Al Sharpton

The Rev. Al Sharpton's presidential campaign seeks to create constitutional amendments for health care, the right to public education of equal high quality, and a right to vote that is not based on state institutional arrangements. "I'm running on a platform of human rights and constitutional amendments that will greatly benefit all of the American people, " Sharpton says on his campaign Web site,

Sharpton has not opened an Iowa office to prepare for the Jan. 19 caucus. Frank Watkins, former national campaign manager, said that an Iowa office would be nice, but staffers have not raised enough money to expand beyond their New York office.

Even though Sharpton's fundraising lags behind major Democratic candidates, he manages to stay in the headlines because of his ability to capture attention in meetings and debates among presidential candidates.

An ordained Pentecostal minister by the age of 9, Sharpton said he was destined to become a strong leader in his community.

Sharpton campaign Web site:

Issues, Strategies and Key Quotes

Top three issues: Constitutional amendments for the right to health care, the right to vote and the right to a public education of equal high quality. Sharpton believes that not everyone in every state has an equal right to have his or her vote counted, a reference to the 2000 election controversy, according to former his national campaign manager, Frank Watkins. Sharpton wants his campaign to serve as a launching pad and a new beginning for human rights and constitutional amendments in this country.

Official strategy statement: Other Democratic candidates are running for good programs and policies, but Sharpton is running on a platform of "human rights and constitutional amendments that will greatly benefit all Americans," said Watkins. The central part of Sharpton's campaign is adding new amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Campaign's assessment of its own strength: Sharpton is very good at public speeches and debates between candidates. "Every time Sharpton is on stage at public debates and speeches, he takes the spotlight," Watkins said.

Quotes from Sharpton: "We have far too many people who will be coming through Iowa that are elephants in donkey clothes." -- The Des Moines Register, 10/3/03

"We have states where we think we'll do better. ... But we'll put forward a good effort in Iowa." -- The Des Moines Register, 5/18/03

Potential Vulnerabilities

Critiques from others: "I left that news conference pretty much the way I entered it -- still finding it hard to take this guy seriously." -- Rob Borsellino, quoted in the Des Moines Register, 02/17/03

"Al Sharpton isn't the Democrats' race problem; he's a symptom of the Democrats' race problem. The party lacks white leaders with black support and black leaders with national profiles. Into that vacuum has walked Reverend Al." -- The New Republic, 02/17/03

Our own assessment of Sharpton's vulnerability: Sharpton is far behind in fundraising compared to other candidates.

Iowa Campaign Information
The Rev. Al Sharpton has no Iowa campaign office or staff. He is not currently running any campaign ads in the state.
National Campaign Information
National campaign manager:

Charles Halloran
[email protected]

The Mirram Group LLC
895 Broadway, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10003
212-505-6633 or 212-529-1848

National press secretary:
Rachel Nordlinger
[email protected] or [email protected]
National media consultant:
National pollster:
Campaign fundraising to date:
Amount raised: $283,529
Cash on hand: $24,070
As of September 30, 2003
Copyright © 2003 by Iowa Presidential This site produced by the "Presidential Politics" class in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa.