The Democratic National Committee (search) has raised more than $28 million through the first half of 2005, boosted by online donations, the party said Monday.

Online donations have brought in five times as much money as the party raised online in 2003 -- the last time the party was raising money in a non-election year.

Under new chairman Howard Dean (search), the Democrats have raised more than $1 million a week from about 600,000 donations. The Democrats' online effort included a monthly giving program called "Democracy Bonds" with about 15,000 donors signed up.

The DNC has about $9 million in the bank. The national party has committed more than $2 million to 16 state parties and plans to invest in state parties in all 50 states by the end of the year, the party's release said. Dean has appeared at state party fundraisers that have raised more than $1 million for 10 state parties.

While Democrats say they are raising money at a faster pace than in 2003, they face a formidable challenge from the Republican National Committee (search), which was out-raising Democrats at a 2-1 pace through May of this year.