8 Virginia flocks vote to break away from Episcopal Diocese
Eight Northern Virginia churches announced on Dec. 17 that they will leave the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia after their congregations voted overwhelmingly to depart because of liberal trends in the 2.2-million-member Episcopal Church.
A surprised murmur ran through the packed sanctuary at the 275-yearold Falls Church, the largest and most historic of the departing congregations, as the Rev. John Yates announced the vote. His members voted 1,228 to 127 to leave the diocese, and 1,279 to 77 to fight to keep the congregation’s historic property in the city of Falls Church.
“God is going to lead this church forward in ministry,” said Mr. Yates, whose congregation grew by 4 percent this year and whose budget rose 15 percent from $4.6 million for 2006 to $5.6 million in 2007. “This whole situation isn’t about us. It’s about the next generation and the next and the next [. . . ]. For the sake of the children, we must be faithful to Christ.”
fear of an out-of-control, moneyraising race with an uncertain outcome. Both men eschewed federal matching funds for their primary contests.
Mr. Toner said that nominees will seek to raise up to $500 million for their campaigns and that the “entry level” for getting into the presidential nomination campaign as a serious contender will be $100 million by the end of 2007. A candidate who hasn’t raised that much by then will not be taken seriously by potential major donors or by the press, he said.
Among the handful of “firsttier” potential nomination candidates in both parties, two are considered safe bets to eschew public financing for both the primaries and general elections.
On the Republican side, Arizona Sen. John McCain, who strategists in both parties consider the best-organized candidate in his party, has the credentials and proven money-raising ability to forgo public money. New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the bestorganized Democrat, is the best bet for non-public financing in her party, strategists say.
“Hillary can raise $350 [million] for the primary and another $250 [million] for the general,” one official said privately.
Mrs. Clinton leads and Mr. McCain runs second behind former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani in presidential preference polls of primary voters in their respective parties.
Mr. Giuliani also is expected to have no trouble raising money from a variety of major donors both in the Republican Party — where economic and national-defense conservatives outnumber rich religious conservatives — and even among Jewish Democrats who admire his stand on Israel.
On Dec. 19 in New York, the former mayor and federal prosecutor held his first major fundraiser since he formed a presidential exploratory committee last month. Mr. Giuliani was expected to raise $500,000 from that one “preliminary” event, attended mainly by family and friends at the Times Square Marriott hotel.
Mr. Toner said that realistically, the huge amounts of money required for the 2008 campaign would winnow out, earlier than usual, many potential candidates in what was expected to be a very large field in both parties.
The per-person donation limit at the Giuliani fundraiser was $2,100 — the maximum per-person donation allowed for a primary campaign for the 2008 election cycle — although Mr. Giuliani has not formally declared his candidacy.
Election officials say the reason that candidates will likely eschew public financing of the general election this time is the larger “hard money” legal per-person contribution — $4,200 for primary and general elections combined — and the longer election cycle which, with neither an incumbent president nor vice president on the ballot, will be the most wide-open White House contest since 1952.