?

Must be a slow news day I guess.

Posted by: okamichan13 | October 29, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Is there no end to the inanities that the press will write in the guise of election coverage? This is a presidential election, for crying out loud. Is there a single word in this article that has anything to do with what voters need to know to choose a candidate?

If you want to write stories like this, there's a massive industry of entertainment reporting. There's no need to pretend to be covering an election campaign.

Posted by: gbrown | October 29, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

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