Bush Raises More Money Than All 9 Challengers is a self-explanatory WaPo headline.
President Bush raised more money in the past three months than all nine of his Democratic rivals combined, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) yesterday, opening up a huge financial advantage that is likely to continue throughout the 2004 election campaign.
Among the Democrats, former Vermont governor Howard Dean substantially outpaced his rivals in money raised during the second quarter and continued to attract financial support from a glittery list of Hollywood celebrities, while Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.) ended up with the most money in the bank after six months of fundraising.
But what drew the most comment among Democrats yesterday was the unexpectedly weak performance of Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (Mo.), who fell more than $1 million short of his second-quarter goal. The disappointing performance, which Gephardt campaign officials did not try to dispute and which came after a mediocre first quarter, prompted a major shift in fundraising strategy that will now focus more on small donations rather than on big checks.
I suppose it’s not surprising that a reasonably popular sitting president is outpacing his rivals, the vast majority of whom are essentially unknown. The fact that the early presumed frontrunners–Lieberman, Edwards, and Gephardt–are all doing poorly continues to surprise me.