- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Presidential hopeful Rudolph W. Giuliani will top the Republican field by reporting the best fundraising in the second quarter, with an expected $15 million in primary funds collected from donors in the past three months, the former New York mayor’s campaign said yesterday.

That puts him slightly ahead of Mitt Romney, whose campaign said he will report raising $14.5 million from donors for the primaries. The former Massachusetts governor has contributed an additional $6 million of his own money to run his campaign.

Full numbers won’t be available until final reports are filed with the Federal Election Commission later this month, but the preliminary numbers show Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Romney far ahead of Sen. John McCain, the former front-runner who has fallen on hard times. The Arizona Republican will report raising $11.2 million and having $2 million in available cash — a small fraction of the $18 million Mr. Giuliani will report or the $12 million Mr. Romney will show in cash on hand.

“We are well-positioned to win both the primary and the general elections,” said Michael DuHaime, Mr. Giuliani’s campaign manager, who also took a dig at Mr. McCain’s high rate of campaign spending by noting the Giuliani campaign is “serious about being good stewards with the money that has been entrusted to us.”

As well as the two top Republicans are doing, though, they lag well behind the top Democrats.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois single-handedly topped Mr. Romney and Mr. Giuliani combined, raising $31 million in primary funds in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York raised a reported $21 million in primary funds.

Mr. Obama also has trounced the rest of the field on both sides in terms of number of donors. His campaign said this weekend he has received contributions from 154,000 donors in the past three months, following on more than 100,000 donors in the first quarter of the year ended March 31.

And a solid second tier is forming on the Democratic side, with former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina planning to report $9 million raised last quarter and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson expecting to report $7 million raised between April 1 and June 30.

But for Republicans, the drop-off is severe from the top candidates down.

This week’s numbers mean Mr. McCain will now have scored two disappointing quarters in a row, and his campaign is undergoing its second shake-up of the year.

Staffers were laid off, every department faces cuts senior staff agreed to salary cuts and campaign manager Terry Nelson agreed to forgo his salary for a few months.

Campaign strategist John Weaver said they are going to retool their plans and focus more on the early primary and caucus states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and to try to put their candidate out on the stump more.

“Good things happen when John is before the voters. The conversion rate is very high, he still draws the largest crowds of any of the Republican candidates when he is out in the early primary or caucus states, and we feel very, very positive about what happens when John is actively campaigning,” Mr. Weaver said.

The signs, though, are ominous. In addition to a drop-off in the dollar amount, Mr. McCain also only attracted about 22,000 new donors in the past three months.

Some campaigns reported having raised money for the general election as well as the primaries. General election funds can’t be spent unless the candidate is nominated at next year’s political conventions.

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