WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential hopeful Wesley Clark (search) capped his first two weeks of fund raising by taking in nearly $1 million in a single day, tallying a flood of donations that helped put him on financial par with several rivals.
In all, the retired general collected $3.5 million between his entry into the race in mid-September and the end of the last fund-raising period Sept. 30.
That's well behind Democratic money leader Howard Dean (search)'s $15 million, but firmly in line with the third-quarter fund-raising of several others who have been campaigning for months.
Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (search) reported about $4 million in receipts, Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt (search) raised $3.8 million, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut took in about $3.6 million, and North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (search) reported about $2.6 million, including $460,609 transferred from his Senate campaign fund, according to campaign finance reports filed Wednesday.
Though much of the field was bunched together in contribution totals for July through September, clearer advantages appear when it comes to money in the bank.
Dean leads there, too, with about $12 million on hand, followed by Kerry with $7.8 million; Gephardt with about $5.9 million; Edwards, $4.8 million; Lieberman, $4 million; and Clark, $3.4 million. Clark will need that bankroll and more. While the others began building their campaigns months ago, Clark has just weeks to go before the early primaries begin.
Clark drew roughly a third of his early money from California, New York, Texas and his home state of Arkansas. Attorneys were one of the top donor occupations listed, with more than $240,000 coming from them. About $750,000 in donations were lined up by "draft Clark" groups before his entry into the race, and at least $950,000 arrived Sept. 30.
Gephardt said some Democratic donors are waiting to see how the field shakes out before giving to a candidate.
"There are people who are waiting for you to tell them who's definitely going to win," Gephardt said. "It'll become increasingly clear as we start through these primaries."
Dean, Kerry and Clark have been considering following President Bush's lead and skipping public financing for the primaries. Those who take the government money can get a match of up to $250 for each contribution up to a total of about $18.7 million, but are limited to $45 million in spending.
No Democrat comes close to Bush's fund raising. Bush began October with about $70 million in the bank and no Republican challenger on the horizon.
Bush's report shows big totals from employees at several corporations, including some with executives serving as volunteer Bush fund-raisers. Bush "Rangers" raise at least $200,000 each, while "Pioneers" solicit at least $100,000 for Bush.
Microsoft employees gave about $137,000 to Bush in the last quarter. Much of the money was given in conjunction with an Aug. 22 fund-raiser Bush held in Seattle; Bush Pioneer John Conners, Microsoft's chief financial officer, was a co-chairman of the event, Microsoft spokeswoman Ginny Terzano said.
"Like most companies in the technology industry, Microsoft has a politically active employee base that is diverse in its political beliefs" and takes part in politics voluntarily, Terzano said.
A sampling of other companies whose employees together gave more than $100,000 included:
— UBS, a financial services company whose chief executive, Joseph Grano, is a Bush Ranger. Grano has been a member of Bush's Homeland Security Advisory Council.
— The Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific railroad company, whose chief executive Richard Davidson is a Bush Ranger.
— California-based Ameriquest Mortgage Co. Executive, Roland Arnall, and his wife, Dawn, are Bush Rangers.