Specter Ends Bid for President Amid Tepid Support, Few Funds

Stung by lackluster fund raising and single-digit support among the electorate, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) is ending his long-shot presidential bid.

Specter, the first Jew to make a serious run for the White House, never mobilized grass-roots support for his pro-choice, anti-religious right, fiscal conservative candidacy.

As the only Jew in the field of Republican presidential hopefuls, Specter had hoped to gain support of moderate Republicans, including Jews, as well as big Jewish donors.

But in the end, Specter did not get their money or their support.

Specter was scheduled to announce the official suspension of his campaign in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

However, Specter intends to stay officially in the race until at least Jan. 1, in order to collect an estimated $1.2 million in matching federal funds, according to knowledgeable sources.

Although Specter received support from some Jewish political action committees and donors such as Herbert Linsenberg, a longtime supporter who also serves as treasurer of the Republican group the National Jewish Coalition, many Jewish Republican powerhouses flocked to other candidates.

“Many Jews supported him, but gave him token support,” said Linsenberg of Philadelphia. “Nobody want to back a losing horse.”

Specter’s chances “were really slim from the get-go,” Linsenberg said.

Specter campaign officials said Colin Powell’s flirtation with seeking the nomination hurt their fund-raising efforts.

Officials added that the largest contributions came from Jews and abortion- rights activists – but mostly in small contributions.

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