Anonymous Donation Ends Stalemate Between Town, Obama Campaign
The $20,000 donation will cover public safety costs for the president's visit.
DURHAM, NH – The Town of Durham announced Sunday that an anonymous donor has agreed to cover public safety costs associated with President Obama's visit on Monday, ending a stalemate between the town and the Obama campaign.
In a press release issued at 4 p.m., Durham Town Council Chairman Jay Gooze and Chairman Pro-tem James E. Lawson said an anonymous Durham resident contacted Gooze and Town Administrator Todd Selig on Sunday afternoon and offered to pay for town public safety costs up to $20,000.
"The donor wanted us to make public his/her sentiment that our Town had done the right thing in asking the campaign to do its part," the release said. "We are grateful for this generous offer. With this development we have decided to cancel Monday's special Town Council meeting. The issue of proper compensation for public services from any political candidate is a matter for discussion at a future Town Council meeting."
[You can read a copy of the full letter to the right.]
The town had said that the Obama campaign should pay the $20,000 to $30,000 in police overtime costs it will take to provide protection for the president's visit to Oyster River High School on Monday afternoon because it is a campaign event and not an official presidential visit. But the Obama campaign wouldn't pay, which led the Durham Town Council to schedule a special meeting for Monday morning to address the issue.
The press release issued by the town Sunday said "now is not the time to further deliberate the issue," but to look forward to Monday's visit. "It is a privilege for any town to host a sitting President of any party and we do not take that responsibility lightly. Durham residents will welcome the President with open arms tomorrow and the proud members of our police and fire departments will do their jobs with honor."
The press release also stressed that the town's request was not motivated by partisan politics, as the majority of Durham residents are registered Democrats, but by a need to ensure that expenses outside the town budget "are recovered in a fair and equitable manner." It also commended Selig for "respectfully raising the issue."