Dean tops rivals in fund raising in state
Seattle Times chief political reporter
Howard Dean raised more campaign cash last year from Washington state than his four closest rivals combined, according to fund-raising reports filed by the Democratic candidates for president.
But when it comes to money, Washington may be most important to Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich. More than 5 percent of his total campaign funds came from the state, and he collected more only from California and New York.
Through the end of 2003, Dean raised $679,842 from Washington state, according to figures compiled by the Center for Public Integrity, a Washington, D.C., campaign-watchdog group.
Those numbers include only a portion of contributions of less than $200, which do not need to be reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The Dean campaign has been very successful at raising money through small donations — much more so than any other campaign — so the total from Washington state for last year is actually higher. In the first three quarters of 2003, Dean's total doubled when the campaign provided details on all the small donations.
Dean's first-place finish in last year's money race from the state corresponds with what most observers have said is his front-runner status in this state's Saturday presidential caucus, though that has wavered a bit since Dean lost the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.
The Democratic candidate who raised the second-largest amount of money, though, has had zero presence in the state.
North Carolina Sen. John Edwards raised $176,263 from Washington residents, according to numbers provided by the center.
But most of that came in the first three quarters of the year. As 2003 closed, and it was clear Edwards was not campaigning in the state, his money dried up; he raised $3,900 in the last three months of the year, according to records filed with the FEC that includes no small donations.
The Edwards campaign, as has been the case throughout the race, did not respond to telephone calls asking for comment on its Washington operation.
Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman's fund raising also dropped precipitously in the last quarter, when he raised just $11,100 from the state. He has not campaigned for votes in Saturday's presidential caucus.
Lieberman raised a total of $153,893 last year.
Retired Gen. Wesley Clark raised $153,714. And while money dried up for Lieberman and Edwards, Clark had a productive fourth quarter, bringing in $72,557.
Clark was the last of the major candidates to enter the race.
"That fourth-quarter fund raising is largely spontaneous giving," said Kevin Price, Clark's state director. "None of that is high-dollar fund raising."
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry raised $151,555 last year.
Kucinich raised $91,176. He also relies on a lot of small donations that would not be reflected in that figure.
"It's all done through small events — buying buttons, buying bumper stickers," said Gerri Haynes, the campaign's state coordinator.
Kucinich also has held fund-raisers when he visits, though the most extravagant was a $100-a-head dinner.
"We've had several infusions of Dennis' presence with us," Haynes said. "And the enthusiasm that he engenders by being here is very substantial because he speaks so clearly and truthfully about our issues and our value system, and that compels us to support him."
The numbers were provided as an addendum to the center's recent book, "The Buying of the President 2004," which looks at the financial backing of the candidates for president, including President Bush. Bush raised more than $2 million from Washington last year.
David Postman: 360-943-9882 or email@example.com
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