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A Stark Edge in Race for '08 Cash

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By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Campaign contributors to the 2008 presidential candidates heavily favored Democrats in the three-month period that ended Saturday, giving three dollars to the party's leading contenders for every two dollars they gave to the top Republican candidates.

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama's 258,000 contributors since January exceed the combined number of donors of former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), according to estimates provided by the campaigns.

Romney announced yesterday that he has lent his campaign $6.5 million from his personal fortune to supplement the $14 million he raised from April through June. Giuliani's campaign said it raised about $15 million during the quarter. Last week, McCain announced a dramatic staff shake-up after raising only $11 million, leaving him with just $2 million in the bank.

During the quarter, Obama (Ill.) raised $32.5 million, $31 million of which can be used in the primaries. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) raised $21 million for the primaries and a total of about $27 million in the same period.

The fundraising results continued a striking reversal of fortunes for Democratic presidential hopefuls, who have often labored with less money than their Republican counterparts.

"Clearly, that's a reflection on the war and a reflection of the past," said Alex Castellanos, Romney's media consultant. "There's a lot of pent-up disappointment in the Republican Party on issues like spending. It's not just the administration, being unable to keep its promises . . . since we're the guys in charge, we pay a price for that."

The bulk of the Democratic advantage has come from Obama and Clinton. Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) raised about $9 million during the past three months, while New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson raised about $7 million.

Obama, in particular, has had tremendous success raising money from small donors on the Internet. Aides said that 110,000 people have contributed to his campaign by making small donations through the Internet.

Political observers said the Democratic enthusiasm is being fueled by anger over the Iraq war, while dissatisfaction among conservative Republicans with their choices has dampened the mood of traditional GOP givers.

"Those folks are just raising up a storm of money," said Gary Nordlinger, a Democratic consultant. "What you are showing is that there is a heck of a lot more grass-roots enthusiasm among the Democratic base than there is among the Republican base."

Giuliani aides yesterday touted their $15 million haul in the second quarter, which leaves the campaign with about the same amount in the bank. Campaign manager Mike DuHaime said in a statement that he was "thrilled" by the total.

"We are well positioned to win both the primary and the general elections," he said.

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