Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Howard Dean Bringing In Big Money From Major Donors Once Skeptical Of Him"

Greg Sargent:
This is interesting: Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean, who was greeted with intense skepticism by the party's big-money donors at the outset of his tenure, appears on track to bring in far more cash this quarter from those top fundraisers than many expected.
The DNC is on track to haul in roughly $14 million this quarter, approximately $3.8 million of which comes from major donors, who are defined as donors who gave more than $5,000 as an individual or from a PAC, the DNC says. That's a significant jump from the first quarter of 2003 -- the last comparable year -- when the DNC raised only $2.23 million from major donors, according to the DNC's numbers.

Yes, Dean is being helped by the White House's awful political travails. Nonetheless, it's still significant, because it suggests that Dean has had far more success than many expected in winning over the party's major contributors, who were initially so skeptical of Dean's gloves-off, grass-roots approach that they privately were threatening to clamp shut their wallets.

Top Democratic donor Robert Zimmerman describes the jump in money from the big contributors as "very significant."

"The major donors initially were skeptical of Dean and his 50-state strategy," Zimmerman says. "Dean had to prove the merits and logic of his strategies. But the success of his 50-state strategy certainly has impressed the establishment donor community. Unlike in 2004, when there was an overreliance on 527s that undermined the idea of a strong party structure, the support Dean is receiving from major donors shows a growing recognition among them that a strong DNC is an essential tool for victory in 2008."

Times do change.

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