updated 12/30/2003 2:36:36 AM ET 2003-12-30T07:36:36

Howard Dean raised the most money of any Democratic presidential candidate in the final quarter of the year, but Wesley Clark was close behind and will be boosted by an infusion of millions of dollars in federal matching funds at the start of the new year.

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Dean, the Democratic front-runner, will have raised more than $14 million from October through December, pushing his yearly total to almost $40 million. Campaign manager Joe Trippi called on donors to push the quarterly total to the $14.8 million the campaign raised in the previous quarter, from July through September.

Clark, the retired Army general who entered the race in September, will have raised between $10 million and $12 million in the fourth quarter, for a total of almost $15 million since becoming a candidate.

Clark will get an additional bump after the new year with an estimated $3.7 million worth of federal matching money, while Dean has declined public money. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry also has declined federal funds. The remaining six candidates will all receive federal matching funds after Jan. 1.

By nearly matching Dean in the fourth quarter and accepting federal matching funds, Clark should be financially competitive with Dean in the near term. Both were aided by aggressive Internet campaigning.

Dean eyes long-term advantages
The first contests of the Democratic campaign come with Iowa’s precinct caucuses on Jan. 19 and the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 27.

Dean’s decision to reject public financing has long-term advantages: It allows him to keep raising money in the spring and summer, and to decide where to spend it, said campaign finance analyst Kent Cooper.

If Dean wins the nomination, “he then has the ability to wage war with George Bush, if not on equal footing, at least on some footing,” added campaign finance analyst Dwight Morris. President Bush also has declined public campaign funds for the primary season, in keeping with his practice during the 2000 campaign.

Gephardt, Kerry lead the rest
Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt told The Associated Press in an interview Monday that he expects to raise about the same amount as in the third quarter when he took in about $3.8 million.

In the first three quarters, he raised a total of $13.9 million, and his campaign expects more than $3 million in federal matching funds next year.

Kerry has raised more than $20 million for the year, though that fund raising slowed in the final quarter.

His campaign expects in the fourth quarter to have raised less than the $4 million collected in the previous quarter. Kerry also is lending the campaign $6.4 million based on a mortgage of his share of his family’s home in Boston.

Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina has said he expects to raise $20 million by the Iowa caucuses, and campaign aides said Monday he still expects to do that.

He raised $14.4 million in the first three quarters of the year, but his campaign declined to release the fourth-quarter total. Edwards expects an estimated $3.4 million in federal matching funds after the New Year.

Campaign aides for Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, who raised $11.7 million through the first three quarters, declined to give specifics about his fourth-quarter earnings. The campaign will not raise as much as the $3.6 million raised in the third quarter, but will collect $3.6 million in federal funds.

Some Lieberman staffers volunteered to postpone their paychecks for two weeks at the end of the year so that more money will be available for the final campaign push.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich will have raised at least $1.5 million in the fourth quarter and will get $740,000 in matching funds. Carol Moseley Braun raised between $150,000 and $200,000, and hopes to collect $300,000 in public matching funds. Al Sharpton’s campaign did not provide details of its fourth-quarter fund raising.

No matter how much they raise, the Democratic candidates will face a steep challenge competing financially with Bush. Bush’s re-election campaign had raised more than $115 million by early December, more than the $106 million Bush raised for the 2000 elections.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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