Dean surpasses Kerry in raising funds in the Bay State
Small-money donors provided campaign boost on rival's turf
A blizzard of small-money contributions enabled presidential contender Howard Dean to raise more money in Massachusetts recently than Senator John F. Kerry, underscoring the former Vermont governor's powerful appeal among liberal Democrats, even in a rival's backyard.
According to a Globe analysis of federal campaign contributions, Dean raised $569,307 from Bay State residents during the third quarter of 2003, while Kerry netted $510,262 during the same period.
Dean's donors in Massachusetts had smaller pockets, giving $387 on average. Retirees, employees at universities and hospitals, as well as artists, gave heavily. Kerry's local donors, on the other hand, gave $899 on average. Among his biggest benefactors were prominent law firms and corporate executives, more traditional and well-organized givers.
The pattern replicates Dean's fund-raising success across the country, an Internet-driven, small-donor campaign. Only, in this case, it occurred in Massachusetts, which Kerry was assumed to dominate, as most politicians do on their home turf.
Kerry's campaign pointed out that, over the last year, the Massachusetts senator has raised much more in the state than Dean.
"People of Massachusetts have given him almost $4 million. . . . It underscores the role they played in building him a firm financial footing in the early part of the campaign," said Kerry spokeswoman Kelley Benander, noting that 20 percent of the candidate's war chest comes from the Bay State.
One Kerry official said Kerry's local donors "were maxed out early." The official, who asked not to be named, also said of the populist tinge of the donations to Dean, that "no one would deny Dean was able to create a grass-roots network that no other candidates have been able to."
Dean campaign national cochairman Steve Grossman said: "We didn't set out to outraise Kerry. . . . The [Iraq] war is a defining issue for a lot people in Massachusetts, and that helped us."
Kerry clearly had the edge among the area's movers and shakers, with donations from Michael Dukakis, Staples chief executive officer Ronald Sargent, Boston Beer chairman Jim Koch and FleetBoston Financial Corp. CEO Charles Gifford. Dean's most well-known contributors were singer Carly Simon and actor James Belushi, but his contribution list was short on high-ranking officials and executives.
The Globe analyzed 6,829 donations to Democratic candidates by Massachusetts residents from January to September of this year, as recorded in Federal Election Commission records. The data do not include many contributions under $200, for which the FEC does not keep detailed records on.
Kerry and Dean were far ahead of the pack in local fund-raising overall this year, with Kerry getting more than $3 million and Dean receiving $929,008. Connecticut Senator Joseph I. Lieberman was third in the Bay State, with $243,375, followed closely by Missouri Representative Richard A. Gephardt at $236,570 and North Carolina Senator John Edwards at $110,555. Late entry Wesley K. Clark, the retired general, got $73,400.
But these totals were over the entire nine-month period, during much of which the campaigns were in preparation mode.
During the July to September period, when the campaign gained steam and public attention, Dean outraised Kerry.
Kerry has been a fixture of state politics for two decades: Lieutenant governor in 1982, then election to the US Senate in 1984, with three subsequent reelections. Dean, though governing in neighboring Vermont, had limited visibility in Massachusetts, and around the country, until this summer.
"The numbers could well represent people with new interest in Dean, as opposed to all the usual suspects for Kerry," said Dante Scala, of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College.
Three of Dean's top five locations for local contributions were universities: Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Boston University.
"University communities are always pacifist or close to it. That does reveal that the antiwar tilt by Dean is having an impact," said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia.
Harvard students and staff also gave heavily to Kerry, but two local powerhouses, Hill, Holliday advertising and the Mintz Levin law firm, were the most lucrative spots for Kerry.
Local attorneys were the top giving profession to Kerry over the year. Retirees were Dean's number one contributors. Physicians, professors, writers, and artists also gave generously to Dean, ranking among the top 10 professions donating to him.
People who listed their job titles as corporate president, CEO, law or investment firm partner, and consultant figured prominently among Kerry's donors.
"What Howard Dean has drawn to his campaign is lot of people who really are looking for fundamental change in the Democratic Party and who saw something special in him, whether it's on the war or his career as a physician," Grossman said.
Raja Mishra can be reached at email@example.com.