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Dean win may scare off Democrat donors

Feb. 11, 2005 at 4:58 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Democratic fundraisers predict the election of Howard Dean as the party's national chairman will lead some of its larger donors to sit on the sidelines.

The fundraisers, who declined to speak on the record, said they expected the donors would continue to give money to party organizations but would cut back on their giving to the DNC, the Boston Globe said Friday.

The contributors fear Dean's election as party chairman is the beginning of an effort to pull the party to the left and away from what political strategist Dick Morris called the "vital center."

Donor fears that Dean intends to pull the party to the left may be well founded. Dean Internet adviser Zephyr Teachout said the campaign studied what religious broadcaster Pat Robertson did in creating the Christian Coalition out of the ashes of Robertson's failed 1988 GOP presidential run with an eye to changing the Democratic Party nationally.

The group that grew out of that research, Democracy for America, will continue to support progressive candidates, independent of Dean's efforts at the DNC. Still, some party insiders are predicting that Dean's nearly assured victory will prompt a struggle between grass-roots activists on the left and the Democrat's old guard.

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