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Saturday, September 21, 2002


Dean says task of getting noticed accomplished

posted by Jerome at Saturday, September 21, 2002 permalink View blog reactions
Heavily quoted, good info on how it's going in Burlington:

MONTPELIER -- Howard Dean's first task as a presidential candidate was being noticed and taken seriously among the large cast considering a 2004 race.

He believes he's been successful, and now Vermont's soon-to-retire governor is turning his attention toward raising the money that also will be a test of his viability on the national stage.

"We're in the mix," Dean said at a news conference devoted primarily to state issues this week. "Now we've got to raise some money."

Recent national news media coverage supports Dean's contention.... "If you read a story now on the national level about who's running for president, it's not John Kerry, John Edwards and Al Gore," said Kate O'Connor, who is coordinating Dean's presidential campaign. "It's John Kerry, John Edwards, Al Gore and Howard Dean. So that's a huge accomplishment for us to be seen as a credible candidate. And he's being taken seriously."

The campaign has rented new, larger offices in Burlington to be closer to a student volunteer base at the University of Vermont and other nearby colleges. The office happens to be across the hall from the Vermont office of the Secret Service, a fact that the staff likes to point out. There are six full-time paid staffers and four UVM student interns who are earning class credit. The campaign has hired two fund-raisers, one with Vermont roots and the other with a national reputation raising money for gay and lesbian organizations.

Carolyn Dwyer, who has raised money locally and nationally for Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is working out of Burlington. Julie Tagen is working out of her home in Washington. She most recently was the development director for the Victory Fund, which backs gay and lesbian political candidates. She also raised money at one time for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian organization.

"We know that's the next step," Dean said of fund-raising. The campaign is being careful now not to raise too much money, O'Connor said. Federal matching money for presidential campaigns does not begin flowing until January 2003. So anything raised now can't leverage additional cash. "We obviously are going to rely very heavily on the presidential matching program," she said. "Our immediate fund-raising goal is to raise enough to keep going. For us, it doesn't make sense to raise $10 million right now because none of it can be matched."

The campaign is identifying potential donors and will be going to them after January to begin the big money push, O'Connor said. That's also when Dean will be leaving office as Vermont governor and plans a formal announcement of his candidacy.

In the meantime, Dean continues with a heavy travel schedule. "Our strategy is to target the states that we obviously think he can do well in because he has a message that resonates there," she said. She mentioned Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon as nontraditional presidential states but ones where Dean believes his prospects are good.

He's also traveling to early primary and caucus states and elsewhere for strategy sessions. He's already met with President Clinton and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. Next week he travels to Atlanta to seek advice from the man he considers his mentor: President Carter.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.