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In Campaign 2008, Candidates Starting Earlier, Spending More

Sen. John McCain of Arizona visited with potential voters at the Iowa State Fair last August as part of his effort to have a more visible presence earlier in key states as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona visited with potential voters at the Iowa State Fair last August as part of his effort to have a more visible presence earlier in key states as he seeks the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. (By David Peterson -- Des Moines Register Via Associated Press)

Candidates who may have once bought ads only on local New Hampshire stations will now consider buying time in the far more costly Boston television market, Murphy said.

"I think it will take $40 million to mount a strong campaign on the air and on the ground in the early states, and some candidates will spend far more than that," Murphy said.

Beyond the nuts and bolts of running a campaign, many candidates will feel pressured to keep pace with the quasi-celebrities such as McCain, Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). All three are expected to set a blistering pace of fundraising.

To some, that notion has been too much to stomach. One was Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), who dropped from the field of 2008 presidential contenders last month.

"It's a fundraiser for breakfast, then call time. A fundraiser for lunch, then call time. Then a fundraising reception. And then you can still call the West Coast," Bayh said.

Not everyone in the field is certain that the path to victory will involve raising a quarter-million dollars a day. A spokeswoman for Edwards said that although some costs may nudge up, the former senator does not see much need to match big-number goals being bandied about for the year ahead.

"We need to raise enough so we can compete in all four early primaries," said the spokeswoman, Jennifer Palmieri. After that, she said, "if you're winning, the money will follow."

That said, Edwards has scheduled 22 fundraisers in 15 states this month.

Research database editor Derek Willis and washingtonpost.com staff writer Chris Cillizza contributed to this report.


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