Washington Prowler

Slugger Howie Dean

He's putting up big numbers, though Red Sox fans should beware.

By 9.30.03

Former Vermont Gov. Howie Dean may be many things, but a lousy fundraiser isn't one of them. Then again, you should see what kind of baseball fan he's been.

For example, Dean, who has spent much of his adult life in the Massachusetts/New Hampshire/Vermont nexus, claims that it was only three years ago that he became a Boston Red Sox fan. This from a man who was telling voters ten years ago that he was a red-hose man all the way. In typical Dean fashion, he probably lied in either case. Truth be told, he spent his formative years rooting for the New York Yankees, and they appear to remain number one in his heart.

"Earlier this year, on the road in Iowa, he would ask about the Yankee scores when they were being challenged for the pennant by the Red Sox," says a Dean volunteer in Iowa. "He never asked about the Red Sox."

But enough about baseball. On to less important matters. When the Democratic candidates announce their third-quarter fundraising totals, the buzz on Dean will be getting a bit louder. That's because at the very least he has lapped the competition. Twice.

Dean's folks expect to announce that he has raised more than $13.5 million compared to -- on average -- about $4 million to $5 million among the other frontrunners, such as Sen. John Kerry and Rep. Dick Gephardt.

It's a remarkable amount that will include at least $1.5 to $2 million to be collected over Monday and today alone at more than a thousand Dean house parties around the country.

Other Democrats are getting into the act. Kerry and his fundraisers have put out a nationwide appeal for more funds leading into the Tuesday filing deadline. Others probably won't bother. Sen. Joseph Lieberman is said to be mulling a pullback of personnel around the country to save money for the races in New Hampshire and Iowa.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Graham is said to be looking at his options. His much-touted fundraising abilities have not borne as much fruit as expected. And his "family vacation" in Iowa over the summer did little to boost his standing amongst the competition. As it stands, he may be lucky to finish fourth (the position his own campaign folks have targeted), but realistically he may be looking at sixth in money raised, after fellow Senator John Edwards.

"We have ten in the race. That's too many," says a DNC staffer in Washington. "There is going to have to be a shakeout in the coming few weeks. You figure we lose Moseley Braun, we lose Kucinich, maybe we lose Graham and Al Sharpton. That leaves us six. That's a better number."

Graham is said to be under pressure by some inside the Democratic Senate leadership to drop the presidential bid and concentrate on his Senate re-election in Florida. "That's a must-win seat for us," says the DNC staffer. "Daschle and others want him to focus on staying in the Senate for another couple of years, at least."

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