WASHINGTON — Howard Dean may have plenty of support from Hollywood, but the show’s just starting when it comes to the political money chase.
Showbizzers are still hedging their bets in the wide-open race among Democratic hopefuls, but the most recent fund-raising reports show some coalescing around candidates.
The Internet propelled Dean to a first-place finish in money raised during the second quarter. But Tinseltown types also have responded to Dean’s hard-charging style and antiwar stance, helping him to bank $7.6 million, more than triple what he reported in the first quarter.
This round, Dean, the favorite of Rob Reiner and Martin Sheen, also attracted the support of celebs including Alec Baldwin, Mel Brooks, Ted Danson, Janeane Garofalo, Christopher Guest, Norman Lear, Paul Newman, Carl Reiner, Aaron Sorkin, Barbra Streisand and Bradley Whitford. Some biz types, such as HBO topper Chris Albrecht, also cut checks to Dean.
Kerry comes in 2nd
When it comes to a mix of glitterati and Hollywood corporate muscle, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) appeared to attract the heaviest hitters. Kerry came in second in fund-raising totals in the second quarter, with $5.9 million, but combined with first-quarter results he still boasts the deepest pockets, a total of $10.9 million. Kerry also appears to have deep support among the Paramount crowd; Sherry Lansing and several other top execs at the studio ponied up, as well as Edgar Bronfman Jr., Viacom topper Jonathan Dolgen, Warner Bros.’ Barry Meyers and Vivendi Universal’s Ron Meyer.
Former Recording Industry Assn. of America head Hilary Rosen gave $1,000 to Kerry as did a glittery list of celebrities including Candice Bergen, Michael J. Fox, Penny Marshall, Bette Midler, Edward Norton, Jerry Seinfeld and Whitford.
Gephardt’s labor appeal
Despite the unexpectedly weak performance of Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) (he was more than $1 million short of his second-quarter goal with just $3.8 million), Hollywood still gave him a boost. It’s not surprising that Gephardt, a strong advocate for big labor, attracted the support of Screen Actors Guild prexy Melissa Gilbert.
Gephardt also had such Hollywood establishment support as cartoon czar Haim Saban and his wife, Cheryl; DreamWorks execs Jeffrey Katzenberg and Andy Spahn; and Creative Artist Agency head Richard Lovett. Gephardt also had his share of creatives, including Courteney Cox Arquette, Michael Mann, Bette Midler and Aaron Sorkin.
Not to be left out in the cold, Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) boasted receipts from Glenn Close, Ali McGraw and Streisand, as well as Vivendi Universal’s Peter Marx and Ricci Rukavina.
Kucinich far back
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) came in far behind the others in overall receipts, raising $1.5 million in the second quarter. His unapologetically left-wing stances and straight-shooting appeal attracted donations from Jeff Bridges and James Cromwell.
Al Gore’s 2000 running mate, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.), has made plenty of enemies in Hollywood by campaigning against showbiz violence and indecency. Not surprisingly, he has little Hollywood support, aside from “Will & Grace’s” Debra Messing.
Lieberman was so disappointed by his second-quarter showing that several of his fund-raisers decided to quit under the pressure. He banked $8.2 million this year, but was left with only $4 million on hand at the end of the reporting period. Outside of entertainment, however, Los Angeles was still fertile ground for Lieberman. He raised the most money in New York, but L.A. was second with $593,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The Los Angeles law firm of Irell & Manella, whose employees contributed $54,200 to Lieberman this year, is the senator’s top contributor.