- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Two of the highest-profile Democrats running in the crowded field to challenge President Bush next year have stumbled in the second-quarter fund-raising race.

Rep. Richard A. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat and former House minority leader, missed his goal by more than $1 million, according to detailed figures released by the Federal Election Commission yesterday.

“We fell short,” said Gephardt campaign spokesman Erik Smith. “But we’ll have sufficient funds to meet the spending caps in every early state through Michigan.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the 2000 Democratic vice-presidential candidate, shook up his campaign fund-raising staff on the eve of releasing detailed figures that showed him in the middle of the pack.

Though he raised more than $5 million — third place for the quarter — he had just $4 million in cash on hand. Mr. Lieberman’s top two fund-raisers resigned this week.

“We want to build on our successes,” spokesman Jano Cabrera said. “They had a different vision on how to do that.”

Sen. John Edwards, North Carolina Democrat, fell to fourth place in fund raising in the second quarter after he surprised everyone by landing in the top spot during the first quarter. Adding insult, Mr. Edwards also fell short of the $5 million his office claimed at the close of the quarter earlier this month.

Several published and broadcast reports said Mr. Edwards expected to raise $5 million but raised only $4.5 million.

“He has a tremendous base among trial lawyers,” said Ron Faucheux, editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. “This is an indication that even some among his own base are having second thoughts about his chances.”

All the Democrats’ campaign funds were dwarfed by the $34.4 million Mr. Bush had raised since officially joining the race in May.

The big winner among Democrats was former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who posted nearly $7.6 million.

Much of Mr. Dean’s financial surge was because of his major presence on the Internet. The former governor’s campaign said he had collected donations from more than 80,000 contributors, whose average gift was a relatively small $88.11 per person.

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, came in second place for the quarter with $5.8 million. Sen. Bob Graham, Florida Democrat, raised $2 million after getting a late start.

“Our fund-raising operation is just now being put into place,” said Graham spokeswoman Kristian Denny. “At the end of the first quarter, our campaign chairman had been in place for just three weeks.”

“We will raise the money we need to be competitive,” she said.

Mr. Kerry now holds the edge with more than $10 million in cash on hand, followed by Mr. Edwards with $8 million and Mr. Dean with $6.4 million.

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, raised $1.5 million in the second quarter and has just over $1 million on hand.

Figures for former Sen. Carol Mosley Braun and the Rev. Al Sharpton were not available yesterday.

Mr. Faucheux said that while the numbers were disappointing for some and respectable for others, no shocking developments happened.

“All the major candidates continue to raise enough money to keep a national campaign going,” he said. “Everybody’s still in the mix because nobody’s dominating the mix.”

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