March 13, 2007

What David Jones does is very personal. Intimate even.

“It is a relationship,” he says. “It is personal contact. It is writing notes on birthdays, phone calls, personal visits.”

What David Jones does is raise money for Democratic politicians. Lots and lots of money.

He has raised money for Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Charlie Rangel, Patrick Kennedy, Max Baucus and Tom Harkin.

He started young. “I was 24 and sitting in a room with George Soros,” he says. “He was worth $10 billion. I was up to my ears in credit card debt.”

Last October, Jones, 41, put together a fundraiser for Patrick Kennedy, a Democratic congressman from Rhode Island. The event raised $400,000, which is not bad at all.

But there had to be some “draws” for the event besides the congressman himself.

So Jones let people know that the congressman’s father, Sen. Ted Kennedy, and Sen. Kennedy’s wife would be at the fundraiser. Martin Sheen, the big-time actor, would be there. And so would Eliot Spitzer, the attorney general of New York, who was well on his way to being elected governor. And the fundraiser would be held at the famed Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Mass.

Pretty easy to get people to buy a ticket to that, right?

No.

“We sent out 18,000 invitation cards,” Jones says. “We made 6,000 phone calls. We sent out 25,000 faxes. And we got 400 people to show up at $1,000 per person. So what kind of percentage is that?”

That is a response rate of less than 1 percent. For a Kennedy! In the Compound!