WAUSAU, Wis. -- After being surprised by losses in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Howard Dean and his top advisers decided to seek political rejuvenation by taking a stand in the Wisconsin primary today. To fuel the effort, the campaign sent out an e-mail to 660,000 supporters on Feb. 5, seeking donations.
"The entire race has come down to this: We must win Wisconsin," said the message, which bore Dean's electronic signature. "We must launch our new television advertisement on Monday in the major markets in Wisconsin. To do that, I need your help to raise $700,000 by Sunday. . . . Your $50 contribution will allow us to get out our message onto the airwaves, and win Wisconsin. Please contribute now."
And they did, not only meeting the goal of $700,000, but continuing to donate as the campaign doubled the goal to $1.4 million. As of last night, the tally stood at $1.3 million.
Yesterday, a media consortium in Wisconsin released an analysis of advertising spending in the state by the Democratic candidates. It indicated Dean had not spent the $700,000 he said he needed for television ads, having booked only $227,000 worth as of last Friday. That was less than the money spent by his two main rivals, Senators John F. Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina. The study found that Edwards had booked $316,000 worth of ads, while Kerry had $263,000.
Jay Carson, a Dean spokesman, said yesterday that the campaign did not mislead its supporters, despite the specificity of the appeal.
"We've put their hard-earned money where we think it will best help us here. We have enough on TV to be competitive, we have a lot in the field, and we're traveling more than anybody else," Carson said. "This money is being spent on Wisconsin. It's just being spent in different ways."