WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kerry (search) is contributing $1 million to the Democratic National Committee (search) to support efforts by the next chairman, Howard Dean (search), in building grassroots support for the party at the state level.
"Join me with a contribution of your own to show the incoming DNC chair that you want to support organizing in your own community," Kerry wrote in an e-mail to about 3 million supporters on his e-mail list.
"A new DNC chair will be elected at the end of this week," Kerry wrote of his onetime political rival. "Let's make sure he has everything he needs to start strong."
Kerry said Democrats need to have strong organizations at the state, local and precinct levels. Republicans were very effective at grassroots organizing in the last election.
Kerry, the Democratic nominee in 2004, and Dean were fierce adversaries early in the presidential campaign when Dean was the front runner. After Kerry won early caucuses and primaries, Dean dropped out of the race and campaigned for Kerry, raising money for him using his extensive e-mail list of donors.
Both Kerry and Dean were successful raising money through the Internet.
Soon after the November election, Democratic officials learned Kerry had more than $15 million left from his campaign account. After transfers to pay pending legal expenses and primary season bills, Kerry was expected to have just shy of $10 million in his primary campaign account.
Since that time, Kerry has given $1 million to the Democrats' Senate campaign committee, paid more than $250,000 to help pay for the successful recount effort for Christine Gregoire in the Washington state governor's race and donated money to help Democrats in House special elections in Louisiana.
Kerry donated more than $32 million to the DNC in 2004, including $9 million targeted to state parties. He gave more than $40 million overall to Democratic causes.
Kerry aides said they don't know an exact amount in his campaign account now because bills are still being paid. That account could be used to mount a bid for the presidency in 2008.