Opinion: The Deaniacs, one cycle later


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Barack Obama has got to be hoping history doesn’t repeat itself. A report today in The Hill parses where Howard Dean‘s financial supporters from 2004 have aligned their wallets in 2008, and says contributors of $200 or more (the threshhold to be identified in Federal Elections Commission filings) have gravitated to the junior senator from Illinois.

The tally: 634 Dean supporters gave to Obama in the first half of the year (third-quarter reports aren’t available yet), while Hillary Clinton picked up checks from 413 former Dean supporters. Another 371 lined up behind John Edwards.

What’s even more interesting is the split between the ‘big money’ Deaniacs and the lower-budget folks. Clinton received money from about two-thirds the number of Dean supporters who went to Obama, but out-raised Obama $945,000 to $878,000.


Four years ago, Dean was the man to beat -- and John Kerry did. The Obamans have been working hard to try to build a social movement to elevate their campaign and to avoid the Dean path (and sound effects), but there are a lot of parallels to the Dean campaign. Both drew supporters, many new to politics, who embraced their candidates with an almost messianic zeal, and who used the Internet to try to build fresh networks.

One thing Obama has going for him: Dean stumbled as the front-runner. Obama is still trying to catch up to Clinton, and underdogs tend to attract sympathy while front-runners attract brickbats.

Stay tuned.

-- Scott Martelle