Saturday, March 04, 2006

"Democratic Leaders Question Whether Dean's Right on the Money"

Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza at the WaPo have the latest "inside the beltway."

Democratic congressional leaders aren't happy with the way Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is spending money. At a private meeting last month, they let him know.

Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) challenged the former Vermont governor during a session in Pelosi's office, according to Democratic sources. The leaders complained about Dean's priorities -- funding organizers for state parties in strongly Republican states such as Mississippi -- rather than targeting states with crucial races this fall.

Neither side was willing to give ground, according to several accounts of the meeting. Dean argued that his strategy is designed to rebuild the party across the country, and that he had pledged to do so when he ran for party chairman. Reid and Pelosi countered that if Democrats squander their opportunities this year, longer-term organizing efforts will not matter much.

Democratic congressional leaders are particularly worried because the Republican National Committee holds a huge financial advantage over the DNC. One congressional Democrat complained that Dean has -- at an alarming rate -- burned through the money the DNC raised, and that Republicans may be able to swamp Democrats in close races with an infusion of RNC money.

In its most recent filing with the Federal Election Commission, the DNC reported raising $50.1 million so far in the 2005-2006 cycle and had $5.8 million cash on hand at the end of last year. The RNC had raised $103 million and had $34 million cash on hand.

Dean has won friends among state party leaders for his efforts to underwrite the hiring of organizers in states where Republicans have been winning in presidential races. Dean campaigned for the DNC chairmanship by pledging to make Democrats competitive in all 50 states, not just in the 16 to 18 presidential battlegrounds. One congressional Democrat responded: "Nobody's suggesting they do 16 states, but not all states are equal."

Pelosi was particularly insistent in pressing Dean to keep focused on 2006, but Dean is reluctant to give congressional colleagues anything approaching a blank check, preferring to stay on the course he began a year ago." Read the rest here

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Powered by Blogger