John Kerry's budget surplus

By Jeff Horwitz
Published November 18, 2004 11:26PM (UTC)
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The Associated Press reported Wednesday that John Kerry held on to more than $15 million he raised during the course of the 2004 campaign, and that some Democrats aren't too happy about it.

"Democrats are questioning why he sat on so much money that could have helped him defeat George Bush or helped down-ballot races, many of which could have gone our way with a few more million dollars," Donna Brazile told the AP.

"Three former Kerry campaign aides, also demanding anonymity out of concerns about alienating their former boss, said they were surprised and disappointed to learn that he left so much money in the bank."

The money could have been used to pay for advertisements, field organizers, or other efforts in support of tight races. One obvious example of a candidate who could have used the help was Kentucky Democrat Daniel Mongiardo, who with little money came within 18,000 votes of beating Republican incumbent Senator Jim Bunning.

Kerry isn't the first candidate to end the campaign with more money than he started with, but the $15-17 million he still has in his campaign fund far exceeds what Gore kept in reserve. Gore gave most of his away to the Democratic Senate and House Campaign committees -- and to John Kerry.

Kerry could follow Gore's lead. But he could also stockpile the money for another presidential run in 2008, giving him a solid advantage in the Democratic primaries, where "cash on hand" is often considered a strong measure of a candidate's viability.

Should that be Kerry's plan, it could backfire in terms of key support inside the party. According to AP, "one high-ranking member of the DNC, speaking on condition of anonymity, said word of Kerry's nest egg has stirred anger on the committee and could hurt his chances of putting an ally in the chairmanship."

By the way, as of Thursday morning, is still soliciting funds to help win "post-election day battles."

Jeff Horwitz

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