WASHINGTON – Presidential hopeful Howard Dean (search) lived up to his campaign slogan "people-powered Howard" last year, making campaign staff and consultants one of his biggest expenses as he spent all but about $8.5 million of the record $41 million he raised.
Dean spent more than $6.5 million on staff salaries and related expenses, and more than $2 million on consultants. Ads were another big cost, accounting for at least $7 million, and he spent at least $4.5 million on direct mail, campaign finance reports showed Saturday.
While other candidates focused on one or two early voting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina, Dean said from the beginning that he planned to run a national campaign. He advertised early and also established extensive get-out-the-vote operations in several states.
Then he lost to John Kerry (search) and John Edwards (search) in Iowa and to Kerry in New Hampshire in January, leading him to replace campaign manager Joe Trippi and rethink his campaign strategy and budget.
Last week, sources close to the campaign said Dean was down to about $5 million in cash after bills were paid. Dean is withholding staff salaries, declining to advertise in the seven states holding primaries on Tuesday, and planning to cut or shuffle staff as he decides which states to compete in.
As Dean undertook broad campaign belt-tightening, there were hopeful signs for his fund-raisers. The Internet contributors key to the Democratic record $41 million he collected last year continued giving as Dean raised roughly $1.5 million online in the past week, and at least $2.2 million from all fund-raising sources since his Iowa loss Jan. 19, his campaign said.
The Democratic presidential candidates had kept their campaign balances heading into the new year a closely guarded secret, but all had to reveal them in year-end campaign finance reports due at the Federal Election Commission on Saturday.
Wesley Clark (search) raised about $14 million last year after entering the race in September, his report showed. He spent $10.4 million and had about $3 million on hand after bills as December ended.
Cash ran low for Joe Lieberman (search) and former Democratic hopeful Dick Gephardt (search) as 2004 began. Lieberman had only about $350,000 more on hand than he owed, while Gephardt had about $450,000 more in the bank than he had in bills.
Lieberman raised about $14 million last year. He had about $612,000 left at the end of December but about $253,000 in bills.
Gephardt abandoned his presidential bid after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses. He started January with about $1.6 million in the bank but also $1.1 million in bills to pay. He raised $16.6 million for his presidential campaign last year.
Lieberman received about $3.6 million and Gephardt about $3 million from the presidential public financing program on Jan. 2, providing a crucial financial boost heading into the primary season. Clark received the biggest payment from the taxpayer financed system: about $3.7 million.
Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich (search) reported starting the year with $2.6 million on hand and $1.5 million in bills to pay. Kucinich raised $6.4 million last year, and drew an additional $730,000 in public funding.
Three of the seven Democrats still in the race — John Kerry, John Edwards and Al Sharpton — had yet to file their reports by mid-evening.
President Bush was the first to file his report. It shows the Republican raised a record $132.7 million last year and spent $33.6 million.
Bush headed into the primary season with $99 million left to spend. He has no Republican challenger, leaving him free to focus his spending on preparing for the general election season and the emergence of a Democratic nominee-to-be.
Bush is closing in on his goal of raising at least $150 million. He collected at least $7.3 million in January, bringing his total to at least $140 million so far, an Associated Press tally of contributions listed on his campaign Web site shows.
Bush, like Dean and Kerry, is skipping public money for the primaries, allowing him to spend more than the program's $45 million limit.
The public financing system offers presidential primary candidates a match of up to $250 on each private donation they raise, up to a total government grant of about $18.6 million.