- The Washington Times - Monday, April 2, 2007

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign yesterday announced she raised $26 million since announcing her bid Jan. 20, a record-setting pace that nearly equals what the entire Democratic field raised in the same period from the last election.

Together with more than $10 million that Mrs. Clinton has transferred from her 2006 Senate campaign, the New York Democrat has set a staggering pace for both Republicans and Democrats for the first quarter of 2007, which ended Saturday.

“We are completely overwhelmed and gratified by the historic support we’ve gotten,” said Patti Solis Doyle, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager.

Meanwhile yesterday, the campaign of former Sen. John Edwards said he had raised more than $14 million in that period, including $3 million raised over the Internet. While the figure was only half what Mrs. Clinton raised, it exceeded the $10 million goal the North Carolina senator and 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee had set.

“We have raised what we need to be competitive,” deputy campaign manager Jonathan Prince told reporters. “History has clearly indicated that the most money is not the key to the nomination.”

Mrs. Clinton’s fundraising dwarfs the $7.4 million that Mr. Edwards raised to lead the pack in 2003, and the $8.9 million then-Vice President Al Gore raised in the first quarter of 1999.

But a direct comparison is not possible because her fundraising includes money designated for both the primary and the general election, and Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said it does not have a breakdown of how much it raised strictly for the primaries. The Edwards team said $13 million of their take was for the primaries.

Sen. Barack Obama, the Illinois Democrat who is considered Mrs. Clinton’s closest competitor, has announced donations from more than 83,500 individuals, but has not released a dollar amount. According to the Clinton campaign, the former first lady had 50,000 donors.

“I think we’ll do well,” Mr. Obama told the Associated Press. “I think that we should meet people’s expectations. More importantly, I think we will have raised enough money to make sure we can compete for the next quarter and beyond.”

Campaign operatives and elections officials say they expect candidates will have to show $10 million raised during the past three months to demonstrate they can compete.

But Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat, said on Fox News that his presidential campaign had raised about $3 million and expects to raise between $20 million to $25 million overall.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s campaign said he had raised $6 million in primary-campaign money and had more than $5 million cash on hand at the end of the three-month period. Aides to Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut told reporters he had raised more than $4 million and moved about $5 million more from his Senate campaign account. They said he had $7.5 million cash on hand.

Neither Mrs. Clinton nor Mr. Edwards released their “cash-on-hand” figure nor any indication of how much they had spent.

The Federal Election Commission must receive the official fundraising reports by April 15, and campaigns who reported numbers yesterday stressed their preliminary nature.

Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said it decided to hold a conference call and announce the figures, which they said were preliminary, because they were receiving so many calls from the press. Among the other details the campaign released, Mrs. Clinton has raised $4.2 million through the Internet and an additional $1.8 million through direct mail and telemarketing.

None of the top three Republican candidates have released their fundraising figures.

But former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told reporters Saturday he had a far more modest goal of raising half a million dollars, and has met that goal.

“We knew we’d have a slow start, so we’ve geared for a fast finish,” Mr. Huckabee said.

Mr. Huckabee said his goal for the next quarter was to raise $1.5 million, though he said he would have to check with his campaign’s officials to see whether that was a cumulative total for the first six months or just his target for the next three months.

“I would argue we’ve had more miles per gallon out of our effort than people who have spent $8-10 million and haven’t moved anywhere” in the polls, Mr. Huckabee said. He also said he is not surprised that sitting senators top the money list, since big-dollar donors get more out of contributions to them because of their official positions.

An adviser to another Republican, Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, said his campaign will report about $1.3 million raised, mostly through direct mail.

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