Dean a Resounding Winner in 'Money Primary'
Other Democrats can't match his annual fundraising total of $40 million. Wesley Clark is a distant second in the fourth quarter.
WASHINGTON â€" With more than $40 million now
raised in his run for the White House, former Vermont Gov.
Howard Dean posted a resounding victory Wednesday in the
yearlong dash for cash among Democratic presidential
candidates, cementing his status as the contender to beat
in the race.
For all the importance of the Jan. 19 Iowa caucuses and the
Jan. 27 New Hampshire primary, some analysts say the
results of the "money primary" in the year before a
presidential election are an even better guide to who will
become the nominee. Since 1980, no major-party candidate
who led in donations received by Jan. 1 of an election year
has failed to clinch the nomination.
Dean's fundraising is "really what put him on the map as a
candidate and allowed him to achieve the status he
achieved," said Anthony J. Corrado Jr., a campaign finance
expert at Colby College. "It has created a situation where
most of the other candidates are going to find it hard to
compete financially with Dean."
Dean's rivals acknowledge his fundraising prowess but say
that his money advantage will not translate into victories
when the contests begin.
"Look, there's no doubt he's had a very successful
campaign," Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri told reporters
this week while campaigning in Iowa. "He's gotten people
involved that haven't been involved before, and he's raised
more money than the other candidates. But again, the test
is not all of thatâ€¦. It comes down to
who can win and keep winning to win the nomination."
As the fourth quarter neared a close Wednesday, the Dean
campaign announced it had pulled in more than $15.3 million
since Oct. 1. And it urged supporters to give still more as
the midnight deadline approached.
"The question now is how high will you go?" Dean campaign
manager Joe Trippi wrote in an e-mail to backers. "The
pundits talk about us running out of gas. They don't get
it. We're just getting started."
Three of every four dollars Dean raised in 2003 came in the
last half of the year, reflecting his surging momentum.
His quarterly and yearly totals both were records for a
Democratic presidential candidate. Dean had set the
previous quarterly mark when he raised $14.8 million from
July 1 through Sept. 30. The $40 million he garnered during
2003 surpassed the $26 million President Clinton collected
in 1995 for his reelection campaign.
When Clinton was raising money, individual donations to
candidates were capped at $1,000; the maximum now is
$2,000. Clinton also focused much of his energy on raising
the unlimited donations known as "soft money" that went to
political parties. Such contributions are now banned.
As his fundraising has surged, Dean's support among
Democratic elected officials also has increased. On
Wednesday, Rep. Pete Stark of Hayward became the 29th
member of Congress to endorse Dean. Gephardt leads in such
endorsements, with 34.
Among other Democratic candidates, retired Gen. Wesley K.
Clark was expecting more than $10 million in fourth-quarter
contributions, an aide said, which would place him second
to Dean. Clark, who joined the race in September, raised at
least $13.5 million for the year.
Formal reports for the fourth quarter must be filed with
the Federal Election Commission no later than Jan. 15.
Most of the rest of the Democratic candidates were
expecting no more than about $4 million for the quarter.
Gephardt declined to say exactly how much he had raised,
but his campaign estimated that the total would be between
$3 million and $4 million. That would give Gephardt at
least $16.7 million for the year.
Sen. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts reported raising about
$2.5 million, a significant decline from previous quarters.
But he also lent himself more than $6 million from his
personal fortune, bringing his total 2003 receipts to more
than $28.5 million.
"As we enter the election year, we are well positioned to
effectively fight for and win the Democratic nomination and
send George Bush back to Texas in just over 11 months from
now," Kerry financial strategists said in a statement
The statement did not mention that Kerry was the
fundraising leader among the Democrats for the first half
of the year. But as his campaign struggled, his rate of
receipts slowed significantly.
Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut was expecting to raise $2
million to $4 million for the fourth quarter, bringing his
2003 haul to at least $13.8 million. His spokesman, Jano
Cabrera, dismissed Dean's totals.
"Money can neither buy love, elections, nor viability in
general elections," Cabrera said, continuing Lieberman's
attack on Dean as a candidate who would be doomed to lose
in a matchup against President Bush.
Another Lieberman aide, campaign director Craig Smith, said
Wednesday that the senator would spend $4 million next
month on new radio and television advertisements in New
Hampshire and in several states that hold primaries on Feb.
3, such as South Carolina, Delaware, Oklahoma and
Smith also indicated that Lieberman will keep targeting
Dean, saying, "We'll continue to contrast with other
Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, one of the year's
early fundraising leaders, did not release an estimate of
his fourth-quarter contributions. Through September, he had
raised $14.5 million.
Among the three longshot Democratic candidates, Rep. Dennis
J. Kucinich of Ohio was in the best shape financially,
raising more than $1.5 million for the fourth quarter,
according to his Web site, and nearly $5 million for the
Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois and the Rev. Al
Sharpton of New York, who did not disclose their
fourth-quarter receipts, are running low-budget
As the Democratic candidates finished their 2003
fundraising efforts, they already have been spending large
sums on television and radio advertisements and mailers to
potential voters. As of the Feb. 3 contests, nine states
will have chosen delegates to the party's national
convention â€" enough to winnow the field
The new year will bring another significant development
â€" the distribution of public matching funds
to qualifying candidates. For Clark, Lieberman, Edwards and
Gephardt, that will mean government checks of at least $3.1
million. Kucinich will receive more than $700,000.
Times staff writer John Glionna contributed to this
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