« "Will electronic systems be more secure than what we've got now?" | Main | Torricelli's "trust fund for Democrats" »

Kerry's fundraising

Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) is setting in motion one of the most ambitious fundraising plans in Democratic Party history, fearful that without tens of millions of dollars' worth of television advertising this spring, his candidacy will be overpowered by the $100 million-plus bank account of President Bush.

Expecting to lock up the Democratic nomination shortly, Kerry plans to spend much of next month traveling coast-to-coast, aggressively wooing the donors who sat on the sidelines in 2003 or who bankrolled Democratic rivals Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.) and retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark, aides said. The courtship is well underway -- at least a dozen major fundraisers from other camps say they have agreed to work for Kerry -- and the campaign collected $6.5 million in the 23 days after his Iowa victory.

The greater challenge for Kerry will be tapping into former Vermont governor Howard Dean's donor base, a collection of 300,000 fiercely loyal supporters who gave more than $41 million. "We don't know the answer yet," said one Kerry strategist, who marveled at the number of Dean contributors and their willingness to keep sending money despite a string of Dean defeats. ...

Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, heiress to the Heinz ketchup fortune, has the option of contributing unlimited sums to finance "independent" expenditures on behalf of her husband's candidacy as long as she does not coordinate the effort with his campaign. -- Washington Post