- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 17, 2003

Lawyers dominated the list of contributors to Democrats in the first three months of this year, with nearly a quarter of the more than 20,000 individual itemized contributions to Democratic presidential campaigns coming from attorneys.
Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat and a successful personal-injury lawyer before winning his seat in 1998, topped the field, collecting more than half of his contributions from fellow attorneys.
Lawyers were also at the top of donor lists for Democratic contenders Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut, Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, according to newly released data compiled by the Federal Election Commission.
The second-highest group of Democratic donors were retired people, who topped the contributor list of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who collected $218,000 from them. At 66, Mr. Graham is the oldest of the Democratic presidential hopefuls, but did the poorest among retirees, raising just $43,000, almost exclusively in Florida.
The campaign-finance figures for January through March the first to be completely filed under the new campaign-finance rules were due this week, though several campaigns experienced snags in how they reported.
Mr. Edwards showed the most money raised during the three-month period with $7.4 million, and had $5.7 million cash on hand. Mr. Kerry, meanwhile, had $8 million on hand as of March 31. Mr. Gephardt was next with $4.9 million; Mr. Dean had $2 million; Mr. Lieberman had $1.8 million; Mr. Graham had about $1.1 million; Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio had $50,397; and former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois had $45,005.
The major candidates all won the fund-raising battle in their own states, with Mr. Kerry getting the biggest boost from more than 1,600 donors in Massachusetts, worth more than $1.6 million. Mr. Edwards came in second, with more than 900 North Carolinians giving him nearly $1 million.
Overall, Californians topped the list of donors, with more than one in seven donors to Democratic presidential candidates living in that state. New York was second, while Mr. Kerry's prowess boosted Massachusetts to third. Florida and North Carolina rounded out the top five.
Some Democrats say the key to beating President Bush in 2004 is winning the South, and Mr. Edwards put forth a solid showing there. His more than $2.5 million from states from Virginia to Louisiana nearly topped the rest of the field combined.
Mr. Edwards also made the deepest inroads into Mr. Bush's home state of Texas, collecting from 678 individuals there, largely fellow lawyers.
The North Carolinian managed to draw the most support from homemakers, collecting more than $600,000. Mr. Kerry and Mr. Gephardt were next-best with homemakers, raising $242,000 and $222,000 respectively.
Many of those checks, however, came from homemakers who shared an address and last name with a lawyer or business executive who had already given the maximum limit in their own names.
Mr. Dean drew from the creative crowd, garnering more than $14,000 from artists, with writers kicking in more than $41,000. Even professors and teachers seemed united behind Mr. Dean, giving him $37,000.
The Rev. Al Sharpton did not file financial reports with the FEC because "he didn't have to," said his office.

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