- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 5, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The day before Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced that it had received $26 million in contributions during the first quarter, campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle sent supporters an e-mail that said the January-March total “will set the tone of the race for months to come.” Three days later, Barack Obama’s campaign revealed that its first-quarter contributions totaled $25.7 million. It later developed that Mr. Obama’s total included $24.8 million that could be used for the presidential primaries. That was about $6 million more than the contributions Mrs. Clinton had received for the primary campaign.

For second-quarter fund-raising, the totals are even more shocking. The Obama organization announced Sunday that its candidate collected $31 million in primary-campaign contributions during the April-June period. That was $10 million more than the Clinton campaign raised in the second quarter for primary contests. Mrs. Clinton also raised about $6 million last quarter for the general election, while Mr. Obama collected $1.5 million earmarked for the post-convention campaign. (General election money cannot be spent before the convention.)

For the first six months of 2007, Mr. Obama has raised more than $58 million, nearly $56 million of which is available for the primary campaign. For the January-June period, Mrs. Clinton collected $53 million in contributions, $40 million of which can be spent on during the primaries. After raising $52 million for her 2006 Senate re-election campaign, Mrs. Clinton transferred $10 million of those funds to her presidential campaign earlier this year. Thus, through the first six months of 2007, she accumulated $50 million for the presidential primaries, about $6 million less than Mr. Obama, who has spent 30 months in the U.S. Senate.

Worth noting is that the $31 million in primary funds that Mr. Obama raised during the second quarter alone exceeds the $29.2 million that then-Vice President Al Gore and former three-term New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley had cumulatively raised during the first half of 1999 for their Democratic nomination contest. And the $58.2 million in total contributions that Mr. Obama has collected during the first half of this year exceeds the $56.5 million in contributions raised by all nine Democratic presidential candidates during the first half of 2003. Then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush raised $37 million in the first half of 1999, and President Bush raised $35 million in the first half of 2003.

During the first quarter, Mr. Obama outraised Mrs. Clinton online by $6.9 million to $4.2 million. For the second quarter, he collected $10.3 million from 110,000 online donors. Nine out of 10 online donors to the Obama campaign have given $100 or less, which means they can be repeatedly tapped for the balance of 2007 and as the primary season unfolds. Altogether, Mr. Obama had 154,000 donors in the April-June period and 258,000 donors during the first half of 2007. For obvious reasons, the Clinton campaign declined to reveal the size of its donor base.

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