WASHINGTON – When Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean (search) asked his supporters to match the fund-raising prowess of Vice President Dick Cheney, they stepped up to the plate, raising more than $450,000 over the Internet (search) in a single weekend.
The effort began Friday, when the Vermont governor's campaign Web site challenged donors to match the $250,000 that Cheney was slated to raise at a single luncheon in South Carolina. Dean's campaign set a deadline of midnight Monday to reach the goal.
More than 8,700 donors helped Dean surpass his goal by Sunday, and contributions continued to come in throughout the day Monday.
"Let's show Dick Cheney that the grass roots have the power to take on the special interests that have bought the Bush administration," the campaign urged in an e-mail. "Let's show George W. Bush and Dick Cheney (search) that we will not let our government be sold to the highest bidder."
Dean's Web site used a baseball bat icon to track the amount of money donated online, showing updated totals every half hour.
In the larger scheme, though, Dean's weekend challenge can hardly compare with the Bush juggernaut. Since Bush launched his bid for re-election on May 16, his campaign has raised at least $41.4 million, including $7 million on a recent two-day swing through Texas. That's more than $635,000 a day and counting since the effort started.
"We remain focused on building a strong grass-roots organization and raising resources to help get the President's message out," said Bush campaign spokesman Dan Ronayne.
By contrast, Dean's campaign has raised more than $7 million this year, $5 million coming through the Internet. The average online donation has been $73, according to the campaign.