The Campaign Spot

Heck of a Job, Howie

We’re going to hear a great deal about how amazing Barack Obama’s fundraising has been — and indeed, $55 million in a month is an astounding number.

It will probably generate some more stories about “energized Democratic donors, depressed and stingy Republican donors.”
But there’s an odd wrinkle at the party committees:

For all the success that Democratic presidential candidates have had in raising money — taking in a combined total of over $500 million in the current race — the Republicans are beating them in one crucial area of fund-raising: the money being raised by the parties themselves.
The Democratic National Committee ended 2007 nearly flat broke, with cash of $2.9 million and debts of $2.2 million. Since then it has raised some money, paid down debt and managed to put $3.7 million in its piggy bank. This compares, however, with $25 million that the Republican National Committee has in cash on hand, after having raised $97 million since the beginning of 2007…
Party officials maintain that the D.N.C. is cash poor partly by design, reflecting a strategy by Howard Dean, the party’s chairman, to invest in building a party infrastructure rather than amassing a huge war chest.

As one strategist pointed out to me recently, the Democratic base of grassroots donors has never been more fired up than they are now, and even they won’t put their hard earned resources into the hands of Howard Dean.  He looks buffoonish compared to the party’s presidential candidates, particularly in his management of the Florida and Michigan primary debacles.  The McCain campaign must be secretly cheering his public reemergence.

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