Obama Leads Democrats In Fundraising


Sunday, July 1st 2007, 2:53 pm
By: News On 6


WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sen. Barack Obama reported Sunday raising at least $32.5 million for his presidential campaign from April through June, a record for a Democratic candidate.

That is more than what Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama's main Democratic rival, has said she would raise for the reporting period that ended Saturday.

At least $31 million of Obama's total is for party primaries, according to campaign aides.

The first-term senator from Illinois received donations from more than 154,000 individual contributors and through the first half of the year had 258,000 donors. Obama raised $25.7 million in the first three months of the year.

Vaulting ahead of Clinton in the money race is an important achievement. Despite broad public interest in Obama's candidacy, he trails the New York senator and former first lady in national polls.

Several leading candidates in both parties have raised money for both the primary and general elections. Clinton has been the most aggressive in tapping donors for both.

General election money, however, cannot be used unless the candidate becomes the nominee. Early in the year, Obama raised more than Clinton in primary dollars.

Clinton aides have said she would raise ``in the range'' of $27 million in the April-through-June period and predicted Obama would do better.

Only Republican George W. Bush, in each presidential campaign, raised comparable amounts in the second quarter of the year before the general election. The single-quarter record is $35.1 million, by Bush from April through June in 2003. Clinton had held the Democratic mark with $26 million, covering the first three months of this year.

``We are on a financial course that will allow us to both fully fund efforts in the early primary and caucus states, and also participate vigorously in all the February 5 contests, including large states like California, New Jersey, New York, Georgia and Missouri,'' Obama campaign manager David Plouffe wrote supporters Sunday.

Democrat John Edwards raised more than $9 million from April through June and relied on nearly 100,000 donors during the first half of the year.

The fundraising total met the campaign's stated goal but was about $5 million less than what he took in during the first three months of the year. The campaign has said it is on track to raise $40 million by the Iowa caucuses in January.

Edwards remained a distant third in Democratic presidential fundraising to Clinton and Obama.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was at Edward's heels, with his campaign reporting more than $7 million raised. But Edwards' six-month total was $23 million, compared with more than $14 million for Richardson.

Among Republicans, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign has said he will fall short of the $20.7 million raised in earlier in the year.

Rudy Giuliani was expected to exceed his first quarter total of $16 million. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was struggling to match the $13.8 million he took in during the first quarter.

Details of how much the campaigns raised and spent in the latest period will not be available until the candidates file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission by July 15. While several Democrats had already revealed their total sums, Republicans were not expected to announce their figures until Monday or later in the week.

At this point in the campaign, fundraising figures can act as an easy measure of candidate strength and create tiers of contenders based on their ability to amass money.

Other financial tallies can be as telling. That includes a campaign's spending rate, the size of the average donations and how much money can be used in the primary races and how much could only be tapped for the general election.

``We now know this campaign will enter the next phase with the resources to compete,'' Edwards' campaign manager David Bonior wrote in an e-mail to donors late Saturday. ``No matter what they throw at us, John Edwards' message of substance will break through to voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and key states all over the country and that's all we need to win.''

The third quarter is likely to see more spending by the candidates, particularly on advertising. With Obama behind Clinton in polls, he may be forced to spend money earlier and in greater quantities than Clinton to win over voters.

Obama last week opened his first ad campaign, airing two biographical commercials in Iowa.

Meanwhile, Clinton wasted no time moving into the next fundraising period. She and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, were to attend a a fundraising party Sunday at the Virginia home of campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe.