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Clark gains on Dean in fund-raising race

Dem bucks, Dem bucks: Biz boosts hopefuls

WASHINTON — Retired Gen. Wesley Clark, the newest candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, has marshaled broad financial support from metropolitan Los Angeles and New York City, as well as considerable donations from the entertainment industry.

If Clark can keep his momentum, he may give Howard Dean a run for his money: In just a few weeks on the campaign trail, Clark has raised nearly $3.5 million and spent only a fraction, leaving him with $3.4 million.

He has already banked a total of $101,000 from the entertainment industry, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Despite the initial success, Clark has a long way to go before catching up with Dean, who broke all Democratic fund-raising records this year. And no Dem has come close to President Bush $85 million war chest.

Dean has collected a total of $25.6 million so far and has $12.4 million on hand after expenditures. A CRP analysis credits Dean with taking in $498,000 from the entertainment industry to date, some $61,000 from Time Warner alone. Nearly one-fourth, or $3.1 million, of Dean’s contributions come from California, while 14% ($1.8 million) hails from the Empire State.

The CRP analysis does not contain direct, state-to-state comparisons of the candidates’ fund-raising support in California and New York. Instead the report provides state totals for Dean but only metro Los Angeles and New York City area totals for Clark. But data still sheds some light on Clark’s early support.

So far, the Big Apple and the Southland have been especially kind to Clark. He raised more money in New York City ($407,000) than in any other metro area, but Los Angeles came in a close second with $319,000.

Most major Hollywood donors remain uncommitted, cutting checks to multiple Dems in the race. It’s hard to compete with the attention Dean’s already received from the entertainment community with the help of backer Rob Reiner.

But Clark is starting to attract the support of some major players and can boast the backing of television great and activist Norman Lear. Alan Alda and wife Arlene have ponied up $4,000, Ted Danson has given $2,000, and Clark also counts Nora Ephron, Christopher Guest, Alan Ladd and wife Cindra and Barry Levinson as contributors.

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