Democrats Look to 2004 Election Fund

WASHINGTON?Potential Democratic presidential contenders are competing to succeed former President Bill Clinton as the party’s “fund raiser-in-chief,” hoping their efforts on behalf of other candidates will pay off in 2004.

House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri has raised at least $15 million to help House Democrats in the fall election. Already this year he has appeared at fund raisers in at least 21 cities.

Also raising money for fellow Democrats and contributing dollars from their own political action committees are 2000 presidential nominee Al Gore, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Senators John Kerry and John Edwards.

“When you bring money in for the party you help yourself because you’re also exposing yourself to a lot of…states that you’re going to need in the primary season,” said David Lanoue, a University of Alabama political scientist.