- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday reported having nearly $31 million in available cash as of March 31 for her presidential bid, a record-breaking figure that shows a frugal rate of spending.

All presidential candidates were required to send the Federal Election Commission by midnight full details of their fundraising for the first quarter of the election cycle, which ran from Jan. 1 through March 31.

Of Mrs. Clinton’s $36 million raised, only $20 million can be used for the primary, which puts her behind the $25.8 million her chief rival, Sen. Barack Obama, reported raising for the primary. Still, Mrs. Clinton had almost $12 million more cash on hand than the $19 million Mr. Obama has, of which he can spend $18.2 million in primaries.

“These numbers indicate the tremendous support for Senator Clinton from every walk of life and every part of America, and assure that we will have the resources needed to compete and win,” Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle said.

Mrs. Clinton said her money came from 60,000 contributors, while Mr. Obama’s campaign received contributions from 104,000 donors.

Mr. Obama’s campaign-finance chairwoman, Penny Pritzker, called his figures a “true testament to the desire for a different kind of politics in this country and a belief at the grass-roots level that Barack Obama can bring out the best in America to solve our problems.”

Mrs. Clinton also reported spending $5.1 million — less than any of the top three Republican candidates and less than the $6.6 million Mr. Obama spent during the quarter.

Former Sen. John Edwards, another leading Democrat, reported spending $3.2 million and having $10.7 million in cash available.

On the Republican side, former Virginia Gov. James S. Gilmore III badly trailed the field, reporting having raised $203,896, having $90,107 on hand, but also having $88,013 in debts. That puts him well behind the other low-cost campaigners, such as Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, who raised $538,524 and had $272,552 on hand and no debt; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who raised $544,157 and had $373,918 on hand with debts of $52,502; and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who raised $639,989 and had $524,919 on hand with no debt.

Overall, the Democrats spent less freely than the Republicans. The top Republican fundraiser, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, reported receipts of $23.4 million but spent $11.6 million, the highest number reported.

Campaign operatives and finance officials have said this will be the most expensive primary campaign in history, spurred by there being no dominant candidate on either side and by the series of large states holding early primaries this year.

The campaign of Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, Connecticut Democrat, made that point, noting his $7.5 million cash on hand was more than all but one of the 2004 presidential candidates at this stage.

“We know we’ll have the financial support we need to win the Democratic primary and eventually the general election,” said Dodd campaign manager Sheryl Cohen.

Also reporting yesterday was New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, who said he raised $6.2 million, spent $1.2 million, had $5 million on hand and a debt of $19,579.

“The report clearly shows Governor Bill Richardson is a strong, viable candidate with broad and growing support,” said Amanda Cooper, his campaign’s deputy manager. She said Mr. Richardson’s report is even stronger because he didn’t begin raising money until late January and was preoccupied for much of the quarter with New Mexico’s legislative session.

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