DNC Tries to Close Money Gap With GOP

The Democratic National Committee (search) raised $3.4 million in three weeks -- more than double the amount raised during the same time in 2001 after President Bush was first elected, the new Democratic chairman said Monday.

Chairman Howard Dean (search) is working to keep Democrats competitive with a national Republican Party that had a 6-1 cash advantage at the beginning of February. In January, the GOP raised $10.5 million.

Dean was elected DNC chairman Feb. 12 by party members hoping he would bring the fund-raising skills that he exhibited during his presidential campaign.

"We're just delighted the fund raising is going better than we had dared to hope," Dean said Monday in a phone interview. "We haven't put out an Internet solicitation yet."

Dean said he expects to begin soliciting money through the Internet "sooner rather than later" and said the party will depend heavily on its base of small donors.

The former Vermont governor also has been helping state parties raise money. He made an appearance at a Mississippi fund-raiser March 1 that brought in $90,000 and one in Kansas that netted $45,000.

The DNC has raised nearly $9.6 million in 2005 -- less than half the total raised by the Republican National Committee (search) in that time.

Republican Chairman Ken Mehlman has concentrated his efforts in recent weeks raising money for state and local parties, said RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt.