Gore Steps Up Fund-Raising Efforts

Heading back to the state that lost the election for the former vice president, Al Gore plans to hold fund-raising events in Florida, as well as New York and California, in the coming weeks to finance his political action committee.

Gore stepped back into the political fund-raising ring Tuesday night with a private event for about 40 donors in the home of a political ally. The event raised more than $100,000 for Leadership '02, Gore's PAC.

"Tuesday night was a quiet kick off with old friends and supporters, some of who have supported Gore since 1988," said Gore spokesman Jano Cabrera. "In the weeks to come, he will meet with Democratic loyalists across the country to help raise resources for Democrats in 2002."

Gore has not said whether he will run for president in 2004, but has emerged back in the Democratic spotlight in recent weeks.

On Friday, Gore will hold a more public, lower priced fund-raiser in downtown Washington. The $25 per person contribution base is intended to draw a younger crowd of supporters.

Next week, Gore will hold fund-raisers at private homes in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. On March 6, Gore will travel to New York City and on March 17, he heads to Los Angeles. Gore also plans to host a fund-raising event in Tennessee in March but details are not yet decided.

So far, Gore raised $385,000 for Leadership '02 between September and December 2001, but that is below what he will need if he decides to run for president again in 2004. Of course, that money was raised without any fund-raising or direct mail solicitations.

Other Democrats considering a run for the White House have also been raising money. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry leads the pack with $2.9 million in the bank after raising almost $4 million last year. Kerry's efforts are fueled by his Senate re-election bid in 2002, though he faces no strong opposition at this point.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.