June 07, 2005

Turmoil at the DNC

This does not look good for the DNC (from Hillnews.com):

Three top fundraisers at the Democratic National Committee have resigned at a time when its chairman, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, has come under fire from fellow Democrats for controversial comments and his Republican counterpart has raised more than twice as much money.

Democratic sources link the resignations to Dean’s decision to focus on raising money in small increments through the Internet, as he did during his 2004 presidential bid, and building up the party’s grassroots infrastructure while paying little attention to major Democratic donors.

But other Democrats say the first several months after a party’s losing presidential campaign are naturally a time of transition and it will take time for committee officials to get their “sea legs.” Dean’s defenders also note that DNC fundraising is ahead of where it was at this point after the last presidential election, when Democrats could still raise unlimited amounts of soft money.

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Democratic fundraisers say that there is growing concern over what they call Dean’s lack of attention to major donors and that donors are much less likely to give money if they don’t have sufficient opportunity to meet with the party’s leadership.

“When you don’t have the chairman to fundraise with, or any principals of the leadership, you can’t get major donors to help you,” a veteran Democratic fundraiser said. “You want the leaders of the party to sit down with them so they can discuss their plan.”

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Concern over Dean’s remarks has fused with concern over the party’s fundraising pace compared with that of Republicans.

Through the end of April, the DNC raised $18.2 million in total contributions, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission, although DNC officials say that $18.6 million is a more accurate total.

By comparison, the Republican National Committee has raised $42.6 million, according to FEC data — more than twice as much.
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