June 3, 2005


Howard Dean's Raised Voice Isn't Raising Cash (Eamon Javers and Richard S. Dunham, 6/06/05, Business Week)

Dean wowed the faithful in '04 with his Web-based fund-raising magic. But major business donors still count, and in his new role as party honcho, the feisty doctor seems to be struggling to connect. After achieving money parity with the GOP in 2004, Democrats have fallen far behind. According to the Federal Election Commission, the DNC raised $14.1 million in the first quarter of 2005, vs. the Republican National Committee's $32.3 million. Dean drew about 20,000 new donors, while his rivals picked up 68,200. The bottom line: Republicans have $26.2 million in the bank vs. $7.2 million for the Dems.

Why the yawning gap? For starters, Dean is not a natural fit for the "stroke and joke" style that traditional party chiefs use to extract cash from well-heeled contributors. "It appears that the chairman has come to the conclusion that he doesn't need major donors," sniffs one fat cat. "He hasn't made any effort to reach out."

Personality factors aside, Dean's business-bashing '04 campaign makes him a hard sell in corporate circles. "There's a wait-and-see attitude from business and major contributors," says Nathan Landow, a Maryland developer and big-time donor. "This guy has some work to do to get the comfort level up." William W. Batoff, a Philadelphia real estate developer and longtime Democratic fund-raiser who backed President Bush in 2000 and 2004, is less diplomatic. "Howard Dean is the wrong person to be chair," says Batoff, who claims he will help fund the Dems' congressional efforts but will boycott the national committee while Dean reigns.

They brought him in to do for the national party what he did for his own campaign--kind of pointless then to complain that he's strangling it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 3, 2005 12:00 AM

The WWE gets a certain level of viewership from people who like watching unhinged men snarl for the camera and taunt their opponents, but there's a ceiling of people actually willing to fork out the money to go watch this stuff in person. Howard might be able to pull in a few more bucks if he'd challenge Dick Cheney to a steel cage death match and started throwing chairs around on stage during DNC fundraisers, but it's still not going to make most folks open their pocketbooks.

Posted by: John at June 3, 2005 12:43 AM

First they had McAuliffe, who managed successive loses in 2000, 2002, and 2004, while raising impressive amounts of money. Now they have Dean, who can't even raise money. The trend line is not auspicious.

Posted by: jd watson at June 3, 2005 4:38 AM

There's also this weird Democratic blindness to the fact that they've become the party of the rich.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 3, 2005 7:40 AM


Dean may replicate McAuliffe's electoral performance at lower cost. He's more efficient.

Posted by: Luciferous at June 3, 2005 10:59 AM

A remake of "Rebel Without a Cause."

Posted by: Genecis at June 3, 2005 11:10 AM

dean was wearing a red windbreaker and blue jeans, on the news last night,hmmmmm

Posted by: cjm at June 3, 2005 12:56 PM