More people voted in the PAC online presidential primary than are expected to participate in next January’s Democratic caucuses in Iowa and the primary in New Hampshire. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean won, with almost 44 percent of the 317,639 votes cast. Dean fell short of the 50 percent mark needed to win the MoveOn endorsement, but the attention boosted a fundraising push that collected an impressive $7.5 million during the quarter ending June 30. Another beneficiary was second-place finisher Dennis Kucinich, the Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chair, who won almost 24 percent. Kucinich, who is staking out turf to Dean’s left on peace and economic justice issues, easily bested better-known contenders, including Senator John Kerry, who finished third.

But the biggest winner may have been MoveOn, which injected a level of excitement into the Democratic contest that had been missing. “Participation far exceeded our expectations,” said Wes Boyd, the treasurer of PAC. “Our most important objectives have already been met: early Democratic grassroots involvement, increased contributions and volunteer support for each campaign and mobilization of the Democratic base to defeat George Bush.”