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Dean Leads Democratic Money Chase

Howard Dean speaks at the Democratic Presidential Candidate Debate in Albuquerque, N.M. Thursday, Sept. 4, 2003. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP
Front-runner Howard Dean has broken former President Clinton's Democratic record for most money in a three-month burst, while new rival Wesley Clark is turning to some of Mr. Clinton's most loyal and effective fund-raisers to help him jump-start his presidential campaign.

No Democrat is coming close to President Bush's fund raising, however. Mr. Bush is expected to collect about $43 million by the time the third quarter ends next Tuesday, bringing his total this year to roughly $78 million, GOP officials said.

Dean, raising millions on the Internet, is likely to take in $13 million to $16 million this quarter, a campaign insider said. That would lift him to at least $23.5 million for the race so far and likely make him the Democratic money leader for the year.

Democratic strategists say Dean could raise at least double what his party's other top hopefuls will collect during the third quarter. The former Vermont governor has already passed the Democratic record set by Mr. Clinton, who took in $10.3 million over three months in 1995 for his re-election.

Mr. Bush set an overall single-quarter record in the last period, collecting $35.1 million in his first six weeks of the 2004 campaign, breaking the record of about $29.7 million he set in 1999. His expected take of $43 million in this period is likely to set a record.

Dean spokeswoman Tricia Enright said that while Dean's flood of online contributions is drawing most of the attention, he also is using direct mail and events to raise money.

"We're doing all the kinds of traditional fund raising as well," Enright said.

Clark is on pace to collect $2 million or more by the time the fund-raising quarter ends, after only two weeks in the Democratic race. The retired general, like Clinton an Arkansan, is getting a boost from some of the former president's most prolific fund-raisers.

The team so far includes Skip Rutherford, head of the Clinton presidential library; New York venture capitalist Alan Patricoff, who helped raise millions for Clinton; Eli Segal, chief of staff to Clinton's 1992 campaign and former head of the AmeriCorps national service program Clinton created; Mickey Kantor, commerce secretary in the Clinton administration; and Bob Burkett, a business consultant in Washington, D.C, and Los Angeles.

Patricoff said Clark will have to get his fund-raising organization off the ground quickly, but working with people who attracted donors for Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore will be a big help.

"We know who the people are, where the people are," Patricoff said. "He's going to come on fast, all over the country."

Hollywood fund-raiser Laura Berthold also has signed up to collect money for Clark. Berthold, who ran a Hollywood women's political committee, also is raising money for Dean. She is not a veteran of the Clinton crew.

John Kerry, Dick Gephardt and Joe Lieberman are expected to be in roughly the $4 million to $6 million range in third-quarter fund raising. John Edwards is expected to come in below that, along with the other four candidates in the 10-way Democratic race.

Edwards led Democrats in fund raising in the first quarter, with $7.4 million, and had raised a total of $11.9 million as of June 30, the end of the last quarter.

"As we have always said, the third quarter will be our lowest in terms of dollars raised because our focus the past few months was on talking to voters, not fund raising," Edwards spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said, adding that Edwards will have enough to compete.

Many of the campaigns are sending frequent e-mail pitches to prospective donors, seeking help with the current fund-raising deadline looming. The next campaign finance reports are due at the Federal Election Commission Oct. 15.

"Give today, as much as you can afford," Kerry national campaign treasurer Bob Farmer wrote in an e-mail Monday. "How we do by the Sept. 30 FEC filing deadline will determine how the media perceives our campaign."

Kerry fund-raiser Alan Solomont, of Solomont Bailis Ventures in Weston, Mass., said Dean "hit a gusher" in Internet fund raising, but he believes Kerry has the strongest national operation for traditional fund raising. If Kerry were to finish this quarter with about $5 million, he would have collected about $21 million so far.

Clark has his work cut out for him, unless he hits the same Internet gusher as Dean, Solomont said.

"At this point he can't afford to spend all of his time trying to build a fund-raising organization," he said. "He's got to get himself out there."

The Democrat who emerges as the party's presumptive nominee will be helped with about $16 million in spending by the Democratic National Committee. Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe said the DNC has already raised at least $8 million for that effort.

The Democrats will need it; Mr. Bush is widely expected to raise $200 million or more for the primary season, without a GOP opponent. He raised more than $100 million for the primaries in 2000.