Dean, Clark led pack in primary spending

Pair who since left race spent heavily in January on TV, direct mail ads

February 22, 2004|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON - The four Democratic candidates who dropped out of the race in recent weeks all spent heavily in January's early primaries, but none more so than the upstart candidates Howard Dean and Gen. Wesley K. Clark.

Each man embraced the Internet as a fund-raising tool and brought in millions. The two then spent heavily on advertising to introduce themselves to voters and to try to win primaries in targeted states. Though both were unsuccessful, it was not for a lack of spending.

Dean, the former governor of Vermont, ran through $10.9 million in January, and his campaign spent $42.6 million overall through Jan. 31, campaign finance reports show. Clark spent even more last month - $11.8 million - and his late-blooming bid, which began in September, posted expenditures totaling $22.3 million.

"It takes money to run a campaign," said Matt Bennett, a spokesman for the Clark campaign. "But money plus momentum is what wins."

Sen. John Kerry and Sen. John Edwards have also ridden a financial roller coaster through the primaries, but their campaigns have been bolstered by electoral successes, which fueled fund-raising.

Kerry, who is from Massachusetts, brought in about $7.7 million in January, including $4.1 million in contributions and additional money from a home mortgage he took out late last year, reports show. He spent $7.1 million and closed out the month with $2.1 million in the bank. The campaign showed total debts of about $7.3 million, including $6.4 million attributed to Kerry's mortgage.

So far in February, Kerry has raised about $5 million, according to the campaign.

Edwards, who is from North Carolina, raised about $2 million in January and took in an additional $3.4 million in public financing, reports show. He spent about $5.9 million and closed the month with about $500,000 in the bank, partially offset by $383,000 in debt.

This month, he raised roughly $3.2 million more and is expecting a public financing payment in March of almost $1 million, according to the campaign.

Both Democrats are raising far less than President Bush, who brought in $12.8 million in January and $143.6 million overall, reports show. He spent about $7.6 million in January and $41.2 million overall, and closed last month with about $104 million in the bank.

Dean's spending in January was skewed heavily toward television advertising and direct mail expenses, which accounted for almost half his outlays.

Dean entered February with almost $5 million on hand and continued to raise millions more through his Internet network. He left the race this week.

Clark's January spending was similarly directed toward advertising, which accounted for at least $6.4 million. Bennett said the campaign's intent was always to spend heavily, but it was counting on facing Dean as the front-runner and not Kerry.

Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut spent almost $4 million in January and $17.3 million overall through Jan. 31, reports show. Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri spent $3.6 million last month and $18.6 million overall. The two have dropped out.

"Money isn't everything in politics, particularly in high-profile races," said Anita Dunn, a Democratic consultant.

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