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Real $$$$$, Virtually

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Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean has raised $1 million via the Internet:

    The former Vermont governor and self-described underdog has used the Internet to complement traditional fund-raising techniques, collecting contributions through his Web site and e-mail at little cost to his campaign.

    Dean hit the $1 million mark in Internet fund raising last week, becoming the first 2004 presidential hopeful to announce he has done so. Dean supporters also are using the Internet to organize volunteers across the country.

    Campaign manager Joe Trippi said the Internet has matured to the point where people are comfortable using it to donate.

    “You had to have years and years of people, millions of Americans who bought a book from Amazon or used eBay,” Trippi said. “That had to happen sans any presidential campaign.” [Washington Post]

The Internet is ideal for lesser known candidates:

    “They can’t afford high-priced consultants. They can’t afford direct mail, which eats up sometimes 80 percent of what it raises,” Sabato said. “So they have to depend on person-to-person fund raising, and that’s the Internet. There’s almost no overhead with Internet fund raising.”

    Dean raised far less overall in the early money chase than his rivals from Congress in the nine-way Democratic race. From January through March, the most recent figures available, Edwards raised $7.4 million, Kerry $7 million, Gephardt $3.5 million, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman $3 million and Dean $2.6 million.

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