The surprise top-two finishes by John Kerry and John Edwards in Iowa are already paying off.
Each took in tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions over their Web sites within hours of the Iowa caucuses.
Kerry, Edwards and third-place finisher Howard Dean all tried to capitalize on Monday’s events with fund-raising e-mails. They urged donors to give in time to make a difference in the next big test, New Hampshire’s primary next Tuesday.
“I need your help, and I need it immediately to continue the surge in New Hampshire,” Kerry wrote Tuesday. “Please contribute today, as much as you can afford.”
Along with his e-mail, Kerry challenged donors to help him raise $365,000 over the Internet on Tuesday — marking the 365 days left before the 2005 inauguration — and collected roughly $300,000 by late afternoon.
The candidates entered the primary season in varying degrees of financial health. The Iowa outcome is likely to shake up the money race further, prompting some undecided donors to get off the fence and those who gave to losing candidates to donate to the early winners as well.
Edwards could be seeing his second reversal of fortune. Thanks in large part to millions of dollars from fellow trial lawyers, Edwards started 2003 leading in money, only to drop behind Dean and Kerry as the year progressed.
Edwards’ second-place Iowa finish could help re-ignite his attorney donor base and help him move beyond it.
The North Carolina senator saw an immediate surge in contributions after his second-place Iowa finish, which brought in at least $250,000 online between Monday and Tuesday evenings, his campaign said.
“With you, we can shock the world again,” Edwards campaign manager Nick Baldick wrote in a fund-raising e-mail Tuesday morning.
Edwards met his goal of raising $20 million by the Iowa voting, and has enough to see him through at least the Feb. 3 primaries, said spokesman Roger Salazar said. Edwards planned one fund-raiser in Boston and two in New York on Tuesday.
Dean seeks $1 million
Dean began January as the financial front-runner. Fueled by unprecedented Internet fund raising, the former Vermont governor collected a Democratic record of $40 million last year and became the first in his party to skip public financing and its spending limits for the primaries.
Dean told donors Tuesday that he needs their help more than ever: “We must raise $1,000,000 by next Tuesday’s primary,” Dean wrote.
Dean spokesman Jay Carson said that doesn’t mean the campaign is short on money. He declined to reveal how much it has on hand, beyond saying it has plenty.
Like Dean, Kerry opted out of public financing.
Kerry began 2003 second to Edwards in money and, like Edwards, saw his fund-raising totals fall as the months passed. He finished the year a distant second to Dean in money.
In December, Kerry pumped nearly $7 million in personal loans into his campaign to get through the early primaries, supplementing more than $20 million in contributions from others.
Spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter declined to say how much cash the Kerry campaign had on hand, but said Kerry’s December loans are expected to see the Massachusetts senator through the Feb. 3 primaries before he will have to decide whether to put more of his own money into the race.
Another hopeful, Wesley Clark, was seeking to capitalize on his absence from the Iowa voting. His campaign sent a fund-raising e-mail Tuesday telling donors the race is wide open and Clark must redouble his efforts to win.
The retired general started the new year with $10 million to $12 million in the bank, and expects to raise more than $3.5 million in January, campaign chairman Eli Segal said.