Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Gephardt Counting on Iowa and Confidence to Win

Mr. Gephardt's aides say they will have enough money to compete through the Feb. 7 primary, but acknowledge that they will need a large infusion of donations to carry them through the subsequent contests. By contrast, Dr. Dean is well equipped to compete in those states.

By the end of September, Mr. Gephardt had raised $13.6 million, while Dr. Dean had raised $25.3 million, according to PoliticalMoneyLine, which tracks campaign finances. Mr. Gephardt had slightly less than $6 million in the bank and Dr. Dean slightly more than $12 million.

Mr. Gephardt and others argue that his Midwestern roots, his emphasis on religion and values, his support of the Iraqi occupation and his strong ties to labor make him an appealing alternative to Dr. Dean, who opposed the war, steers clear of religious discussions and has supported trade deals faulted for severe job losses in industrial states.

Some Republicans have argued that Mr. Gephardt would be the toughest Democrat to beat, particularly given his support in the Midwest, which is expected to be a major battleground in the general election. It is a point that Mr. Gephardt likes to emphasize when he tells voters why they should vote for him instead of Dr. Dean.

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