Robert Novak notes that Democratic Party fundraising has lagged since Howard Dean’s apppointment as party chairman:
Democratic National Committee (DNC) fund raising under the chairmanship of Howard Dean shows a disappointing $16.7 million raised in the first quarter of 2005, compared with $34 million reported by the Republicans.
That tends to confirm dire predictions by old-line Democratic fund-raisers of a fall-off in money if Dean became chairman. He had promised to bring in heavy individual contributions, as he did in his 2004 campaign for president. But the DNC in the first quarter received only $13 million from individuals, compared to $31 million for the Republican National Committee (RNC).
Whether this relates to Dean’s frequent missteps, I don’t know. The Dems may also be seeing the effects of last year’s Presidential race, when independent organizations like MoveOn and ACT largely replaced the party’s fundraising apparatus. It may be that left-wing Democrats are continuing to support those far-left organizations rather than the party. I’d be curious to know whether our readers have seen any data on fundraising by those organizations; I haven’t. McCain-Feingold has been a disaster pretty much across the board, but I don’t think there is any doubt that the biggest loser has been the Democratic Party.